Bootstrapping In America is tastytrade's spotlight on the best and brightest of the entrepreneurial community in Chicago and beyond. Meet the innovative men and women leading the companies featured in this week's episodes!

Steve O'Brien | Leadbelly Burgers

Steve O'Brien is the Chef and owner of the two highly acclaimed burger joints in Chicago, Leadbelly, named after the famed musician, Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, who is credited with being the inspiration for the Beatles.  Steve has cooked for President Bill Clinton and several high-profile celebrities throughout his career.

We make our buns from scratch. When our buns run out, so do we. That’s our philosophy.
— Steve O'Brien

Nick Petit | Kahoots

Nicholas Petit is the founder of Kahoots. Their software allows you to have access to the contacts your friends trust – on-demand. The company won Microsoft's prestigious Venture Contest in all three categories in January 2015. 

I know that with the proliferation of our social networks, and how big our contact base is getting, applying big data principles could make our relationships stronger.
— Nick Petit

Mike Persico | Anova Technologies

Mike Persico is the founder of Anova, a low latency network and custom optical engineering firm exclusively concentrated on HFT and algorithmic trading clients. They custom build laser routes intended to be as short as possible through an array of lit, dark and passive fiber. 

In the five years I’ve owned this company, we’ve disrupted ourselves three times.
— Mike Persico

Larry Baker & Charlie Tribbett | Bolstr

Charlie Tribbett & Larry Baker are the co-founders of Bolstr. They provide an online marketplace where retail and manufacturing companies can use their platform to raise funds from accredited investors. Businesses can raise up to $500,000 from accredited investors. This could be the wave of the future.

There are 8 1/2 million accredited investors who haven’t participated in the private sector before.
— Charlie Tribbett

Glenn FahLstrom | FahLstrom's Fresh Fish Market

Glenn Fahlstrom is the owner of Fahlstrom's Fresh Fish Market. Glenn is a Chicago seafood veteran who has over two decades of experience in the restaurant industry. He has assisted the successful openings of nine different eateries in his career. 

When I used my last name Fahlstrom’s, I couldn’t fly under the radar anymore. My father would be proud, very proud.

What are your favorite episodes of BSA? Who would you like to see on the show? How about you?! Drop us a note in the comments below, send a Tweet to @BootstrappingIA, or send an email to

Tune in to catch a brand new interview on Bootstrapping In America Live Monday - Friday at 9:25am CT on!