50 influential people in Chicago tech you should follow on Twitter

Written by Sam Dewey
Published on May. 26, 2016
50 influential people in Chicago tech you should follow on Twitter

Ahhh, Twitter. Whether you use it to stay up on the latest news or get your daily dose of Grumpy Cat, Twitter is an amazing tool to keep a pulse on the goings-on on the people and communities you love most. 

That's why — for the second year in a row — we've curated 50 people from Chicago's tech and startup community who we think deserve a follow. The list includes techies, founders, marketers, VCs, reporters and other important community members involved in the local tech scene. You'll find some Chicago tech staples and some newer, up-and-coming faces, all of whom have a significant following and are fairly regular tweeters.

This list is meant as a jumping off point for discovering great people to follow in our community — and is by no means exhaustive. (If we were to include everyone we love to follow ... we'd be exhausted!)

Without further ado, check out our 2016 list of 50 people in Chicago tech to follow on Twitter:

Step One: Login to Twitter

Step Two: Start Clicking Follow



Shrada Agarwal

Twitter bio: designer, of organizations, products, marketing brands, solutions. co-founder of @ContextMedia and JumpStart Ventures. #educationopportunities

Inspiring new wall murals at @contextmedia - reminders to fight for our mission #WhatsYourSuperpower #ChangeTheWorld pic.twitter.com/0YmRbRALnF

— Shradha Agarwal (@shr4dha) April 26, 2016


Tom Alexander

Twitter bio: Chicagoan. COO @1871chicago, formerly w @chicagosmayor ofc. Into fatherhood, Chicago, tech, sports, politics, fitness, TV, social media, and the NYT xword.

Super fun (albeit short) trip to Cali. Congrats to MyChild and @1871chicago and GFE! ¡Hast… https://t.co/RI7NExGwwv pic.twitter.com/vAnVB0ryZo

— Tom Alexander (@tomalexander19) May 5, 2016



Talha Basit

Twitter bio: CTO Dose, Serial Entrepreneur, Chef, Futurist, Runner, host of Geeks Like Us Podcast

check out our new engineering blog at https://t.co/oW31TZp47g! @DoseTeam @dose

— talha f basit (@talhafbasit) May 23, 2016


George Bousis

Twitter bio: Founder, CEO of http://Raise.com - Entrepreneur - Investor - Technologist

Excited to share w/ everyone the new Raise welcome video! https://t.co/4VroblAXx8

— George D. Bousis (@GBousis) May 19, 2016


Jennifer Brandel

Twitter bio: Founder / CEO @wearehearken, Founder @WBEZCuriousCity. Viva collaboration. Dumpling fanatic. Believer in disbelief. Founder @ddppchicago

Office HQ for @wearehearken go from my dining room to Aon Center thanks to @thoughtworks - We feel so welcomed! TY! pic.twitter.com/0zXEgg9s4U

— Jennifer Brandel (@JenniferBrandel) April 27, 2016


Emile Cambry

Twitter bio: Polymath: Founder of @BLUE1647 , @21CYP, @CodeChicago, and @CISCFF.Professor, Filmmaker, Change Agent, sports fan. 2015 @Ebonymag Power 100, SXSW Dewey Awardee

Please check out the @BLUE1647 #join1919 Women in Tech program video of our latest Tech Tea Party https://t.co/YanZV4cQGW cc:@KathrynFinney

— EmileCambry (@EmileCambry) May 21, 2016


Griffin Caprio

Twitter bio: Your rappers favorite dir of engineering at @Enova, raconteur, entrepreneur, watch nerd. Started @chicagoctoforum.

5 years ago I wrote about my dad, chicago and community building for @Technori https://t.co/27bgLlYxrF Time is flying

— Griffin Caprio (@gcaprio) May 7, 2016


Steven Collens

Twitter bio: MATTER. Pritzker Group Venture Capital. 1871. Chicago Artists Coalition. IMSA Fund. Olive.

Future of health will be continuous engagement with the healthcare system via tech like @4DHealthware https://t.co/0pSx3jxXFH @MATTERChicago

— Steven Collens (@scollens) May 19, 2016


Jeffrey Carter

Twitter bio: Former trader, angel investor Co-Founded http://hydeparkangels.com http://westloopventures.com (@westloopv) Trustee @wwiimuseum http://www.nationalww2museum.org

Saturday in the Park (@ Lincoln Park in Chicago, IL) https://t.co/JglCuIenDz pic.twitter.com/abu1A8HAD2

— Jeffrey Carter (@pointsnfigures) May 21, 2016


Jayna Cooke

Twitter bio: CEO & Founder @EVENTup | Contributor @Forbes | Former VP @Groupon | Founder of @Closet_Angels | Facebook: http://on.fb.me/18VHhK3 | http://www.eventup.com

These Are The Most Difficult Tech Jobs to Fill https://t.co/WzBlu14XRf #tech #startup #entrepreneur

— Jayna Cooke (@JaynaCooke) May 24, 2016


Andy Crestodina

Twitter bio: Web strategist and co-founder of Orbit Media (@orbiteers). Speaker and author focused on content marketing and Analytics http://www.orbitmedia.com/contentchemistry …

How to Rank Higher in Google in 5 Minutes https://t.co/B866xcxHF2 ← real, ethical #SEO for #ContentMarketing pros. pic.twitter.com/vHW9qGCSsS

— Andy Crestodina (@crestodina) November 12, 2015


Kristi Dula

Twitter bio: Network Relationship Manager at @PritzkerVC. @1871Chicago. #Chicago. #Tech. @WeAreWearables #WWCHI. @FoodDepository. @ChicagoCares. @TAMU #Aggie.

Congrats to @bforgan and @Hologram_io! '#Chicago #IoT startup raises $4.8 million' https://t.co/M3DBiIuVci via @crainschicago

— Kristi Dula (@KristiDula) May 24, 2016


Amina Elahi

Twitter bio: Innovation reporter at @chicagobluesky. Leisure blogger at @paperplatesblog. Sour Patch Kids & chill. I ask a lot of questions.

Chicago tech office spaces that keep it: https://t.co/2Fkp0I0nDu

— Amina Elahi (@aminamania) May 9, 2016


Fabian Elliott

Twitter bio: Founder, Black Tech Mecca #HybridEntrepreneur #Millenial #Googler Instagram:Focused_Fabe

Definitely a must read. Provides a valuable career and life perspective. Please don’t learn to code https://t.co/fNjzh9NW00 via @techcrunch

— Fabian Elliott (@Fabian_Elliott) May 17, 2016


Jason Fried

Twitter bio: Founder & CEO at http://Basecamp.com . Co-author of Getting Real, Remote, and NYT Bestseller REWORK. Also at http://Instagram.com/jason.fried

Know Your Company lands some well-deserved press in FastCompany: https://t.co/5ch8zG3pA1. Congrats @cjlew23!

— Jason Fried (@jasonfried) May 23, 2016


Stella Garber

Twitter bio: #Entrepreneur/#Russian/#Foodie VP of Marketing @trello, Cofounder @matchist, @EntUnpluggd

arrive to airport 3 hours before flight in Chicago. NBD. https://t.co/AYW7v0Yo9Q

— Stella Garber (@startupstella) May 17, 2016


Melissa Harris

Twitter bio: Vice President @OriginInvestments. Formerly @chicagotribune business columnist. [email protected]

It's early but never thought I'd see this in my lifetime. @Cubs (.786), Sox atop divisions and MLB. pic.twitter.com/xVApN2SQwP

— Melissa Harris (@ChiConfidential) May 7, 2016


Troy Henikoff

Twitter bio: Serial Entrepreneur, Techstars Managing Director, MATH Venture Partners Managing Director. Loves technology, startups, bicycles & interesting people...

Beautiful view! pic.twitter.com/FuqOyykKDL

— TroyHenikoff (@TroyHenikoff) May 24, 2016


Justyn Howard

Twitter bio: CEO Sprout Social (@SproutSocial). New dad. Enjoy brainstorming ideas with smart people, solving hard problems.

44% of people say they're more likely to apply for a job they saw on #social. More on this in @Entrepreneur. #HR https://t.co/WYqzU4KGBq

— Justyn Howard (@Justyn) May 19, 2016


Josh Inglis

Twitter bio: PR and content marketing for startups and innovators. I try to occasionally say funny or insightful things. Our work: http://propllr.com/client-news/ 

9 simple steps to strong content marketing, the Michelin way https://t.co/ST3DwxASpj

— Josh Inglis (@Propllrhead) May 23, 2016


Michelle Joseph

Twitter bio: Founder and CEO of @PeopleFoundry. Love Building Teams, Recruiting, Cooking, Running & Bikram, Traveling and The Cincinnati Bengals

Founders try to convince you of their vision, I get it but that often leads to getting loose with knowable facts https://t.co/huSLIu1pNL

— Michelle Joseph (@MichelleJPF) May 18, 2016



Maria Christopoulos Katris

Twitter bio: CEO of Built In, mother, wife, entrepreneur and wine enthusiast. Connect w/me @BuiltInChicago, @BuiltInLA, @BuiltInColorado, @BuiltInAustin, @BuiltInNewYork

"We Could All Use a Little Homework" by @lefkofsky: https://t.co/2d0c8iERfx

— Maria Katris (@mariakatris) April 13, 2016


Seth Kravitz

Twitter bio: Founder of @Technori. 3x founder with 2 exits to public cos. Writer. Sometimes feel lost, sometimes found. Varies daily. Collector of interesting people.

Me looking at my inbox right now. Thanks for all the nice notes everyone :) #gratitude pic.twitter.com/SR8zrQlxfu

— Seth Kravitz (@SethKravitz) May 11, 2016



Amanda Lannert

Twitter bio: CEO of @JellyvisionLab, @jellyvisionalex. My personal twitter account. Thoughts on biz/start ups/marketing/tech and random hilarity ensue.

Crowd shot from first ever @JellyvisionLab hackathon final presentation. #jellygames2016 pic.twitter.com/QEtuckcPFg

— Amanda Lannert (@AmandaLannert) May 12, 2016


Paul Lee

Twitter bio: CEO & Co-founder @RONIIN, ex-GP at @Lightbank, ex-founding Partner at NBC's Peacock Equity, Adjunct Lecturer at @KelloggSchool, Director at @Lifeway_Kefir

40% of the nominees for best new startup in the @MoxieAwards are @roniin companies https://t.co/8VdpGQrvjS cc: @GetOfficeLuv @pearachute

— Paul Lee (@iPaulLee) May 17, 2016


Steven Lee

Twitter bio: Former eye doctor. Innovator and Inventor. Co-Founder @Opternative

https://t.co/TCJxvu3FTf Top 50 startups to watch in Chicago pic.twitter.com/c7rqP8zwfT

— Steven Lee (@isightdr) January 26, 2016


Eric Lefkofsky

Twitter bio: @LightBank, @Groupon, @Uptake, @EchoLogistics, @MediaOcean, @InnerWorkings

The lobby of Groupon today. Very cool pic.twitter.com/FZsHyD8gUu

— Eric Lefkofsky (@lefkofsky) April 25, 2016


Eric Lunt

Twitter bio: Signal CTO (formerly BrightTag), FeedBurner co-founder & CTO

Trevor and I doing some afternoon coding together at @Signal today. pic.twitter.com/C33Zqq3GVt

— Eric Lunt (@elunt) April 28, 2016


Katy Lynch

Twitter bio: Entrepreneur. Investor. Founder, SocialKaty (acquired @ManifestDigital). #TravelTuesday creator. Scottish. @Radiohead superfan. @CraigUlliott's wifey.

Full house at @Chi_Innovation Celebrating Women In Innovation event! Proud to be an entrepreneur & #womanintech pic.twitter.com/OCJZtBP4Mv

— Katy Lynch (@thekatylynch) May 18, 2016


Mike McGee

Twitter bio: Packers/Cubs/Blackhawks/Northwestern fan - Sports Investor - Gas Can Prophet - Co-Founder @starterleague

Lol Brienne was all like, "yeah I killed Stannis" #GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/xpEWLoL7C8

— Mike McGee (@michaelmcgee) May 16, 2016


Dorri McWhorter

Twitter bio: Accountant...Fashionista...Conscious Business Leader...#FindingDorri

In 1984, 37% comp sci grads were women, today 18%! @victoriaespinel #AICPAGC16 #womenintech #stem #chitechgyrls #WeCanDoBetter

— Dorri McWhorter (@chicCPA) May 16, 2016


Lorena Mesa

Twitter bio: @PyLadiesChicago & @WriteSpeakCode organizer, @devbootcamp guide, @GirlDevelopIt teacher, @SproutSocial dev, 9X @chimarathon.All your code & miles belong to me.

Awesome write up on how to use code in your slides https://t.co/wMnSInp4V2 @lookatmyslides

— Lorena Mesa (@loooorenanicole) May 3, 2016


Rebecca Miller-Webster

Twitter bio: software engineer, conference organizer, & educator. Founder @writespeakcode. CTO @teampolymathic. cupcakes, pugs, sea mammals, & prosecco. she/her


Trained Therapists will facilitate

SELF-CARE & ART THERAPY@WriteSpeakCode Alumna track. https://t.co/7qR6kRJwXE

— Rebecca (@rmillerwebster) May 4, 2016


Julian Miller

Twitter bio: Julian Miller: co-founder @Learnmetrics Ex-high school teacher focused on advancing education, data, and edtech. #educolor @TheImpactEnginejulian miller

Working on beautiful things with brilliant people. @ 1871 Chicago https://t.co/kjD3qhg60N

— Julian Miller (@JulianMiller) May 17, 2016


Matt Moog

Twitter bio: CEO of @powerofreviews and founder of @builtinchicago

This is a fantastic post explaining the nature of Venture Returns https://t.co/WoJhpFGLUQ via

— Matt Moog (@mattmoog) May 18, 2016



Jimmy Odom

Twitter bio: Founder•Chief Experience Officer of @WeDelivr (Acq. 15) @Techstars (14) @ChicagoIdeas Co-Op Ambassador Alum of @Apple and a passionately contagious entrepreneur

My boy @JoshYTsui getting some love from @TechCrunch on his VR photog concept demo. https://t.co/gQSrTZyzcx

— Jimmy Odom (@JimmyOdom) May 16, 2016


Jason Peterson

Twitter bio: follow me into the dark @jasonmpeterson

.@davidbanner dropped by @HavasWWChicago today #annextalks pic.twitter.com/fFx3Rz6LqP

— Jason Peterson (@Jasonmpeterson) April 13, 2016


John Pletz

Twitter bio: Tech reporter, blogger at Crain's Chicago Business.

#Funding news: @ConceptDrop raises $1.1M from @jeffmaters for on-demand graphics labor platform. https://t.co/3Pp1wjcIta

— John Pletz (@johnpletz) May 20, 2016



J.B. Pritzker

Twitter bio: Culture that breeds nimbleness and yields excellence. Values matter too. See also @PritzkerVC

Meet Viv, the next AI personal assistant from the creators of Siri @AKoopersmith @PritzkerVC https://t.co/L6MxaKYE3R

— J.B. Pritzker (@JBPritzker) May 11, 2016


Stacy Ratner

Twitter bio: Reader, writer, aunt, & founder of literacy ventures @OpenBooks and @ChiLiteracyAlli / @Literacenter. Also makes quilts & eats ice cream. Hi!

Hooray for @ChiLiteracyAlli member @ChiDebateLeague, rocking it tonight at @SVPChicago Fast Pitch! #impact pic.twitter.com/P8q7ze9DEW

— Stacy Ratner (@stacyjratner) May 12, 2016


Harper Reed

Twitter bio: I am awesome. Check out this guide to my tweets: http://bit.ly/r1GnK // former CTO @ Obama for America // founder of @modest (acquired by @paypal)

Kim Kardashian has become the Iranian state's newest enemy https://t.co/OyXw2EuEV7

— harper (@harper) May 24, 2016


Beth Santos

Twitter bio: Founder/CEO of @sheswanderful & @witsummit, inspired entrepreneur, global traveler. Fierce advocate of @kelloggschool & @wellesley. Insta/Snapchat: @maximumbeth

Okay, Chicagoans really are that nice.

— Beth Santos (@maximumbeth) May 25, 2016


Ellen Shapiro

Twitter bio: I make apps that make your phone more useful, including @SpotHero and @justhum. Tech here, personal nonsense over at @loudguitars.

.@dasmersingh pointing out that there are >2m iOS apps, but only ~10k watch apps, ~1k tvOS apps, ~30k Mac apps. Lots of opportunity. #UIKonf

— Ellen Shapiro (@designatednerd) May 23, 2016


Rishi Shah

Twitter bio: Founder : Operator : Investor

Everyone on a "track" should read this. Especially recent grads in consulting/banking etc.. who don't enjoy the work https://t.co/A1PbK11NkG

— Rishi Shah (@RishiShah) May 22, 2016


Howard Tullman

Twitter bio: CEO - 1871 & General Managing Partner - G2T3V, LLC

Today in @chicagoinno: "...1871 is also changing the image of one of Chicago's most iconic buildings." https://t.co/ac5cHViDJ2 #1871Chicago

— 1871 Chicago (@1871Chicago) May 23, 2016


Guy Turner

Twitter bio: Early stage venture investor at @hydeparkvp. Big fan of fast growth looking for amazing entrepreneurs to work with.

Nothing says #midwest #tech focus like my 2015 GOOG location map. On the ground @hydeparkvp pic.twitter.com/SD3UPns6Yw

— Guy Turner (@guyhturner) March 30, 2016


Kevin Willer

Twitter bio: husband, dadx3, VC, Xoogler, 1871'er, angel, @ChicagoVentures @1871Chicago @Google @Arsenal

What do these two developers know about Chicago the rest of us don't? https://t.co/XiASw0Bpne via @crainschicago

— kevin willer (@kwiller) May 20, 2016


Jessica Williams

Twitter bio: I help #women #entrepreneurs conquer the first steps of starting new businesses. Also #WiSTEM Co-Facilitator @1871chicago. http://techbizgurl.com/freebie

“But it wasn’t about the money. It was about the freedom.” — @VioletaNedkova https://t.co/cTt4Vq2oV2

— Jessica L Williams (@techbizgurl) May 25, 2016



Jessica Droste Yagan

Twitter bio: Passionate about aligning profit and social good. Impact investor @theimpactengine. Champion of #empathy. Chief Logistics Officer for my family.

How Chicago's Social Entrepreneurs Can Be Profitable and Responsible | US News Opinion https://t.co/vJpCbdf9eF

— Jessica Droste Yagan (@drosteyagan) May 24, 2016


Nicole Yeary

Twitter bio: founder @mstechgroup #mstech /Partner @1871Chicago #WiSTEM /SEO Technologist /#Music=#lifeblood /Member @UN_Women

One of the biggest barriers to getting funding for minority-owned business https://t.co/F3eZiE5nEI by @lydiabreakfast via @FastCompany

— Nicole Yeary (@nicoleyeary) May 25, 2016

Note that this list contains only people, not organizations — many of which are great to follow on Twitter, too. Of course, there are many more techies out there worth following, and we welcome your suggestions here

If you're more of a Twitter list fan, subscribe to our 50 to Follow Twitter list — and be sure to follow us, too: @builtinchicago.

This list was sponsored by Marketwired.

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