In an assignment for his electrical technology lab at Ontario’s Mohawk College, second-year diploma student Mohamed Awaiskhan Pathan made a big mistake.

What are some of the exciting startups based out of Chicago?

There are a lot of startups at very early stages that I expect to take off in the next year or so.

http://www.cloudbot.com (A single command line toolbar to manage all your cloud data)
http://www.presentbee.com (Facebook driven gift recommendations)
http://www.myze.us (A video recommendation site)
And of course, my own, http://www.mapding.com (Hyper-local, notification based classifieds)

The latest batch of companies to come out of the Excelerate program are also on the rise. Specifically,

http://www.feefighters.com (Comparing credit card processing fees made easy)
http://www.edulender.com (College loan research all in one place)
http://www.tap.me (A sophisticated form of in-game advertising.

Now is a very interesting time to be involved in the startup scene in Chicago. Because a new batch of entrepreneurs are joining the city’s tech elite, meeting and networking is pretty straightforward, and most startups are eager to help each other. The cost of living in Chicago is pretty low compared to NY and SF, too.