Five Chicago Startups Are Finalists in a Chinese Startup Competition

Five local startups will head to Qingdao, China in April to compete for $100,000 in prizes through a global startup competition.

In a regional competition held at the Chicago Innovation Exchange in Hyde Park Tuesday,ReliefwatchTovalaRiMO TherapeuticsAudiovert, and NETenergy were named finalists in the competition, and won a travel expenses paid trip to Qingdao, a city located on the Yellow Sea in the east coast of China, to compete in the finals.

About 45 teams will compete in the finals, including 15 to 20 startups from the US and 30 from China. Other university participants include University of Maryland, Rice University, Arizona State University, Virginia Tech, and San Jose State University.

The competition is part of the Sino-US Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, an annual startup competition that connects US startups to the Chinese innovation ecosystem. This is the first time that CIE has taken part in the competition, but CIE's assistant director of marketing and communications Whitney Johnson said they anticipate it will become an annual event.

CIE is also a partner of Shandong University in Qingdao. The university is creating technology research park, and CIE is offering advice on the project.

Here's a look at the startups heading to the competition this spring.

Reliefwatch: This UChicago-born tech gives health professionals in developing countries a simple and easy platform to track inventory through the cloud. The startup has been a finalist in a host of competitions, including the Prince of Whales competition, and just attended Mobile World Congress.

Tovala: This food tech startup out of UChicago Booth offers a countertop appliance that automatically bakes, steams, convection heats, and broils pre-made meals with fresh ingredients. The startup won the New Venture Competition last year and just raised a $500,000 pre-seed round.

RiMO Therapeutics: This startup developed a nanotechnology that can enhance radiotherapy. Their treatment can significantly reduce the number of x-ray doses needed to kill cancer cells. They were just awarded $250,000 from the UChicago Innovation Fund.

Audiovert: This music tech startup out of Northwestern offers a customizable, modular speaker system. They recently raised $3,900 on Indiegogo.

NETenergy: This thermal storage energy company created smart battery tech that can save building owners 30 percent or more on energy usage, and reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent. Last year they won $100,000 in the Clean Energy Challenge from Clean Energy Trust.

January 16th, Kate Liu Performance

Performance Overview

Saturday, January 16

7:30 p.m. 

Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. 


After capturing the Bronze Medal at the prestigious Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Kate Liu, an alumna of the Music Institute of Chicago, makes her first Chicago concert appearance on Saturday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in downtown Evanston. The concert, which the Music Institute is presenting in partnership with the Steinway Piano Galleries of Chicago, benefits the Emilio del Rosario Scholarship Fund for Young Pianists.
Liu will perform works by Chopin, including the Sonata No. 3 in B Minor and Mazurkas, Op. 56. In addition to the Bronze Medal, she also received the Mazurka Prize at the Competition. Later in 2016, Liu will embark upon an international concert tour, including Japan, Korea, Poland, Singapore, and Shanghai.
The 21-year-old Liu is from Winnetka, Illinois and attended New Trier High School. She studied at the Music Institute beginning in 2004 with the late Emilio del Rosario, then with Micah Yui and Alan Chow. She now studies with Robert McDonald at the Curtis Institute of Music. Kate Liu was a member of the inaugural class of the Academy, a special program at the Music Institute for gifted pre-college musicians. The Academy, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, has consistently produced world-class classical musicians with significant performing careers, including violinist Ben Beilman, violist Matthew Lipman and cellist Gabriel Cabezas.
Regarding Kate Liu, Alan Chow, piano faculty at Northwestern University and the Music Institute of Chicago Academy program, commented, “Kate is an absolute joy to know and to teach... What sets her apart from other pianists of her generation are perhaps two things: first, her intensely personal desire to know more, to search for meaning and answers in her music—she is always thinking and is never easily satisfied. Second, it's her ability to express and communicate her emotions fully and completely in performance—she's ‘in the moment’ on stage. And when she performs, it's completely honest—no affectations of any kind. I think this combination of qualities is quite rare in someone her age. She is clearly on the verge of a wonderful performing career!”
Music Institute of Chicago
The Music Institute of Chicago is dedicated to transforming lives through music education. Founded in 1931, the Music Institute has grown to become one of the largest and most respected community music schools in the nation. Offering musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services, the Music Institute is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Pre-collegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS). Each year, the Music Institute’s teachers reach thousands of students of all ages and levels of experience. Music Institute locations include Chicago, Evanston, Winnetka, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest, and Downers Grove. In addition, the Music Institute is proud of its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools through its Arts Link program. The Music Institute offers lessons and classes, and concerts through its Community Music School, Academy, and Nichols Concert Hall.
The Music Institute of Chicago’s presentation of Kate Liu in concert takes place Saturday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. 


Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students, available at or 847.905.1500. All programming is subject to change. For more information, visit     

The Honorable Jon Huntsman

In light the of the recent state visit by President Xi, recent controversy over cyber attacks, and the developments in the Chinese economy, former Ambassador to China, current Chairman of the Atlantic Council, former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman sits down with the Institute of Politics to provide his insights and analysis on the US China relationship as well as the state of American politics. How will the future of the relationship between these two geopolitical and economic superpowers shape the world?

University of Chicago Institute of Politics

Monday, November 30, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 7:15 PM (CST)


Mayor Emmanuel dedicated Honorary Zhou Brothers Way

A historic moment in Chicago history was celebrated October 16, 2015 at the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport.  The Rich Central High School Marching band led Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and dignitaries including Commissioner John Daley, Alderman Patrick Thompson 11th Ward, former Alderman James Balcer and Chinese Consul general Zhao Weiping to the stage.  After remarks from the Mayor the Zhou Brothers were handed their Honorary Zhou Brothers Way signs and resolutions from the City and the County to commemorate the economic and cultural impact the Zhou Brothers have made on Bridgeport during their 30 years in Chicago.

To the rousing strains of “Uptown Funk” the Rich High school band led everyone to the front where the installed Honorary Zhou Brothers Way sign was revealed.  Inside the building the Zhou Brothers exhibition of new work “Water Lily Pond of Life” opened to the VIP’s for a preview of the show.  You entered a unique and private world, where the impression of swirling water and mythical creatures surround you.  The bold colors and layered composition of these powerful paintings will stay with you long after leaving the room. 

At 7:00 PM the City of Big Dreams Fest, a fundraiser to support organization that bring art to at-risk youth, with diverse performances from talented Chicago artists.  Mayor Emmanuel enthusiastically applauds the efforts of these organizations that benefit at-risk youth.  The Homer Bryant Youth Professionals started off with a dynamic repertoire that included classical ballet on point, powerful African dance with remarks from the founder Homer Bryant, a brilliant dancer in his own right.


The Simple Good, Homer Bryant Youth Professionals, Rich High School Marching Band and Project Art were all beneficiaries of this special evening.  The supporting sponsors: Schulze Burch Baking Company, Bombay Sapphire, Zhou B Art Center, Art of Imagination, Juliet Tan Floral Design, and M&M Rental Company.

DJ Moz spun his own mix of eclectic tunes to Kid Jungle and his B-Boys whose breath taking leaps and flips drew gasps of admiration.  The Chinatown Lion Dancers with their dynamic drummers bowed to the Zhou Brothers then led guests up to the 2nd floor.

Jazz artist Lili K, touted as the best Jazz musician in Chicago by the Reader, entranced the crowd with her vocal magic.  The poetic and lyrical back-drop was the solo show by Injung Oh, “Volossom: the First Decade. 

As part of Oh’s solo exhibition, the Thousand Wish Project will be an important element in the ongoing development of Volossom as an element of personal expression. Her visionary idea for a wishful world has transcended from the artist’s studio into the local community. The Thousand Wish Project is an ongoing interactive visual workshop, which encourages participants to explore, articulate and give shape to a latent wish or desire using creative art mediums.

Oh’s artistic practice reflects a personal journey of self-discovery. Oh received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and has had solo exhibitions at Ed Paschke Art Center and Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, MIIT Museum in Turin, Italy and Bluerider Art Gallery in Taipei, Taiwan. Reviews of her work have been featured in Italia Arte Magazine, China Times and China Post and her work is in numerous private collections. She is a resident artist of the Zhou B Art Center.


Zhou B Art Center

1029 W 35th Street, Chicago, IL

For more information, photos or to schedule an interview please contact

Donna Bliss847-226-4215


December 10th - 13th 2015

Hubbard Street’s outstanding ensemble of early-career artists joins its main company for the Winter Series, performing a new work by Chinese-American choreographer Yin Yue, created through the company’s 16th annual International Commissioning Project. Yue’s new work features a cast of five and fast-paced, athletic choreography set to music by Wolfgang Voigt (Gas), Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) and Michel Banabila, and The Advent and Jason Fernandes, with original costume designs by Rebecca M. Shouse and lighting by Julie E. Ballard. The main themes of Yin Yue’s choreographic work are emotional experience, conflicts, and relationships in all their complexity, as recognized in 2013 by Northwest Dance Project’s 5th Annual Pretty Creatives International Choreographic Competition, and by her selection as a finalist at “The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010” presented by The Joyce Theater Foundation in New York City. Yin Yue is also artistic director of Jiangxi Zhongshan Dance School, founded in 1996 and located in Nanchang in China’s Jiangxi province.  Get Tickets at HTTP://WWW.HUBBARDSTREETDANCE.COM/WINTER