Celebrating 1871 as a ‘shrine’ of Illinois, Governor Quinn honors Tullman, alumni companies

by Carlin Sack
January 15, 2014

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                                             (1871 CEO Howard Tullman)

The member companies of 1871 took a short break yesterday from their pong tournaments and MacBook Pros to celebrate the past and future milestones of their tightknit community with Governor Pat Quinn.

Governor Quinn stopped by not only to congratulate the 26 alumni companies on their contributions to the state economy (over 300 jobs and $10 million in revenue), but also to watch his good friend Howard Tullman officially take over the helm as 1871 CEO.

Really though, Tullman has been doing his job as 1871 CEO since November - and has already laid out a clear plan of where he wants to take the 18-month old co-working center.  Changes like stationing crowdfunding platform Indigogo’s Midwest headquarters in 1871 will help young digital companies get increased access to funding.

Stressing again the importance of a central address for digital entrepreneurship, Tullman echoed the mantra that “1871 is the place you go to start your business and Chicago and Illinois is the place where to stay to grow your business.”

Governor Quinn likened 1871 to Wrigley Field, a “shrine” of Illinois that everyone needs to see for themselves. That’s why he himself invested over $2 million into 1871 when it launched in 2012: “American capitalism needs capital,” he said, pointing to J.B. Pritzker’s immense support of 1871’s mission since the beginning.

The support of the state and of local investors helped alumni companies like IT product marketplace MarkITx quickly grow from a team of two co-founders to a team of 14, which was only possible “because of this place, because of the energy and everybody banding together,” CEO Frank Muscarello said.

This community bond will only be deepened as 1871 alumni companies to keep this cycle going by returning to mentor (and invest in!) current member companies, Tullman said. This is what will truly take 1871 to the whole new level that people are now calling 1871 2.0.

Officially stepping over and handing the baton to Tullman to lead this new phase, Interim CEO Jim O’Connor said: “As I look at 1871 2.0, I see 1871 3.0 and 1871 4.0 right in front of me.”

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