Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chicago startup investors, leaders take stock of 2013, prepare for bigger 2014

The leadership team at Chicago-based venture capital tech investor Lightbank has put together a "Startup Guide" to Chicago, while the 1871 coworking center plans to ring in the New Year with a report on some of the companies that have moved up – and out – of the high-profile Chicago incubator and coworking hub.
Investors, advisors and entrepreneurs have expressed optimism that 2014 would build on the entrepreneurial energy 2013 brought to Chicago.
Under incoming CEO Howard Tullman, 1871 in particular hopes to see startups grow out of the space – instead of growing comfortable treading water there.
Nevertheless, Chicago is taking efforts to make itself a home for new generations of entrepreneurs.

Lightbank vice president Marina Dedes and associate Adam London this week released an online guide highlighting the productive autumn of 2013 that saw more than $846 million in high-profile sales of Chicago startups – part of more than $1.2 billion in 2013 sales and public offerings reported by Built In Chicago during the first three quarters of the year.
"The past five years have been a very exciting time for Chicago startups," Dedes said. "We've seen successes such as Groupon, GrubHub and Braintree, which have helped put Chicago on the map as a tech and innovation hub. We created this guide to help entrepreneurs, investors, students and outsiders alike navigate the growing Chicago tech ecosystem."
Meanwhile, 1871 is readying a Jan. 14 event honoring more than 20 companies that have outgrown the incubator.
Tullman has signaled that the New Year would be about results, and not hype – including an "emotionally honest" appraisal for 1871's entrepreneurs about their plans for success, Tullman said. Many may decide to leave after those moments, he added.
In an end-of-year interview with Blue Sky Innovation, he also elaborated on changes coming in 2014 for the Chicago startup community, including the possibility that 1871 would partner with the online crowdfunding service Indiegogo.
The service is listed in the portfolio of G2T3V, Tullman's early stage investment firm.

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