The Merrick Momentum Award recognizes the top up-and-coming company that is on the cusp of being an established enterprise and significantly impacting the Chicago economy. The winner of this year’s Merrick Momentum Award will be announced on October 9, 2014 at the Seventh Annual Momentum Awards Dinner.
1871 interviewed each of the award finalists to learn more about the exciting Chicago companies that the Momentum Awards Dinner celebrates. Learn more about Jellyvision here:
Tell us about what Jellyvision does.
Jellyvision Lab makes learning and decision making delightful for hundreds of Fortune 1000 clients. Our smash hit product, ALEX (www.meetalex.com), helps millions of employees make better decisions about their benefits. Through a tightly choreographed dance of great writing, human-centered design, and serious technology, we turn the most complex, boring (but important) subjects into interactive educational experiences that are simple, funny and abundantly helpful.
How long has Jellyvision been around and how did it get its start?
We’ve been around a long, long time, and we forgive all of those with instant traction who make it look so easy. We started life in 1989 as an educational film company that morphed into a game company that created the wildly successful game franchises YOU DON’T KNOW JACK and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. That company then spawned The Jellyvision Lab in 2001; we’d made virtual game show hosts for years but wanted to try our hand at making virtual teachers and advisors. So we did, and it only took us until 2009 to get real traction. With two small rounds of funding, a lot of scrappy pivoting, and cabinets full of ramen noodles, we managed to survive and thrive, especially lately. This year alone, we’ve added more than a hundred people to the staff. It’s been a crazy, sometimes nail-biting, wonderful trip for which we are all deeply grateful.
How is Jellyvision connected to Chicago’s entrepreneurial community?
We were in it before it existed as it does today, and now we’re committed to making it easier for those just getting started. Company leadership has been involved as mentors in TechStars since year one when Troy and Sam kicked things off, and we’re honored to have participated in helping launch 1871. We recently started an interview series, videotaped at Jellyvision, with fellow Chicago entrepreneurs (Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, and Logan LaHive were our first guests); more sessions will be posted soon.
What does Chicagoness mean to Jellyvision?
A workforce brimming with talent, a superlative work ethic, loyalty, humility, and heart. Also, long winters and ketchup-less hot dogs.