Chicago Pulse: TripAdvisor Acquires Local Site ‘Where I’ve Been’

Chicago SkylineTravel Site Is Acquired: Chicago-based Where I’ve Been, a travel website and social platform, has been acquired by TripAdvisor. Where I’ve Been’s entire product team will join their new parent. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Founded by Michael Dalesandro and Craig Ulliott, Where I’ve Been allows users to share their travel maps, stories and photos, and to interact with others on social networks. Its Facebook application has more than 10 million users. ChicagoBusiness.com

A Tech Startup Delivers Power: Electricity deregulation in Illinois began in 1997, but most residential consumers don’t realize they have the option to switch from their energy provider. Power2Switch wants to help by simplifying the process for making a change. “The awareness that consumers have choice in their electricity providers is extremely low,” says co-founder Phil Nevels. “Even if you are aware, it’s very difficult to understand how to navigate it.” The way hasn’t been simple, though. Power2Switch launched in January and since then, its website has gone through two major revamps. NBC Chicago 

Illinois Jobs Now! Stimulus Plan Upheld: Illinois Jobs Now!, the $31 billion economic stimulus package of Gov. Pat Quinn, was upheld by the state Supreme Court. The court reversed a Jan. 26 finding that held the plan violated a state constitutional requirement that bills be limited to a single subject. Bloomberg

Nonprofit Lender Gets $1 Million Grant for Energy Efficiency: A $1 million federal grant will let Chicago nonprofit lender IFF launch a $10 million loan fund to finance energy-efficiency improvements by nonprofit groups. IFF — formerly known as the Illinois Facilities Fund — will make loans for retrofits that reduce energy consumption by at least 25 percent, or major renovations that improve energy efficiency by at least 15 percent above building code requirements. The grant from the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative was funneled through Energy Impact Illinois. ChicagoBusiness.com

Office Vacancies Drop: Vacancies at office buildings in U.S. central business districts dropped to their lowest level in two years as companies added space for workers being hired. The average vacancy rate fell to 13.9 percent in the second quarter, from 14.6 percent in the previous three months and 14.8 percent a year earlier. In Chicago, vacancies dropped to 15 percent from 16.4 percent in the first quarter and 16.7 percent a year earlier. Groupon is among the companies adding space in the city, leasing about 50,000 square feet in the East Loop district late last year to accommodate hiring added staff. Bloomberg

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