38 | Founder | Shift
Dr. Ari Levy’s staff at Shift, a concierge medicine practice in River North, jokingly calls the physician the “executive whisperer.” Even hard-charging workaholics listen to the internist and University of Chicago Booth School of Business MBA, recognizing a kindred spirit who wears custom suits and has an obsessive customer-first mentality when it comes to health care. “Anyone who can convince me to not drink wine for six weeks deserves some recognition,” says restaurateur Nick Kokonas, co-founder of Alinea Group and one of Shift’s earliest members.
Paying out of pocket for on-call access to a doctor is a health care option that is growing in popularity, including with time-strapped execs. But Levy takes concierge medicine a few steps further: Shift members—the startup has grown to more than 315 since launching in March—can drop in for a primary care appointment with Levy or Dr. Deepa Arla in the gleaming 14,000-square-foot facility. They also can take a cardio or yoga class, meet with a personal trainer in the gym, get a one-on-one nutrition consultation, or grab lunch in the cafe.
Levy’s patients benefit from personalized attention, as well. The Highland Park native once worked as a personal trainer himself, to help pay college and med school tuition. He’ll text members about routine test results or to ask why he hasn’t seen them in the gym.“Ari’s your doctor,” says Kokonas, “but he’s also the gym-rat making himself better, leading by example in an encouraging community.”
Athletico founder and CEO Mark Kaufman, another Shift member, has known Levy since the doctor was a team physician for the Blackhawks. Kaufman says Levy “can easily navigate the locker room, athletic training room, weight room and arena and all the personalities associated with each.”
39 | Co-CEO | Phusion Projects
In 2005, Jaisen Freeman left a boring bank job to co-found Phusion Projects, an alcoholic beverage company that has delivered all the thrills (millions in sales) and spills (the rise and fall of its controversial drink, Four Loko) he missed out on.
Maria Christopoulos Katris
39 | CEO | Built In
Former health care consultant Maria Christopoulos Katris approached Matt Moog in 2011 with an idea to expand Built In, a website he launched for Chicago’s tech-startup community, for a larger audience—she didn’t understand why Chicago wasn’t yet considered a tech hub. Struck by her “passion and enthusiasm,” Moog invited the can’t-sit-still daughter of Greek immigrant pharmacists to take over as CEO.
31 | CEO | SpotHero
Mark Lawrence was an early entrepreneur. As a high schooler at New Trier in Winnetka, he cornered the market on used Spanish textbooks, building a business that would do $1 million in sales before he graduated from college. “They were selling (textbooks) for $100 new, buying them back for $15 and selling them used for $85,” he says. So Lawrence bought books from classmates for $25 and flipped them at $65.
31 | CEO | RXBar
In 2013, Peter Rahal was making protein bars from egg whites, dates and nuts in his parents’ Glen Ellyn kitchen. This October, after a “brutal survival period,” he sold his RXBar line to Kellogg for $600 million. “We started with $10,000,” says Rahal, who co-founded Chicago Bar Co., producer of RXBar, with childhood friend Jared Smith. “We didn’t go to investors. We just did it.”
39 | Vice president of health data strategy | Health Care Service Corp.
When he was a child in Chennai, India, Krishna Ramachandran had to sleep on the floor. His family of four shared a tiny apartment. Mom pawned jewelry to help cover rent.
38 | CEO | Revel Group
It was Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, and Britt Whitfield “felt like everything in my life was riding on a baseball game.”
Credit: Crain’s Chicago Business