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Kevin Willer

Willer @ the CEC: 2012

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Happy New Year!

            What is it about the 4 digits of a year that spurs memories and that we associate one or two big events with?  12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days go by and we boil it all down to something that represents that year.  What is it about a number that can mean so much?  For example, 1974 was the year I was born, 1992 was the year I graduated highschool, I joined Google in 2000, 2005 was the year I got married and we had kids in 2007, 2009, and 2011.  In Chicago's startup community, we will likely look back on 2011 for Groupon's IPO or maybe for the massive VC investment in our local startups - and also as the year all the parts of our community really came together to make Chicago the best place to start a company.  So if that was 2011, what will 2012 represent for us when we look back in 10 years?

            Well, we're already just one week into 2012 and it feels like we're moving faster than in 2011 - not to mention the exciting news that happened in the week between Christmas and New Years with the announcement that data cruncher Mu Sigma nets $108 million in new capital!  And both Eved and BodyShopBids announced exciting funding rounds this past week!  Also congrats to Jeremy, Erik and the team that put together the awesome Entrepreneurs Eve celebration on an incredible event.  What a way to ring out the old and ring in the new!

Here are some other updates from the holiday break:

  • Folks I spent time with in the last couple of weeks included: Marc Steinberg from Brand Innovators (who's putting on a brand summit on 1/25), Robbie from Doejo, Patty Keegan from ChicagoBooth, and George Deeb from RedRocket.
  • Stopped by the Fail Cube and saw Ed at MediaChaperone, Erik from SimpleRelevance, and the TapMe gang.
  • Spent time at Sandbox and heard about some of their many successes like Marbles and Doggyloot - and the new accelerator, Healthbox, opens this week!
  • Office hours with Jeremy from SpotHero, Paul from Pricetag, Rafiq from Demibooks, and Brandon from Plura
  • Met up with Linda and Jamie to hear about the incredible progress and plans for Impact Engine

And be sure to check out this cool site the Chicago Sun-Times launched to share all of the great innovation going on in Chicago: SunTimes Innovation Hub

I'm pretty sure there will be other exciting announcements soon that will make Chicago the best place to start a company in 2012!

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