Thursday, July 28, 2011
U.N. Press Corps Explores Chicago's Innovation Ecosystem
The first stop was Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy in downtown Chicago. This visually stunning “working lab” aims to erase the boundaries between the classroom and the real world; churning out everything from music videos and video games to graphics that burst into flame – no kidding. The school already has real-world clients with names like Beyonce, Microsoft, Tyra Banks and McDonalds. Tribeca Flashpoint CEO Howard Tullman gave a tour to the throng of fascinated journalists that showcased just how cutting-edge Chicago’s next generation of media arts graduates will be.
Our delegation then headed over to 600 West Chicago Avenue. The former Montgomery Ward catalog warehouse is a perfect example of just how well public and private development can work when partnered up. Thanks in part to World Business Chicago’s efforts, it is now the epicenter of many successful tech ventures in Chicago. “600 West,” as it’s called by its tenants, houses some of Chicago’s most successful companies including Groupon, Lightbank, Infinium Capital Management and Big Ten Network among many others. The tour included a rare sit-down interview with Groupon co-founder (and WBC board member) Eric Lefkofsky.
The day concluded with what was arguably the most forward-looking part of the tour: an introduction to Excelerate Labs. This tech startup incubator/accelerator hosts 10 companies each summer in an intensive 13-week boot camp. In conjunction with established entrepreneurs and investors, these fledgling companies go through a crash course that prepares them for “demo day,” where they each get to pitch their business to a room full of venture capitalists. Already this summer, one Excelerate startup, BabbaCo, has raised $1.2 million in venture capital. The lightning fast introductions by each of the 10 participating startups gave everyone in the room a taste of Chicago’s future tech innovators.
The day ended with a Q & A session between the journalists and Chicago venture capitalist (and WBC board member) J.B. Pritzker who talked about the crucial role that civic engagement plays in moving Chicago forward despite the economic challenges of the past few years. The reporters were excited and engaged, if worn out by the end of the whirlwind tour, and seemed eager to tell positive stories based on what the creative and dedicated people they met gave them to work with.
For more on this story read this blog post by World Business Chicago Creative Director, Jake Trussell, who accompanied the delegation on their tour.
Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy CEO Howard A. Tullman Named to TechWeek 100 List
One of the hottest technology schools in the country has been recognized as one of the TechWeek 100: the 100 most innovative names in Chicago technology. As a leader in technology education, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy (TFA) and President & CEO Howard A. Tullman were honored at the TechWeek Conference and Expo that took place from July 22nd to July 25th.
In addition, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who attended TechWeek’s closing day to sign an important bill relating to innovation and venture capital funding, took time in his remarks to single out TFA’s many contributions to the city and state’s technology initiatives.
TechWeek is the largest Midwest Technology and Innovation Festival with over 2,000 technology professionals, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and technology enthusiasts across ten different industries. The purpose of TechWeek is to give credit to those who are impacting both business and technology on a global scale, from any and all aspects of technology including education and fast-growing companies. Each honoree on the list is chosen carefully through a review of nominations by advisors and the TechWeek team.
Opened in 2007, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy is a digital arts alternative to the traditional four-year university program. TFA’s two-year programs are offered in five areas of study: Film & Broadcast, Recording Arts, Animation & Visual Effects, Game & Interactive Media, and Design & Visual Communication.
ARTFUL ACTION: Supermodel turned media mogul Tyra Banks turned to Chicago and the talented crew at Howard Tullman’s Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy to create the front and back covers of her new book, Modelland — which she unveiled the other day on “Good Morning America.”
For the cover art, the academy team took photos of Banks’ eye and came up with a special version of her “smize,” the term to describe “smiling with one’s eyes,” coined on “America’s Next Top Model.”
Watch the Tyra GMA Video: http://vimeo.com/26726894
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