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Aaron Del Mar Named 2019 Crain's Chicago Business Notable Entrepreneurs List

The Chicago area's startup scene is varied, ranging from high-tech cybersecurity and biotechnology to basics in food and fitness. Crain's list of Notable Entrepreneurs includes 44 businesspeople who have identified needs and opportunities in the market, organized and run companies, and taken on greater-than-normal financial risk. This set of companies is on the young side, with revenue of less than $10 million.

In biotechnology there are startups fighting the spread of cancer cells and developing skin patches that track biomarkers in real time. Some offer IT and marketing help to firms in fields such as finance and health care. Others use the marketplace model linking buyers and sellers—one app connects sports fans at a game with nearby food vendors.

Several startups have a social dimension. One firm specifically hires workers with autism spectrum disorder. Another makes a point of offering opportunities to ex-offenders.

And others are bringing a fresh eye to food, retail, restaurants, real estate, public relations and event planning, as well as to industrial sectors like parts distribution and foam insulation. These startups reflect diversity as wide as the region's economy.

Aaron Del Mar

"To raise money for a nonprofit he founded, Aaron Del Mar organized a 5K road race in his home community of Palatine. The race drew 500 people, and Del Mar went on to launch a company managing road races and triathlons. Last year, the firm expanded beyond races to include festivals and concerts and is planning an indoor pickleball series next year. Adrenaline conceptualizes each event, reaches out to a brand for sponsorship and donates a percentage of proceeds to a charity. Del Mar also developed the Santa Hustle series, which started as a 5K run in Chicago and has expanded to 10 cities with a half-marathon component. The companies generate annual revenue of $3 million and are producing 20 races this year."

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