Let’s get loud 🥁

We don’t know that February is really the time for it, but it looks like everyone wants to move their offices to Chicago now. San Francisco-based financial tech company Affirm — which offers payment plans to the customers of its e-commerce partners — is planning to open up a Chicago office and hire 100 employees by the end of the year.

From the other coast, New York-based marketing tech company Sprinklr is opening a Chicago office to be closer to big-name local clients. The office currently houses 25 employees, and Sprinklr (god it’s hard to type that “right”) is planning to add more soon. 

Data tech company Numerator — are they all going to be industry + tech companies? — isn’t just opening an office, but a global headquarters in the former Marshall Field’s building. The company, which offers consumer intelligence to great big brands, plans to fill out the new space with 100 new employees by 2022

GE Healthcare is bringing 250 of its Wisconsin jobs to its Chicago headquarters, and while we feel for our Sconnie friends, we still firmly believe this is what you get for electing Scott Walker. 

It’s not all great news from outside Chicago — CIBC is planning to follow rival BMO’s lead and make cuts to its international staff, many of whom are in Chicago. And some of the jobs that are coming *coughAmazoncough* aren’t all that great, as Chicago magazine points out in a good, if overly nostalgic, article.

Melinda Gates isn’t exactly bringing jobs to Chicago, but she is bringing her nonprofit, Pivotal Ventures. We’ll be the pilot city for a $50 million push to get more women involved in tech. As women who have been involved in tech for quite a while, we can really truly promise that it’s not the lack of interest or capability causing problems. But sure! Start with the women.

Not to be outdone, senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin announced a plan to bring $1.2 million for STEM education to the South Side. 

It is! It really is! It’s just that maybe some of this money could go toward holding the doors open for people who want to put their education and ambition to good use. 

Maybe some of these funding rounds will provide good jobs for smart people to fill. ActiveCampaign raised $100 million to bring its marketing automation tools to more small businesses. No word on what that means for hiring, but since they did hire 300 people last year, we will give them a little slack. 

Foxtrot is still raising money to run out your corner store and Peapod both, which, yeah, OK sure. $17 million will help the formerly delivery-only “convenience store” open more physical locations from which to run you ice cream and booze. 

Samya.AI raised $6 million, for, yeah, AI-powered tools to help CPG companies match supply and demand (and win back market share from upstarts like Dollar Shave Club and RXBar without having to buy them). The company is headquartered here, but has an office and London and most of its AI operations in India, so no clear sign on what it will mean for local jobs. We wonder though, if you say AI enough times, does it become true?

Blue Cross parent HCSC is cutting another 400 jobs all across the country, on the heels of eliminating a boggling number of middle-management jobs. Normally we’d be skeptical of a company truly having this much inefficiency, but, well, it’s Blue Cross.

Speaking of insane, our nemesis Avant has low-key split itself into two companies, finally admitting that yes, its only business is payday loans. The constantly-alluded-to-but-never-fully-proven “tech” part of the equation is a new company, called Amount, that’s looking to raise $50 million and maybe IPO. So, to recap, investors finally figured out that Avant was no different than any other corner-operating payday lender and stopped funding them. Now to raise money, the same people are trying to convince investors that the technology powering that payday lending is actually so special and new and valuable that it should be its own separate company worth even more money. God, this is going to work and they’re going to make so much more money.

Grubhub isn’t looking for a buyer, despite rumors to the contrary, but it did report $28 million in losses last quarter. We can only assume the mild winter took a toll on people ordering in. 

Culture writer Ernest Wilkins — aka Chicago’s Wingman back in the RedEye heyday — is launching 1099, an event series for and about freelancers. The first get-together — which he calls a networking event you’d actually want to go to — is set for 7pm Feb. 20 at Pilot Project Brewing in Logan Square. It’s free, so RSVP here and go be with your people.

Job with badass potential
Content Manager, U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team
Develop content plans based on U.S. Soccer and team goals, using customer insights to drive your decisions. Oversee a team responsible for site, social and email content. Write and edit on occasion.
Downsides: A few yellow cards here: U.S. Soccer is undergoing some changes hopefully in response to the toxic culture cited in a series of Glassdoor reviews last year. Also, expect to work nights, weekends and holidays while traveling up to 40% of the time. You better get paid.
Perks: A solid content role promoting the baddest in the game: Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and other reigning World Cup champions, now focused on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.

A few other jobs we’re curious about …
Community Marketing and Outreach Manager, Grassroots Cannabis
Was about to say we’re burned out on cannabis jobs, but that’s stupid. There are so many.

Assistant Marketing Manager and Graphic Designer and Marketing Coordinator, Eli’s Cheesecake
Rounding out the cannabis-related possibilities. Also, graphic designers, please save this Chicago institution. 

Inspiration of the week
Two powerful Latinas who — on America’s unofficial national holiday — showed kids in cages, sang in a foreign language, and displayed their body skin. Watch it again if you haven’t 20 times already.

Forward this email to anyone who’s ready to get loud. They can sign up here for bi-monthly backup singers.

Got a tip on an excellent job? Reply to this email, send us a new one at hey@gethustl.in, or reach out on Twitter.

Just enough.

Oh hey guys! We cannot be the only ones giddy about trading family obligations for a full week of work, right? 

We can guess online car insurer Clearcover was stoked to get back to work and announce a $50 million funding round. The company hopes to go the way of Geico and offer cheaper policies than a State Farm or Allstate using technology to streamline operations. Sometimes that vision is clear — letting people submit claims via app — sometimes it’s nebulous — “a tech-driven carrier.” Still, the company’s raised more than $100 million at this point, and plans to hire something like 50 new people this year, mostly engineers and data scientists. 

Risk turned out to be the hottest gift of the season. In addition to Clearcover’s auto insurance, Logicgate raised $24 million for its governance, risk and compliance software and ThirdPartyTrust raised $4.45 million for its plans to mitigate risks from vendors. 

Oh and there was big news in freight? Are we dreaming with all this excitement?! Downstate electric truck manufacturer Rivian raised $1.3 billion to supply Amazon with a new fleet of last-mile vans, among other things. And San Francisco-based shipping platform Flexport is signing a new lease in Chicago — with enough space to double its 150-person workforce.

Flexport will be joined in Fulton Market by a new, 400,000-square-foot incubator for life sciences. The building will house rentable lab space, in addition to regular offices for healthcare and pharmaceutical companies. The idea is that it can serve as a home for companies that spin up in universities, then have nowhere to go. 

At least one of the big healthcare companies is also trying to get it right. Loyola Medicine is proactively boosting its minimum wage to $15 an hour, raising pay for roughly 2,300 people. 

The news is not so good everywhere — December typically being the time executives secure their bonuses by pushing through big cuts. Allstate is ditching its Esurance brand and selling all its online policies as Allstate. It’s not a great sign for online insurer Clearcover above, nor a particularly good sign for the company, which is already having issues keeping its salesforce happy after reducing commissions. 

Sears is also dropping brands, only in this case it’s selling DieHard, one of the few remaining profitable pieces left in its fire sale. Advance Auto Parts will pick up the company for a round $200 million. 

It comes alongside an announcement of 200 layoffs at Sears, kicking off more than 1,000 total layoffs in Illinois this November. In December, ostensibly successful business Uptake laid off 23 people, mostly in product. The once-ambitious plans to sell big data generally seem to have scaled back to mostly just tracking big machinery. Unclear how that translates to a valuation of more than $2 billion, other than the fact that Uptake is taking money from the U.S. Army. 

Fellow lauded tech company Jellyvision also cut its team, dropping 65 people and shrinking its total workforce by 15%. The company is looking to move its main product, software for explaining healthcare to employees, into other benefits like retirement plans. Not a bad move on the off chance healthcare gets a lot less difficult to explain after this year’s election. 

One thing to note. CEO Amanda Lannert took full responsibility for the layoffs, calling it a fault in the company’s structure and saying it’s the company’s loss and the tech community’s gain. A nice change of pace from the usual generic public statement about economies and scale and nonsense. Wonder what else makes her different from most CEOs …

Jellyvision might not be the only company girding its loins for a potential healthcare recogning. Blue Cross Blue Shield parent company HCSC laid off “a few dozen middle management positions,” which, bro, that is a lot of middle managers to have, let alone to spare. Could be a fear of socialist medicine, could be an insatiable lust for Q4 profits. 

Just kidding, it’s probably greed! Ditto for Navistar, the DuPage County-based truck maker which laid off 10% of its employees globally last month. While the startups above may be doing great, it’s not all good news in the freight business.

The layoffs may just be the start of what will likely be a bad 2020 — already analysts are forecasting stasis at best for behemoths like Walgreens. And the smaller companies keep eating each other in an effort to get big enough to survive. California-based Molina is swooping in to buy Medicaid managed care plan NextLevel, giving Illinois residents just five options for managed care plans, down from 12 in 2017. Grubhub is denying rumors that it’s for sale, but it wouldn’t be surprising, or necessarily a bad idea. 

It’s probably going to get tough out there, is what we’re saying. We have every intention of staying right here and helping you move through it, but you also have to help each other.

In maybe slightly more optimistic news, the December jobs report reveals that women outnumbered men in the workforce for the first time since the Great Recession. 50.04%, y’all. We’ll take it. Overall, job growth was a little slower than expected in an expectedly slow December, but no one seems to be worried yet. We’re seeing job posts pick up, as expected, now that decision-makers are back to the grind.

Job with badass potential
Director of Social Marketing for Venmo at PayPal
Work: Create a content and channel strategy and build a team to put it in motion. Go deep into market data to measure and direct your plans. Develop brand guidelines and unleash them on internal teams and external partners.
Downsides: Venmo has struggled to make money off its users, though that number continues to rise and now includes more retailers. The kick-ass cash app (not to be confused with Cash App) plans to launch a credit card this year, among other monetization inspirations.
Perks: Venmo parent PayPal was founded on the belief “that having access to financial services creates opportunity … to join and thrive in the global economy” — at least allegedly. We’d take that purpose and run with it because we already love the product. Plus, you’d learn so much you might come out of this job overqualified for any other social media-focused jobs in the future. Now just pay me and we’re good.

A few other jobs we’re curious about …
Digital Media Lab Supervisor at Loyola University
There are definitely parts of this job that sound like an assistant manager at a Circuit City in 2001. If that doesn’t put you off though, it’s basically an opportunity to be in charge of a little sliver of university life and an army of student labor.

VP or Director of Social Strategy at Digitas
You can decide whether working at a “highly-caffeinated [sic] playground” sounds appealing to you. You can probably also guess our opinion by the fact that we felt compelled to note that grammatical error. ANYWAY, Digitas makes many people happy and works on a lot of cool projects and even though we’re salty we’d be a little jealous if you got this job.

Architect at Canopy Architecture + Design
Full disclosure that they are a client of our real life money-making business, BUT that just means we can personally second everything Anjulie says in the link above. The team is so lovely you know we’re constantly thinking it’s a trap. If you know an architect, they could do no better. 

Inspiration of the week

“Enough has to be a metric that is within your control.”

Liz Fosslien, co-author of No Hard Feelings and co-creator of a great Instagram account. It’s a new year! A new decade! An election year! A chance to turn it all around! A time to watch the world burn! It’s exhausting. If the outcome is the only thing determining whether you’ve done enough, you’ll never have a reason to get started. But the little things — eating less meat, taking one class, reaching out to one friend — those are the things you can control. And sometimes they’re enough.

Forward this email to anyone who’s ready to take the first steps. They can sign up here for bi-monthly support getting to enough.

Got a tip on an excellent job? Reply to this email, send us a new one at hey@gethustl.in, or reach out on Twitter.

Don’t waste your time ⏰

Tears in our company-sponsored beers

Love to see that year-end push to spend everything! Threekit raised $20 million to support its extremely relatable and depressing story — the founder took the visual effects skills he honed on cool movies and applied them to making 3D and AR renderings of company products. Late-capitalism! Maybe it’s bad!

DataCubes raised $15.2 million to grow out its platform, which purports to use AI, but probably just uses some algorithms, to qualify how risky businesses applying for insurance are. The company plans to hire 50 people with the money, but it is in Schaumburg, but it does have a Chicago office you can work from.

TBH we don’t talk enough about what a work of art Ursula’s animated tits are.

2nd Kitchen raised $4.35 million to provide food to more food-less businesses, like bars and breweries and hospitals. This “ghost kitchen” model is pretty soulless in our opinion, but no doubt popular when you’re drunk and the tamale man is nowhere in site. 

Legal software maker Relativity is looking to hire 200 people — mostly devs, but a few sales, support and marketing roles as well — as is user experience software maker Qualtrics, which will be filling a new Chicago office separate from parent company SAP. Meanwhile, Gotham Greens is hiring another 60 people to grow its indoor produce, a job that may not pay great, but that does make up for it with the benefit of being in a tropics-simulating greenhouse all day during the winter. 

That is the end of the good news, so if you’re thinking, it’s Friday! Fuck off with your bad news! Well, skip ahead to that subscribe button and maybe skip the inspiration too? Whatever we’re not your boss. Also not your boss, Michael Ferro! We can personally attest that this noted bad man is, indeed, very bad. He’s actually why we started this letter, to help fewer people accidentally work for Snout-faced McGrabsaLots.

And yet, his selling his controlling interest in Tribune Publishing is actually a bad thing, because he’s selling it to a private equity firm, Alden Capital, known for cutting costs at, well, all costs. This as the Trib has already announced a plan to shutter Spanish-language newspaper Hoy. Truly what a fucking world when the dude who made you second guess every outfit you wore to work for two years is the lesser of two evils.

Also on the trash train: Sears, which is cutting another 300 corporate jobs, some in Hoffman Estates, and weed purveyors Medmen, which is cutting 190 jobs company-wide, despite plans to add headshop headcount in Chicago (no, we’re not sorry). Bet that this will be the first of many layoffs in an industry that still feels like it’s never heard the word bubble.

Okay back to fun stuff: Not a subscriber? You missed not one, but two GIFs about food this month. And a lot of business news you can actually use.

Job with badass potential
Communications Associate at Chicago Votes
Work: Manage social media, content creation, marketing materials and influencer efforts. Run PR, media relations and media training. This is a full-time, permanent position doing the lord’s work at an awesome grassroots organization.
Downsides: Jesus, that's a lot of responsibilities. You should have a higher title. Fight for it.
Perks: Gain a ton of marketing experience and access to some of the city's most progressive and creative minds. And hopefully save democracy along the way.

A few other jobs we’re curious about …
Digital Creative Director, Email and Retention Marketing Manager, Product/Editorial Photographer, Manager of Paid Social and Search at Monica + Andy
The maker of adorbs organic baby clothes is hiring like crazy at its Lincoln Park HQ (even more jobs here), likely in connection with $6.5 million in equity financing. M+A (lol) offers progressive family-friendly benefits like college savings plans and pet insurance and prescription plans. No word on the maternity policy, though. Interesting fact: Monica's brother Andy is the founder of Bonobos, which was acquired by Wal-Mart for $310 million. Mmm, sleep on it and see how you feel in the morning. 

Social Media Marketing Manager for a cannabis startup via The Mom Project
We don't often post part-time opportunities here, but this was too fun not to share with our freelancing friends: The Mom Project, a jobs platform for moms, is looking for a 10-hour social pro for a client that's launching a cannabis incubator community Jan. 1, don't you know. Stoner moms unite.

Tool of the week: 
40 good interview questions courtesy of venture capital firm First Round. All good ones to have in your pocket, prep for and turn back on interviewers.

Inspiration of the week

@prettyawful, the new Instagram account from our pal Emily at LimeRed Studio. Looking to let go of a few things, Emily started the account to take the worst things people say and make them into something beautiful. If you have some words weighing you down, DM them and she’ll turn them into something that lives outside of your brain.

Forward this email to anyone who’s been told some shit. They can sign up here and get bi-monthly reminders not to shout it down.

Got a tip on an excellent job? Reply to this email, send us a new one at hey@gethustl.in, or reach out on Twitter.

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