startup guide

early stage capital

Arch Venture Partners

ARCH invests primarily in companies co-founded with leading scientists and entrepreneurs, concentrating on bringing to market innovations in life sciences, physical sciences, and information technology. We enjoy special recognition as a leader in the successful commercialization of technologies developed at academic research institutions and national laboratories.

Baird Venture Partners

Baird Venture Partners, the U.S.-based venture capital fund of Baird Private Equity, makes investments in early- and expansion-stage companies in the Business Services and Healthcare/Life Sciences sectors. We provide capital for new services, products, geographic expansion and acquisitions.

Capital Management Co.

Capital Strategy serves a wide range of early stage high and medium technology industries as well as service firms, with capital for start-up, expansion, or repositioning, as well as strategic and financial advisory expertise. Our portfolio companies and clients are throughout the United States, with a concentration in the upper Midwest. The firm typically forms an advisory team to work with each portfolio company / client in conjunction with providing required capital infusions. The firm's equity focus is long-term in nature, rather than seeking early exits. The firm also maintains an active presence in the venture capital and investment community.

Ceres Venture Fund

Ceres Venture Fund, L.P. is an established Chicago-based venture capital fund dedicated to funding high growth companies located in the Midwest in their early stages of growth. As growth-oriented investors, the fund seeks to partner with entrepreneurs of proven ability and provide them with the resources needed to achieve extraordinary success.

Duchossois Technology Partners

Duchossois Technology Partners (DTEC) is a venture capital firm investing in early, mid, and growth stages of high potential technology companies. Founded in 1998, DTEC has invested in over two dozen entrepreneurial management teams, focusing on information technology, communications, semiconductors, and software.

FireStarter Fund

The FireStarter Fund is a seed stage investment fund created and run by Chicago founders who have established track records of starting and scaling digital technology based businesses. Most of the fund members are currently running their companies. Our members will have strong opinions because they have spent their career building businesses in the digital technology arena. Be prepared to defend your assumption and plan because when you talk to one of our members, you are not talking to a professional investor, you are talking to someone who is currently running a business and understand the nuances of their space as well as anybody. You should not submit your application directly to the fund. Instead you should submit your funding request to a maximum of three of the members who you believe will best understand your business. They will evaluate the business and decide if a meeting or conversation is warranted. If they then are prepared to endorse your plan and recommend it to the general membership, they will submit and and the membership will vote within 14 days.

Heartland Angels

Our mission is to be a catalyst in the process of innovation. We do this by creating forums in which human, intellectual and financial capital are joined for a common purpose.
Heartland Angels' unique process has four components:
A Program to perform a stepped due diligence analysis to review investment opportunities.
A Strategy to use the multifaceted experience of professionals, academics and scientists in investigating and assessing early staged investment opportunities.
A Method to syndicate an opt-in funding approach so as to coordinate the interests of multiple private equity ("angel") investors.
A Protocol to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of negotiations. This maximizes communications and minimizes unnecessary risk and cost to the investor and to portfolio companies.
Heartland Angels operates to facilitate the investor-company matching process. Each party in the agreement has potentially something to gain and/or to lose.

Hyde Park Angels

Hyde Park Angels is an organization that provides a forum for entrepreneurial-minded members to invest in seed and early stage businesses, primarily located in the Midwest. HPA is a group of current and former executives, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists who are interested in investing their time and money into outstanding startups. HPA also provides domain expertise, strategic advice and coaching to its companies. The Chicago-based Hyde Park Angel Network was founded in 2006 by a group of classmates from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Executive MBA Program.

Chicago Ventures

Chicago Ventures invests in well-managed seed-stage technology companies in Chicago and the Greater Midwest that have demonstrated a value proposition in a given market for their product or services. The fund looks to make initial investments ranging from $250,000 to $1 million in each company.

IllinoisVentures

IllinoisVENTURES is a premier seed and early-stage technology investment firm focused on research-derived companies in information technologies, physical sciences, life sciences and clean technology. We start and build globally-competitive businesses based on work conducted at Midwest Universities and federal laboratories. We bring together leading researchers and entrepreneurs to mold concepts, vision, intellectual property, sweat and passion into breakthrough, high-growth companies. Conceived and launched by the University of Illinois, we have been consistently named by Entrepreneur magazine to its national list of the top 100 venture capital firms.

JK&B

JK&B Capital is a venture capital firm focused in the software, IT and communications markets with over $1.1 billion of capital under management.

Lightbank

Lightbank We’re not a venture fund. We’re not a seed fund. We invest money, but we do it our way

You’ve got the idea, the motivation, and the vision. We’ve got the cash, the resources, and the experience to take what’s in your head and help you build a thriving enterprise.

MK Capital

 

MK Capital is an established venture capital firm with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. We offer multi-stage growth equity and venture capital to companies in the following sectors:

  • Digital Media
  • Data Center Automation
  • Software
  • Education Technology

As a member of the MK Capital portfolio, companies get access to an experienced partner with deep operating experience. We leverage insights from a strong understanding of our sectors to help our portfolios companies grow. We collaborate on strategy, operations, and technology as active members on the boards of our portfolio companies.

New World Ventures

Founded in 1996, New World Ventures is Chicago’s largest and most innovative technology venture investor. We bring to bear a combined 100 years of venture capital and entrepreneurial experience, a broad Network of strategic relationships, thought leadership and idea generation, and multi-stage investment capital that help entrepreneurs and management teams build market-leading, world class information technology companies.

New World Ventures is unique for its tremendous flexibility with size, structure and duration of an investment, allowing us to stand on the same side of the table with entrepreneurs who simply want to build great businesses. Along with more than 50 venture investments made, and the backing of The Pritzker Group run by J.B. Pritzker and Tony Pritzker, our partners bring a strong reputation of integrity and a focus on excellence. 

OCA Ventures

OCA Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on equity investments in companies with dramatic growth potential, primarily in technology, highly-scalable services businesses, mobile commerce and web 3.0. OCA invests in many industries, with a preference for financial services and for-profit education. Over the last decade, OCA has invested three funds in over 45 companies. OCA is based in Chicago and has investments throughout the United States.

ScaleWell

 

$1000 and coworking space for your company

Traction is the secret sauce of success in early stage startups and can be achieved with ever-decreasing amounts of capital. Simply stated, traction is proving that customers are willing to pay for your product. Traction can enable a business to sustain itself through bootstrapping, prove market interest, and attract investment.

ScaleWell is a catalyst for startup traction - By providing one team or an individual entrepreneur with a $1000 grant and coworking space on a quarterly basis we want entrepreneurs to explore important questions like: How many customers can be acquired for $1000 or how far will a small sum move a company toward profitability? The best way to develop answers to these questions is to DO IT. Build the product, get customers, and collect metrics along the way.

The small amount of capital ScaleWell injects into a startup takes the company to its next milestone or iteration on its business plan. We call it Iterative Capital, just enough money, motivation, and support to successfully iterate in a startup.

Wildcat Angels

Wildcat Angels brings together active individual investors and high growth early stage businesses. Members are executives and entrepreneurs who are interested in investing both funds and their expertise in assisting startup companies. Wildcat Angels is based in Evanston, Illinois, where it hosts quarterly dinner meetings for members. At these meetings, pre-screened entrepreneurs and business owners, primarily sourced from the university and Chicago-area business communities, present summaries of investment opportunities to members.

Energy Foundry

 

Energy Foundry is an impact venture capital fund created to support game-changing energy and grid ideas. 

Our model is based on the belief that building successful energy technology companies requires a unique approach. This is why we couple our investment with integrated support tailored to the needs of energy businesses. From proving grounds to an advisor network, advice on government funding to foundational partnerships for operational support, we support entrepreneurs to make what they do even better. By coupling the resources, advice and expertise that an early stage energy-tech company needs to get through its critical path, we add value that goes beyond investment dollars.

growth stage capital

Apex Venture Partners

Apex Venture Partners, established in 1987, is one of the oldest venture capital firms in Mid-America. The firm has invested in over 150 companies throughout the United States.

Apex's guiding investment philosophy is to provide exceptional returns for our investors by partnering with entrepreneurs and executives to build significant value in their companies.

Baird Venture Partners

Baird Venture Partners, the U.S.-based venture capital fund of Baird Private Equity, makes investments in early- and expansion-stage companies in the Business Services and Healthcare/Life Sciences sectors. We provide capital for new services, products, geographic expansion and acquisitions.

Capital Management Co.

Capital Strategy serves a wide range of early stage high and medium technology industries as well as service firms, with capital for start-up, expansion, or repositioning, as well as strategic and financial advisory expertise. Our portfolio companies and clients are throughout the United States, with a concentration in the upper Midwest. The firm typically forms an advisory team to work with each portfolio company / client in conjunction with providing required capital infusions. The firm's equity focus is long-term in nature, rather than seeking early exits. The firm also maintains an active presence in the venture capital and investment community.

Ceres Venture Fund

Ceres Venture Fund, L.P. is an established Chicago-based venture capital fund dedicated to funding high growth companies located in the Midwest in their early stages of growth. As growth-oriented investors, the fund seeks to partner with entrepreneurs of proven ability and provide them with the resources needed to achieve extraordinary success.

CHS Capital LLC

 

CHS Capital™ is a Chicago-based private equity firm with 24 years of experience investing in the middle market. Targeting well-managed companies with enterprise values between $75 million - $500 million, CHS Capital™ partners with management teams to add value through human capital initiatives, performance improvement actions and strategic growth activities. Over 24 years, our approach has been refined to ensure focus on core elements that create value: focused investment origination, targeted due diligence and active investment management. CHS Capital™ has completed investments in over 350 businesses and has raised a total of $2.9 billion of capital across five private equity funds.
First Analysis

 

Research is the foundation of everything we do. Our firm-wide team of about 40 investment professionals averages more than 15 years of investment and relevant industry experience. Each of our 15 research-focused investment professionals develops and maintains deep domain expertise in specific sectors, each of which belongs to one of our core areas of focus:
Health care productivity
Broadband enabled businesses
Clean-tech / infrastructure
First Analysis, founded in 1981, has a long-term commitment to its clients and industry sectors.
Hopewell Ventures

Hopewell Ventures partners with strong management teams of high-growth businesses in the Midwest, bringing equity capital, expertise and over a century of experience. Providing between $2 million and $7 million in initial funding, Hopewell invests in a broad range of industries. From technology to health care, manufacturing to medical devices, Hopewell has the experience, capital and contacts to help businesses thrive.

JK&B

JK&B Capital is a venture capital firm focused in the software, IT and communications markets with over $1.1 billion of capital under management.

MK Capital

 

MK Capital is an established venture capital firm with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. We offer multi-stage growth equity and venture capital to companies in the following sectors:

  • Digital Media
  • Data Center Automation
  • Software
  • Education Technology

As a member of the MK Capital portfolio, companies get access to an experienced partner with deep operating experience. We leverage insights from a strong understanding of our sectors to help our portfolios companies grow. We collaborate on strategy, operations, and technology as active members on the boards of our portfolio companies.

New World Ventures

Founded in 1996, New World Ventures is Chicago’s largest and most innovative technology venture investor. We bring to bear a combined 100 years of venture capital and entrepreneurial experience, a broad Network of strategic relationships, thought leadership and idea generation, and multi-stage investment capital that help entrepreneurs and management teams build market-leading, world class information technology companies.

New World Ventures is unique for its tremendous flexibility with size, structure and duration of an investment, allowing us to stand on the same side of the table with entrepreneurs who simply want to build great businesses. Along with more than 50 venture investments made, and the backing of The Pritzker Group run by J.B. Pritzker and Tony Pritzker, our partners bring a strong reputation of integrity and a focus on excellence. 

OCA Ventures

OCA Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on equity investments in companies with dramatic growth potential, primarily in technology, highly-scalable services businesses, mobile commerce and web 3.0. OCA invests in many industries, with a preference for financial services and for-profit education. Over the last decade, OCA has invested three funds in over 45 companies. OCA is based in Chicago and has investments throughout the United States.

late stage capital

Adams Street Partners

Adams Street Partners is a global private equity investment management firm that offers comprehensive solutions for its investors.

As one of the leading independent, employee-owned firms, Adams Street has established a reputation for strong performance, an extensive knowledge base and a disciplined investment approach that values quality over quantity.

For nearly 40 years, Adams Street has gained the experience to successfully manage through some of the most challenging investment cycles. The collective knowledge of the Adams Street team works collaboratively to leverage the global resources of the Firm in navigating the complexities of the private equity markets.

Our mission is to be the premier private equity investment manager in the world by sustaining world-class investment performance and the confidence of our investors through our deep understanding of the global private equity marketplace and exemplary client service.

CHS Capital LLC

 

CHS Capital™ is a Chicago-based private equity firm with 24 years of experience investing in the middle market. Targeting well-managed companies with enterprise values between $75 million - $500 million, CHS Capital™ partners with management teams to add value through human capital initiatives, performance improvement actions and strategic growth activities. Over 24 years, our approach has been refined to ensure focus on core elements that create value: focused investment origination, targeted due diligence and active investment management. CHS Capital™ has completed investments in over 350 businesses and has raised a total of $2.9 billion of capital across five private equity funds.
MK Capital

 

MK Capital is an established venture capital firm with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. We offer multi-stage growth equity and venture capital to companies in the following sectors:

  • Digital Media
  • Data Center Automation
  • Software
  • Education Technology

As a member of the MK Capital portfolio, companies get access to an experienced partner with deep operating experience. We leverage insights from a strong understanding of our sectors to help our portfolios companies grow. We collaborate on strategy, operations, and technology as active members on the boards of our portfolio companies.

New World Ventures

Founded in 1996, New World Ventures is Chicago’s largest and most innovative technology venture investor. We bring to bear a combined 100 years of venture capital and entrepreneurial experience, a broad Network of strategic relationships, thought leadership and idea generation, and multi-stage investment capital that help entrepreneurs and management teams build market-leading, world class information technology companies.

New World Ventures is unique for its tremendous flexibility with size, structure and duration of an investment, allowing us to stand on the same side of the table with entrepreneurs who simply want to build great businesses. Along with more than 50 venture investments made, and the backing of The Pritzker Group run by J.B. Pritzker and Tony Pritzker, our partners bring a strong reputation of integrity and a focus on excellence. 

incubators

Excelerate Labs

Excelerate Labs is an intensive summer accelerator for startups driven by proven entrepreneurs and investors. Led by world class entrepreneurs Sam Yagan (OKCupid, Sparknotes) and Troy Henikoff (SurePayroll), the program is unique in attracting scores of mentors from around the country to work with the teams in direct 1-on-1 meetings.
The program selects ten companies every spring to participate in the 13-week intensive summer program. Starting on June 1st, the ten companies build connections and their business during the program. The program culminates in an Investor Demo Day on August 31st, where the companies showcase their progress and plans to more than 200 angel and venture investors from around the country.

Sandbox Industries

We create, invest in and explore new businesses. We search for ideas with the potential to change markets, leveraging our expertise, resources, and experience to grow successful companies through collaboration and knowledge sharing. Sandbox represents a new model of business development -- one that helps rather than harasses entrepreneurs -- and is redefining the way great ideas are generated and transformed into successful companies. 

Healthbox

Healthbox has assembled a world-class mentor network that provides healthcare startups with invaluable advice and connections. You'll be able to generate ideas, test assumptions and focus your business in a dynamic workspace alongside other promising startups--with some seed capital to boot.

peer advice

Bootstrappers Breakfast

Join Other Entrepreneurs Who Eat Problems For Breakfast.

* Compare Notes
* Exchange Ideas
* Learn from Others’ Mistakes
* Brainstorm with Peers
* Find Partners
* Small Group Atmosphere
* Serious Conversation

Bootstrappers Breakfasts® are for founders of early stage technology startups. It is a chance to compare notes on operational, development, and business issues with peers. These breakfasts were designed for entrepreneurs to share ideas and leverage thoughts with other folks who are serious about growing their business.

non-profit/civic organizations

Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center

The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) works at the intersection of business success and civic engagement. It identifies the region's most promising entrepreneurs and helps them build high-growth, sustainable businesses that serve as platforms for economic development and civic leadership for the Chicagoland area. Since 2003, the CEC has helped our client entrepreneurs secure $268.5 million in revenue, raise $160 million in financing, and create or retain 6,350 jobs. In turn, CEC clients fuel the entrepreneurial ecosystem of our city by mentoring young talent, advising their peers, and joining the CEC "movement" to inspire entrepreneurship in Chicagoland.

Clean Energy Trust

THE CLEAN ENERGY TRUST was created to accelerate the development of Midwest clean energy businesses by connecting entrepreneurs, researchers and early stage companies with the expertise and capital needed to become sustainable.

ibio

iBIO’s mission is to make Illinois and the surrounding Midwest one of the world’s top life sciences centers: a great place to do business, and a great place to grow new technology ventures. iBIO advocates for sound public policy, delivers education and training programs, and improves our ability to create, attract, and retain businesses.

Illinois Science and Technology Coalition

The Illinois Science & Technology Coalition will cultivate innovation and technology-based economic development in Illinois.

MISSION

As the only organization representing the full range of science and technology activity in Illinois, our mission is to cultivate innovation and technology-based economic development in Illinois by:

Fostering public-private partnerships to develop and execute R&D projects.
Advocating for funding for R&D initiatives; and
Collaborating with public and private partners to attract and retain R&D resources and talent in Illinois.

Illinois Technology Association

The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a driving force behind the growth of Illinois' vibrant technology industry.

ITA’s agenda is simple – grow technology companies by fostering deep collaboration among the diverse industry all in support of developing the ecosystem necessary to foster the success of member companies.All the while tirelessly advocating for the industry to raise the awareness of Illinois as a leading technology community.

Members of ITA benefit from unlimited access to strategic development programs, services, resources and events that support all members of their team.  ITA leverages peer-to-peer collaboration and one-on-one mentoring with leaders from the technology industry to drive companies forward. In addition, ITA’s education, events, Networking, access to facilities at TechNexus and much more are all focused on growing members businesses.

With over 700 member companies, ITA represents organizations from start-up to leader across the industry – software, mobile, internet, consulting, online services, electronics, telecommunications, green and across all industries – business, consumer, financial services, travel, manufacturing, healthcare, and so on – that represent Illinois’ diversity of companies “that

Illinois Venture Capital Association

The Illinois Venture Capital Association advocates for a strong venture capital and private equity industry in Illinois by:

  • promoting pro-growth public policy initiatives,
  • providing educational programming in private equity,
  • facilitating member networking, and
  • endorsing communication and shared programs with organizations of mutual interest.

In addition, IVCA works with entrepreneurial organizations in the Midwest to encourage a strong cycle of innovation and business creation leading to superior investment opportunities.

MIT Enterprise Forum of Chicago

MITEF Chicago meets monthly from September to June. The capstone event in June is the Whiteboard Challenge in June. This is a competition for the best new idea.

TechAmerica

AeA, ITAA, GEIA and CSIA have merged to form TechAmerica, the largest and strongest voice and resource for technology in the United States. Together, we are the industry’s leading trade association, giving the tech sector a strong voice and offering companies a broad array of exceptional programs and services.

TiE Midwest

Formed in 1998, and located in Chicago, TiE-Midwest is a not-for-profit gathering of industry leaders joined together by the mission of supporting global entrepreneurship by working locally. Our goals are to identify and nurture up-and-coming entrepreneurs; to facilitate networking among members; and, to connect local entrepreneurs internationally.

Worldwide, the TiE organization has more than 12,000 members, 2,058 charter members and 200 sponsors in 56 chapters across 13 countries. These members are top entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, lawyers and management professionals who represent a diverse array of industries — software, services, telecommunications, life sciences, finance, and more — reflecting the breadth and depth of our network.

groups

Bootstrappers Breakfast

Join Other Entrepreneurs Who Eat Problems For Breakfast.

* Compare Notes
* Exchange Ideas
* Learn from Others’ Mistakes
* Brainstorm with Peers
* Find Partners
* Small Group Atmosphere
* Serious Conversation

Bootstrappers Breakfasts® are for founders of early stage technology startups. It is a chance to compare notes on operational, development, and business issues with peers. These breakfasts were designed for entrepreneurs to share ideas and leverage thoughts with other folks who are serious about growing their business.

BNC Venture Capital Group

Business Network Chicago (BNC) is a Network for professionals offering extensive offline and online Networking opportunities to the Chicago business community. Our mission is to bring professionals together, facilitate the development of mutually beneficial "win-win" relationships, educate, and promote the growth of business in Chicago. We support members in all phases of their career whether looking for clients, talent, a job, capital, or strategic alliances.

Chicago Interactive Design and Development

This group is for Chicago-area Web and Mobile Designers, Developers, Information Architects, Usability Experts, UX Designers, Web Producers, Programmers, Flash Animators, etc. - anyone involved in the designing, developing, programming and implementation of web sites and mobile applications.

Sorry, but since this group is about meeting face to face every month, only people residing in the Chicago area will be admitted.

At our meetings we'll Network with others in the industry; compare the latest tools and trends, theories, languages and templates; trade advice on careers; share knowledge, tips and tricks. We usually have interactive industry leaders as guest speakers/presenters.

Our free get-togethers are held in downtown Chicago, but double check the date/location as sometimes our meetup schedule does change!

Chicago Lean Startup Circle

The Chicago Lean Startup Circle is a group of smart and driven high-tech entrepreneurs that have learned how to discover customers and build products they want.

Lean Startups achieve success faster than most because they get out of the building to talk to customers, validate business model assumptions as quickly and cheaply as possible, use agile  development to decrease time to market and leverage continuous deployment to learn as fast as possible.

Our mission attracts the brightest entrepreneurs in the Midwest and beyond.  Our guest speakers like Mike Evans, Brant Cooper, Patrick Vlaskovits and Troy Henikoff share their stories and techniques so we can all learn from each other.

This fall, we've organized a new kind of startup competition:  The Chicago Lean Startup Challenge.  

We have 146 teams working away over 10 weeks to validate their business model hypotheses and get to a business model that works and scales, and have $75,000 in cash and prizes committed so far, with more on the way.  On December 15th, 4 finalists will present to our judges and the Chicago community, and we'll pick a winner.

Chicago Ruby

ChicagoRuby is a group of Ruby on Rails enthusiasts with events in downtown Chicago and in the suburbs.
 
Building a software team? Check out the ChicagoRuby Job Board. ChicagoRuby attracts some of the sharpest minds in software development. http://jobs.chicagoruby.org

Many of our videos appear at http://vimeo.com/chicagoruby. Learn more at http://chicagoruby.org and on Twitter: @ChicagoRuby.

When smart people challenge each other to grow, great things happen!

Chicago Women Developers

Welcome to the Chicago Woman Developers Meet-up

While open and welcoming, today's budding developer community is up to 91% male. There isn't a comfortable place where women can learn at their own pace and not be afraid to ask "stupid questions." We decided it was time to provide a place where all questions are OK and everyone can learn in a supportive environment.

PDMA chicago

We are the premier organization focused on managing organizational and innovation processes for consistently producing commercially successful new products and services.  We hope you will join us in building a meaningful community of project managers, service/product developers and innovation managers in the greater Chicago metropolitan area.  We offer opportunities to build skills and share knowledge and foster personal contacts.

The Chicago Entrepreneur Meetup Group

Our Group here on Meet Up is a GREAT way for you to Expose your Business and Personal Philosophies. Join us as we continue to "Connect" with one another and with other entrepreneurs throughout the world.

IxDA Chicago

The Chicago area chapter of the global Interaction Design Association (IxDA) exists to bring together local area designers in all disciplines that overlap with interaction design, whether it be product, digital, space, research, or even business, that strive to create user-centered design solutions. 

Chicago Graphic Design

 

They are designers who meet on a regular basis to discuss issues/topics related to the graphic design field. Any designer from any background is welcome to join.

Networking, problem solving and socializing are reasons to join. If you freelance and need to get out of the house, that's a good reason to join as well.

CoFoundersLab

 

Looking for a co-founder?  CoFoundersLab, a company dedicated to helping entrepreneurs find co-founders can help.  Whether you’re looking to join a startup, seeking someone else to join your venture, or open to either, CoFoundersLab is for you.  CoFoundersLab does the matchmaking process via two FREE services: an online matching platform at CoFoundersLab.com and in-person Meetups. 

 

TWO simple steps to get started connecting with thousands of potential co-founders:

  1. Go to CoFoundersLab.com and create a free online profile.
  2. Join the Co-Founders Wanted of Chicago Meetup group and attend an event. 

Meetups are held quarterly at a minimum.  Good luck!

events

Entrepreneurs Unpluggd

Entrepreneurs Unpluggd is a unique event series created by Stella Fayman and Tim Jahn.  The events seek to create an intimate, engaging environment for entrepreneurs to learn actual lessons from actual experiences. It’s hard to do that with 3,000 people spread out in a giant auditorium at a keynote full of theory and fluff.

We keep the crowd to a manageable size, host our events in intimate theater settings, and seat the speakers right next to you in the audience. As past speakers have said, “it’s the sort of thing you don’t normally talk about in the company history section on your website. It’s a little more intimate.”

 

Illinois Technology Association

The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a driving force behind the growth of Illinois' vibrant technology industry.

ITA’s agenda is simple – grow technology companies by fostering deep collaboration among the diverse industry all in support of developing the ecosystem necessary to foster the success of member companies.All the while tirelessly advocating for the industry to raise the awareness of Illinois as a leading technology community.

Members of ITA benefit from unlimited access to strategic development programs, services, resources and events that support all members of their team.  ITA leverages peer-to-peer collaboration and one-on-one mentoring with leaders from the technology industry to drive companies forward. In addition, ITA’s education, events, Networking, access to facilities at TechNexus and much more are all focused on growing members businesses.

With over 700 member companies, ITA represents organizations from start-up to leader across the industry – software, mobile, internet, consulting, online services, electronics, telecommunications, green and across all industries – business, consumer, financial services, travel, manufacturing, healthcare, and so on – that represent Illinois’ diversity of companies “that

MIT Enterprise Forum of Chicago

MITEF Chicago meets monthly from September to June. The capstone event in June is the Whiteboard Challenge in June. This is a competition for the best new idea.

Technori Pitch

Technori Pitch is a monthly showcase of Chicago’s most innovative companies, pitching their latest technologies. Every month, six companies get:
- 5 minutes to demo their product.
- 3 minutes of moderated audience Q&A.

 

 

Built In Chicago Monthly Meetup

Each month, we introduce you to awesome startups that recently launched. This is not a formal, sit down, educational event-it is more of a "let's have a cocktail, blow off some steam and get up to speed on the latest and greatest in the startup scene".

This is quickly becoming a "must" attend for local investors (I2A Fund, New World Ventures, FireStarter Fund, HPA and more attend!) and entrepreneurs alike. Are you looking to fund a startup? Receive funding for your startup? Hire talent? Meet a co-founder or other entrepreneurs? This is the event in Chicago you must attend.

 

conferences

Social Media Week

Social Media Week's mission is to explore how local and regional societies, cultures, and economies are becoming more integrated & empowered through a global network of communication.

Tech Week

 

Techweek is a multifaceted event targeting a variety of audiences. With over 200 speakers and 70 sessions from the most innovative technology leaders and companies around the world, Techweek is this year’s must attend event. For everyone from Fortune 500 companies to startups, Techweek’s conferences, exhibitions, workshops, and parties come together to create one unforgettable week.
SeedCon

SeedCon, the annual entrepreneurship conference hosted by the Chicago Booth Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital student group, brings together students and entrepreneurs from around the Midwest. Check the SeedCon website for more information.

Startup Weekend Chicago

A highly motivated group of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more meet and in a short 54 hour event work on building projects out. It is very much like anunconference, where the attendees show decide the outcome of the experience.

Chicago Ideas Week

Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) is about the sharing of ideas, inspiring action, and igniting change to positively impact our world. People who come to CIW are artists, engineers, technologists, inventors, scientists, musicians, economists, explorers—and, well…just innately passionate.

For one week each October, CIW brings together some of the world's most outstanding speakers to present their ideas and inspire the innovations of tomorrow at 80+ sessions across the city of Chicago. CIW aims to be the platform for sharing big ideas and making big things happen.

coworking space

1871

A center for digital entrepreneurs to instantly plug into a vibrant community of peers, mentors, partners, and investors. 1871 will be home to hundreds of entrepreneurs, developers, and designers who are building the next generation of successful digital technology companies in Chicago.

Enerspace

Enerspace is a community based shared office space with its first location opening in the West Town neighborhood in Chicago, IL. At Enerspace, you get an urban, hip, inspiring and at the same time completely professional office environment included in one low monthly fee – charged per person per month.

Panzanzee

Panzanzee is Chicago's social enterprise incubator, co-working space, and continuous community. Providing discovery, resources, trust and traction for entrepreneurs and professionals pursuing social impact.

COOP

Coworking space with 5,000+ square feet of open space. Situated just beneath the EL on Franklin Street

Ravenswood Coworking Group

The Ravenswood Coworking Group is a shared office environment for independent workers and entrepreneurs looking to end the “working alone” syndrome, without resorting to leasing an expensive private office.

The RCG office is currently located at Montrose and Ravenswood, steps from the Brown Line El station at Montrose.

OfficePort

Low-cost collaborative work space for small businesses, entrepreneurs, freelancers and the like. OfficePort meets a soaring nationwide demand that is not and cannot be met in the traditional manner.

Tech Nexus

TechNexus is the clubhouse where Chicago’s technology leaders gather. It was developed by private investment and community support and in partnership with the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) to serve as a ‘clubhouse’ and co-working facility to bring technology professionals together, foster relationships and promote a sense of community in Chicago.

Spirtle Space

Spirtle Space is a Chicago based co-working environment that facilitates the birth of business start-ups and continual growth of companies, through providing available resources and a fostering environment for collaboration, cooperation, innovation & success.

multiday competitions

New Venture Challenge

New Venture Challenge (NVC) is one of the nation's premier business competitions, allowing students to act upon their entrepreneurial ideas within a supportive and highly rewarding environment. Just one of the many ways the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship fosters hands-on learning, the NVC program has expanded to include social and global challenges. Since its inception, the NVC has helped launch more than 75 companies, which have gone on to raise more than $230 million in equity capital and create over 1,000 jobs.

 
SeedCon FastPitch

The SeedCon fast-pitch contest, organized in partnership with Built in Chicago, gives 8 idea-stage start-ups an opportunity to pitch in front of some truly great names in entrepreneurship and venture capital. Seven will be chosen by our judges, and one will be the entry with the most "likes" on their video.

The date for this years competition has not been announced yet.

Chicago Lean Startup Challenge

The Chicago Lean Startup Challenge is a 14 week program designed to accelerate startups toward success. It is a competitive program, and they only accept a select group of applicants. They charge a $100 application fee, all of which goes towards cash prizes for the competition. 

They are currently accepting applications.

schools

Tribeca Flashpoint Academy

Founded in 2007 and accredited by ACICS in 2011, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy in the heart of downtown Chicago provides a two-year, career-focused alternative to traditional four-year media arts colleges.

Their five disciplines, including Film + BroadcastRecording ArtsAnimation + Visual EffectsGame + Interactive Media, and Design + Visual Communication are designed to erase the boundaries between the classroom and the real world.  Through a combination of hands-on learning, expert instruction, and an emphasis on collaboration and professionalism, we develop well-rounded, highly skilled professionals who are ready to hit the ground running after graduation.

 
Starter League

 

The Starter League is an in-person school in Chicago that teaches beginners how to code and design web apps in 3 months. In less than a year's time, we have made building digital startups, products, and new careers more accessible than ever. Over 600 students have attended The Starter League in less than 2 years, from over 30 states and 15 countries around the world.

Mobile Makers Academy

An eight week, immersive bootcamp teaching everyone how to build native, mobile applications.

Dev Bootcamp

Dev Bootcamp is a 9 week hands-on intensive training program that teaches web development using Ruby on Rails.

ADMCi

A school dedicated entirely to the craft of user-centered design. Recent graduates,  career-switching professionals, and those who simply manage the design process are perfect candidates.  Our classes combine design thinking with the business skills necessary to succeed. Our next quarter starts in July. Campuses are currently open in Chicago and St. Louis. Come on in. The market needs you.

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