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!

Maria Littlefield | Owl's Brew

Maria Littlefield is the co-founder of Owl's Brew. Owl's Brew is the first ever tea crafted for cocktails. They are meant to be crafted for cocktails using a variety of spirits, included wine, beer, whiskey, rum and vodka, among others.

Owl’s Brew is the first ever tea-based cocktail mixer - a line of tea blends that are all crafted to blend with spirits.
— Maria Littlefield

Dean Casagrande | Mondo Meatball

Dean Casagrande is the owner of Mondo Meatball. His vision for decades was to start a restaurant with his grandmother's meatball recipe, and go from there.  In early 2015, he finally realized his dream. He opened Mondo Meatball, along with Chef John Sullivan, who brings his culinary expertise back to Chicago from New Orleans.

It started very simply. I had a family meatball recipe that I had for years, and friends kept telling me I should do something with it.
— Dean Casagrande

Badal Shah | TurboAppeal

Badal Shah is the founder of TurboAppeal.  The company has developed proprietary technology combining big data analytics and machine learning to help homeowners save more money.  Their technology compiles the strongest evidence in supporting residential property tax appeal.

We wanted to make it (tax appeal) simple for homeowners because it’s a complicated process... and to improve the likelihood of reduction.
— Badal Shah

Zach Kaplan | Inventables

Zach Kaplan is the founder and CEO of Inventables. The company is a hardware store for designers. They have grown from 5 employees to currently 30, and are looking to hire 30 more before the end of 2015. They sell more than 30,000 products for businesses.  There most popular product is their own carving machine they invented for businesses.  

It’s a 3D carver, with a 3D start from a block of material and carve away what you don’t want.
— Zach Kaplan

Kathryn Goetzke | The Mood Factory

Kathryn Goetzke is the founder and CEO of The Mood Factory. Their first line of brands, Mood-lites, are lightbulbs based on sense and sight, specifically in regards to how colors effect how we feel.

It’s based on colors and moods, so when you look at a certain color, you’ll have a reaction.
— Kathryn Goetzke

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!