Gesture Awards

Gesture has been recognized for its innovative technology and outstanding team.

Leading Mobile Fundraising Company Gesture Wins Chicago Innovation Award, Expands Its Charity Platform

mobile fundraising

Scheduled to run a total of 264 events across 136 cities in 28 states in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone, Gesture’s expert team and its suite of event management software is set reshape the way charities and donors create positive change anywhere in the world

Gesture has been awarded the coveted Chicago Innovation Award for their revolutionary charity fundraising platform and services that continue to create positive change all over the country.

Selected from an astounding 552 nominees and 100 finalists, Gesture — America’s leading mobile fundraising event company — has been named Chicago’s most innovative new company.

By helping charities, nonprofits, schools, churches and foundations through its digital bidding technology and customized charity event solutions, organizations have maximized their revenue through their silent auctions, direct donations and live auctions. In just over three years, Gesture has helped raise over $140 million for its expanding number of charity partners.

The company’s trusted network of countrywide partners include renowned charities such as the Boys and Girls Club, American Heart Association, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the YMCA, Folds of Honor and American Red Cross .

Using its innovative Mobile Bidding technology where donors bid easily and efficiently via any mobile device, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer from anywhere in the world, Gesture’s mission to foster generosity and deliver affordable charity event solutions sets the company at the forefront of the industry.

“This award galvanizes what the Gesture team has been working towards over the past three years, being more than just a charity event service by not only facilitating positive change through our forward-thinking platforms, but also by building long lasting partnerships with our clients,” says Gesture Founder and CEO Jim Alvarez. “Through our expert event management team, and our world class mobile technology, any charity can reach their revenue goals with the least amount of work,” he adds.

Gesture, Alvarez explains, has become a model company for fundraising events by being a hub for every organizational facet of a benefit.

The flagship service, however, is Gesture’s innovative Mobile Bidding technology where charity guests use their mobile phones to register easily with only their name and phone number, and start bidding on silent auction items instantly. Guests receive texts informing them when they are the high bidder, when they have been outbid, and when they’ve won. The software’s automated checkout service streamlines the post-auction process.

By integrating its team and software seamlessly into an event, Gesture can check in any number of guests — to allow for fast and easy registration before bidding — and run the event through its user-friendly, PCI compliant technology that automates auctions, and partners with word-class benefit auctioneers.

According to Philip Crutchfield, VP of Strategic Partnerships, this suite of services will now be complimented by Gesture’s new Integrated Ticketing Platform. This new feature allows charities complete oversight of the event-ticketing site, featuring their logo, banner, event description, contact information, and more. Additionally, the complete software integration means guests will automatically be registered to bid and donate as soon as they purchase a ticket.

“Adding to our focus on utilizing readily available technology to facilitate positive outcomes, this new feature can even provide our charities with instant stats and sales tracking reports,” Crutchfield explains.

As mobile phones become an increasingly established part of our everyday lives, companies like Gesture seek to apply new ways of utilizing this technology that looks beyond baseline profits. According to Pew Research Institute, 90% of American adults have a cell phone.

“Our Social Entrepreneurship platform solely exists to help charities become more profitable, and utilizing mobile phones to facilitate this makes it more efficient for them, and more fun and accessible for people wanting to donate — to make a change,” says Alvarez.

Scheduled to run a total of 264 events across 136 cities in 28 states in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone, Gesture’s expert team and its suite of event management software is set reshape the way charities and donors create positive change anywhere in the world.


Founded by Jim Alvarez in 2011, Gesture works with charities, nonprofits, schools, churches and community organizations nationwide to organize events that maximize revenue in silent auctions, direct donations and live auctions. From school auctions, sports fundraisers, golf outings, club fundraisers and stadium auctions to the most elegant gala, Gesture helps charities raise more money via energetic teams and unique mobile bidding technology. Gestures easy-to-use, PCI-compliant mobile auction software doesn’t require extra devices and can be used by anyone anywhere in the world.

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[Crain’s] Meet This Year’s Chicago Innovation Awards Winners

mobile bidding
The Chicago Innovation Awards were announced tonight, with honors going to 10 local companies for breakthroughs from toys and software to prescription drugs and a lining for sewer pipes. Ten startups also were named up-and-comers for promising new products or services.

The awards were presented tonight at the Harris Theater. Started 13 years ago, the awards recognize innovation by companies from a variety of industries across the Chicago area. Winners were selected from more than 550 nominations by an independent team of judges assisted by screeners from the staff of Kuczmarski Innovation.

Winners are:

Gesture, which makes mobile software for bidding at fundraising auctions.

Dough, for its new visual trading platform for DIY options trading.

Horizon Pharma’s, Duexis a pill that treats arthritis and reduces side effects.

LMK Technologies, for a liner that fixes leaking underground sewer pipes.

Mattersight, which makes predictive-behavior software that matches callers with call-center agents suited for them.

Rise Interactive’s online-marketing analytics tools, Interactive Investment Management.

Radio Flyer’s Ziggle, a new ride-on toy for kids.

Keeper Securities, for its secure digital vault for managing passwords.

Swingbyte, which makes a digital swing analyzer that transmits visual golf swing data to user’s phones.

Strata Decision Technology, which makes software for accounting, planning and forecasting that lowers costs for hospitals.

Startup winners of up-and-comer awards are:

Packback, which offers on-demand, one-day digital textbook rentals.

TempoIQ, a real-time analytics platform for Internet-connected sensors.

Options Away, which allows fliers to by options to lock in airfares.

LuminAID, an inflatable, solar-powered lantern ideal for disaster relief efforts.

640 Labs, a big data platform to enable farmers to gather and use info from their field equipment.

Shiftgig, a social media platform for employees and employers in the service industry.

Rippleshot, which detects bank card data breaches.

Pangea, a global money-transfer platform.

Kentech’s eKnowID, a personal background checking technology for job seekers.

ThinkCerca, which makes classroom software to teach reading and critical thinking.

Caremerge, whose technology is used to help coordinate nursing home care, received the Social Innovator award.

The People’s Choice award went to Chicago software maker AlligatorTek for its produce donor portal, which helps Feeding America.

In addition, special awards were presented.

Collaboration awards went to Beltone for its partnership with Apple Inc. on Beltone First, the first hearing instrument to receive wireless audio streaming directly from an iPhone or iPad, and to Molex Inc. for its work with Dow Chemical Co. on a solar-roofing shingle.

Sam Yagan, CEO of Match Group and co-founder of Techstars Chicago, won the Visionary award; Joffrey Ballet won the Spirit of Innovation award; and performance painter David Garibaldi won the Seeing Things Differently award.

Follow John on Twitter at @JohnPletz.

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Gesture Named A Chicago Startup Destined to Breakout in 2014

Tech Cocktail reached out to a handful of those fully entrenched in the Chicago startup scene to nominate a startup who was destined to breakout. Guy Turner, Managing Director at Hyde Park Ventures, had this to say about why Gesture was his pick:

“Jim Alvarez is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. He is in the trenches with his fast growing team and works many of the events that Gesture serves to ensure quality and to get quick feedback from his customers. The market is also ripe with attendees at charity events – regardless of age – now with a smartphone in their hand. Paper auctions are a thing of the past, and Jim and Gesture are poised to accelerate into this opportunity.”

Read the full article on Tech Cocktail.

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Gesture is Named a Finalist for the 12th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards

innovationbadgeOut of a record-breaking 562 nominees, Gesture of Chicago IL has been selected as one of the Top 100 Finalists still in the running for the 12th annual Chicago Innovation Awards.  The awards celebrate the most innovative new products and services in the Chicago region across all organization sizes, sectors and industries.  1500 business and civic leaders will come together to honor the winners when they are announced on October 30th at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

The innovation nominated was founded in 2011 to help non-profits improve fundraising efforts by harnessing the power of technology. The company’s technology platform is responsible for helping to raise over $52 million at hundreds of events annually for organizations such as Ronald McDonald House, American Red Cross, Make a Wish, American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs, universities such as Notre Dame, Purdue and DePaul, and Chicago-area hospitals including Rush Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Wheaton Franciscan.

“Chicago is in the midst of a monumental upsurge in innovation,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards.  “It’s inspiring to see the range of vision and the depth of talent among organizations in the Chicago area.  Companies are investing in innovation and taking more risks to launch new ventures and uncover new value.”

As one of the Top 100 Finalists, Gesture will receive a $2,500 scholarship to attend The Practical Innovator, a day-long executive education course on September 27th led by top faculty who teach innovation at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Each of the Top 100 Finalists is also in the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online balloting at

Out of the Top 100 Finalists, the judges will select 10 winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, as well as winners of the Up-and-Comer Awards representing innovation in the start-up community, the Social Innovator Award and the Collaboration Award.  The winners will be invited to ring the NASDAQ Bell in New York City, invited to separate meetings with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Quinn to discuss their innovation and profiled in Crain’s Chicago Business.

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Alvarez wins Tyree award for startups

Crain’s Chicago Business
Jim Alvarez, CEO of Gesture, won the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s second James Tyree award for emerging business leadership.

Mr. Alvarez, a former trader, launched a company two years ago that allows bidders at charity auctions to participate by using their cellphones. It now has 34 staffers and expects $3.5 million in revenue this year. You can read more about Gesture here.

Gesture won the award for high-growth, small companies that’s named for the former CEO of Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc., James Tyree, who died two years ago. The award was announced Tuesday at the chamber’s annual meeting.

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Gesture Makes The IT LIST

The IT LIST: Local Tech Startups

Chicago Sun Times – April 27, 2013

The future of philanthropy, Gesture facilitates silent auctions via text message or smartphone. Since 2011, CEO Jim Alvarez and his team have helped more than 250 charities raise $20 million.

View the article on

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