- All Community
First a little history
On August 2, 2010 a group of about 25 Chicago area entrepreneurs and technologists got together to talk about what we could do to help the tech ecosystem in Chicago grow. There were lots of ideas. Job fairs, conferences, outreach to universities etc. Like other entrepreneurs who like building new things I figured it was time to test out an idea I had brewing for a while knowing that it would be imperfect but at least it was something. So I went home that night and launched BuiltInChicago.org on a very simple social platform called Ning. In the first month we kept it as a closed community to get feedback from the original group that came to those first meetings. Only one month later, on September 28th, after attending another event with entrepreneurs at New World Ventures and having a similar conversation I decided to open it up to everyone.
Since that time, nearly 100,000 people have used the site, more than 3,500 people have registered and created profiles and nearly 900 blog posts have been created. Hundreds of events been promoted through the event calendar and 160+ videos have been uploaded.
And this was all done with virtually no budget or staff. Just the power of the community. All of you.
By May 2011 BuiltInChicago had grown to the point where I could no longer meet the needs of the community working nights and weekends. At the same time Matt McCall and several members of the community suggested that we capitalize on the momentum and raise some money to hire a part time director and fund future initiatives.
What we announced last night at the launch party
J.B. Pritzker (New World Ventures), Eric Lefkofsky (Lightbank/Groupon), Joe Mansueto (Morningstar) and Bob Fealy ( The Duchossois Group) all generously agreed to become the founding sponsors of Built In Chicago and gave us the necessary resources to take the community to the next level. This is when Maria Katris joined as our new part time Executive Director. Maria has been on board for the last two months and is doing a fantastic job. So that is the big news.
We also unveiled our new logo. Thank you to Built In Chicago member Brad Gerstein for raising his hand and leading this project and thank you to crowdSPRING for helping us run the design process on their amazing platform. Pretty cool isn't it?What is our focus going forward?
Remain true to our core mission: connect, educate and promote the digital community in the Chicagoland area.
1. Connect: Make our big world class city feel like a small intimate community when it comes to the people buidling digital technology companies. Work with academic partners to connect their students, faculty and administrators with the digital community in the greater Chicago area. Work with city, state and other local governments to identify ways for public policy to encourage the growth of digital businesses in the region. Help connect Chicago companies with investors, partners and customers around the world.
2. Educate: Educate the community by encouraging members to contribute content others will find valuable on topics ranging from strategy to mobile to social media, new technology and anything that will give Chicago digital technology entrepreneurs an edge in the competitive marketplace. We will seek to activate 70+ different group leaders to identify topics and hold meetings and discussions online and offline.
3. Promote: We will publish and regularly update data about the size and growth rate of the community ( employees, funds raised, users and other key metrics) to help quantify our collective successes. We will profile and celebrate the successes in the digital community through profiles, interviews, blog posts and press outlets. Promoting community efforts which support our mission such as Excelerate Labs, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, and TechWeek.
We will continue to be inclusive and seek to partner with other organizations in the city who share our mission. We will look for white space to fill needs that are currently unaddressed. And we will listen to members of the community and shape our plans going forward