The Digital Technology Startup Ecosystem in Chicago
An Online Community for Digital Entrepreneurs and Innovators
Chicago has a long history of commitment to
innovation, education and commerce
Nearly $500B gross
regional product (GRP),
400+ major corporate
HQs (27 Fortune 500),2
major global financial
exchanges, 60 public &
261,000+ students, 500+
Source: World Business Chicago and Built in Chicago 2
a dedicated and well-rounded ecosystem
Non Profit/Civic Corporate HQ
which has exploded with funding and support
resources in the past few years
2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012
Source: New World Ventures 4
called “home” by globally recognized leaders
Rishad Tobaccowala is the Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at Vivaki and is one of the
most influential thinkers in the North American advertising industry. Named by
BusinessWeek as one of the top business leaders for his pioneering innovation (2005), and
TIME magazine as one of five “Marketing Innovators.”
Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofksy are the co-founders of MediaBank, Echo Global
Logistics, InnerWorkings and Groupon who more recently started an investment fund,
Lightbank, a $200M fund actively investing in Chicago-based startups.
Jason Fried is the co-founder and President of 37 Signals, co-author of “Rework”, and is
invited to speak on entrepreneurship, design, management, and software all around the
globe. 37signals’ products include Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, etc. They also developed
and open-sourced the Ruby on Rails programming framework.
Howard A. Tullman serves as President and CEO of Flashpoint Academy, Chairman and
CEO of Experiencia, Inc., and President Emeritus of Kendall College, in Chicago. He is
General Managing Partner for the Chicago High Tech Investors, LLC and a Director of The
Cobalt Group and Passage Events in Seattle. He is also a Trustee of WTTW and an Adjunct
Professor at Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Harper Reed was recently appointed CTO, Obama for America, is the former CTO of
Threadless, founder of CTAAlerts.com, Supertrackr.com, ProximityCheckin.com and
with a developing co-working center
“Four leaders of Chicago's technology
community, including billionaire
venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker, are
spearheading an effort to launch a
Chicago technology center for
startups. The goal is to have the
center open by the end of the first
quarter of 2012.” – Chicago Tribune
dedicated to supporting digital companies across
multiple segments and industries
who collectively generate >15,000 jobs in Chicago
Source: Built in Chicago Top 50 Digital Employer Listing 8
and contribute significantly to the growth of the
Source: New World Ventures, Capital IQ, VentureSource 9
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