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!

Brendan Kim | Solar Gear

Brendan Kim is the co-founder of Solar Gear.  They manufacture solar power-charging outdoor products.  They come in the form of backpacks and fannypacks.

[On solar-powered products] - ‘It’s definitely more and more competitive, but its definitely a high growth market, and we’re looking to expand in the future.
— Brendan Kim

Mike Doyle | Rent Like a Champion

Mike Doyle is the CEO of Rent Like a Champion.  Rent Like a Champion provides private home rentals near campuses of college towns usually when events are being held such as football games, Parents Day and graduations.

Ninety percent of the homes are primary residences...the vast majority are comfortable with the idea.
— Mike Doyle

Tejas Shastry | Ampy

Tejas Shastry is the co-founder and CEO of Ampy. The company makes wearable devices that charges your USB-powered device.  With this you'll never have to plug your phone into a wall to charge it.  They've raised $300,000 on Kickstarter with a goal of $100,000.

We tweeted a picture of one of the first Apple watches being charged by Ampy.
— Tejas Shastry

Moira Hardek | Galvanize Labs

Moira Hardek is the co-founder and CEO of Galvanize Labs. The company produces browser-based technology educational video games. Their most recognizable game is Taken Charge, which places players into a story that teaches them building blocks needed for technology education.

Billy Jacobs | Piece Pizza

Billy Jacobs is the owner of Piece Pizza, a new haven style pizzeria and brewpub. Piece has been a neighborhood staple since it opened in 2001 in the Wicker Park area of Chicago.  In 2011 it was named the Top Independent Pizzeria of the Year.

[on why they haven’t expanded] - “For us it’s about staying focused and always wanting to make it better.
— Billy Jaocbs

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 9:40am CT on!