Four leaders of Chicago's technology community, including billionaire venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker, are spearheading an effort to launch a Chicago technology center for startups.
They are searching for about 50,000 square feet of office space near public transit, according to Built in Chicago founder Matt Moog, who along with Pritzker, Troy Henikoff of Excelerate Labs and Kevin Willer of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center are among those leading the effort. Moog said more than 100 people are involved in giving advice and input.
It's an idea whose time is overdue, said Moog, who also is chief executive of startup Viewpoints Network.
Moog said the project would not be a traditional incubator, where startups are given free rent in exchange for the landlord receiving equity in the company. The yet to be named space would instead be run as a nonprofit. Rent would be charged by the desk or by the small suite; and organizers would not be given stakes in the company, Moog said. The goal is to have the center open by the end of the first quarter of 2012.
It wasn't always easy for people new to the community figure out where to go for capital, to hire people, and to get the general benefits that come from a close-knit community, Moog said, adding that he hopes the technology center will become that hub.
Moog said organizers are keeping city and state officials informed about their plans, but, at this point, the project will be privately funded.
More information will be available later today.
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