Governor Quinn and 1871 Announce Major 25,000 Square Foot Expansion
Move Will Grow Chicago’s Digital Entrepreneurship Hub by 50 Percent This Summer
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman and members of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center board of directors to announce that 1871 will grow by 25,000 square feet this summer. The $2.5 million expansion will grow 1871’s size by 50 percent and is the latest major accomplishment for the innovative co-working space, which just had its second birthday.
“In just two short years, 1871, its member companies and alumni have created more than 1,000 jobs,” Governor Quinn said. “1871 has become a true entrepreneurial hub for our state and its expansion means more career opportunities for the hardworking residents of Illinois. We look forward to a strong partnership with 1871 as we continue to grow our start-up community and support our innovators.”
The expansion project will allow 1871 to house larger companies that have outgrown their current space but want to continue to grow within the 1871 environment. It will also allow 1871 to create, grow or expand incubators and accelerators in the critical areas of food technology, real estate technology, education technology, financial technology, startup engineering and women-owned technology businesses. In addition, the new space will house venture capital firms looking to invest in local companies, and will serve as a launching pad for existing businesses.
"This expansion is important to 1871's commitment to continue raising the bar and providing the most extensive facilities and resources for our member companies," 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman said. "It also confirms the Governor's continued confidence that building smart new technology businesses is the best way to keep adding critical jobs to the Illinois economy."
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is providing the $2.5 million investment as a result of 1871’s strong contributions to job growth. The investment will allow construction to begin this month. The expansion should be complete and open in mid-October.
1871 was launched by J.B. Pritzker and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center in partnership with the State of Illinois on May 2, 2014. Using an initial $2.3 million grant from DCEO, the original space was constructed at an initial size of 50,000 square feet. Additional space was reserved for the expected expansion of 1871 as it grew and that is the space now being added. To date, 1871 has graduated nearly three dozen companies, who collectively have created nearly 400 jobs and raised nearly $40 million in venture capital funding. 1871 has hosted dozens of high-profile visitors, including former British Prime Minister David Cameron, entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban, Steve Case, founder of AOL, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
"1871 has become the most energetic gathering place for the digital community and the best place to grow and expand a startup technology business in Chicago," J.B. Pritzker, Pritzker Group Managing Partner and 1871 Founder said. "Thanks to Governor Quinn, this expansion will help 1871 continue to advance its mission and further define Illinois as one of the world’s fastest growing large tech startup communities."
“This expansion shows that our investment in the next generation of Chicago businesses is paying off,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “The jobs of tomorrow will come from the types of small businesses growing at 1871 today, and this expansion will allow even more entrepreneurs and businesses to locate here, bringing new jobs with them and supporting the city’s economic growth.”
COMMENTS OF 1871 CEO HOWARD TULLMAN
This is a very exciting time for 1871 as we unveil our next major expansion. We’ll have new incubator spaces, new partners and sponsors, new training programs and even some room for our growing family of alumni companies. And you’ll hear more about that in a few moments.
As you know, entrepreneurs live in a fast-forward world where we’re always looking ahead. It’s an occupational disease. Sitting still is never part of the plan because today, if you’re not moving forward, you’re losing ground to the fast followers and copycats who are running as fast as they can right behind you.
The truth is that there’s never a finish line – just the next mountain to climb. And, at 1871, we want to preserve that scrappy mindset and the creative energy, tension and drive that accompany it to keep raising the bar. It’s great to be the largest digital startup hub in the country, but our real goal is to continue to be the best.
To succeed in the business of building new businesses, you need vision, velocity and two more things. You need a steadfast faith and a firm foundation to build upon. We wouldn’t be standing here today without the vision of JB Pritzker and the faith of Governor Quinn. I want to thank them both personally and on behalf of everyone here at 1871 who benefits every day from their continuing efforts on our behalf.
Starting a new enterprise; taking a big chance on a new idea; going where no man or woman has gone before – these are scary things to do. And to succeed, one quality is essential – your faith has to be a lot stronger than your fear. Governor Quinn has been (and will be) called a lot of things – and I’m proud to call him a good friend – but I think that he’s proudest of being called a man of great faith. Having him in our corner and having his agreement today to help fund our expansion is just the latest demonstration of his courage, commitment, and confidence in the future of our state and his firm belief in the continued contribution which 1871 will make to that future. So thank you Governor Quinn.
JB Pritzker couldn’t be here with us today (although he’s here for different reasons almost every week), but I wanted to again acknowledge that – while so many good things seem obvious and even inevitable in retrospect (that’s the beauty of hindsight), it’s a lot tougher to have the generosity and the guts to turn your good ideas into the kind of concrete commitments that it took to get this place off the ground. JB did that for us. Lots of people helped and a lot more every day are anxious to become a part of 1871 now that it’s a roaring success – but way back when – when it counted most – and when no one knew how things would turn out – JB was the one who stood up for the tech community and made 1871 happen. So thank you JB.
One more thank you as well - to the team at The Mart. With 1871, Moto, Braintree, Razorfish, Allscripts, CCC, etc. – you’d think this enormous and historic place had always been front and center in the city’s technology initiatives and Ground Zero for what the Mayor calls Startup City. But the truth is that The Mart team also made a major leap of faith in committing to 1871 (as well as a substantial financial commitment) and we’re grateful for both their past assistance and for all the help they’ve given us in making our newest expansion possible.
And finally, looking ahead, our expansion wouldn’t be possible without the commitments of all of our new partners and the support of our alumni companies who you’ll hear a bit from shortly. I can’t share some of the bigger names with you yet, but I’m pleased to report that (even though today’s our first public announcement), we are pretty much “sold out” in the new expansion space with firm commitments from major new tenants and sponsors. We’ll be adding a number of incubators in Education, Finance, Real Estate, Internet of Things, and Food, among others, which will permit us to build clusters of startups in these critical growth sectors – all of which will be disrupted by new technologies and innovations for years to come. We expect that many of those critical changes and new ideas will come right directly from the member companies at 1871.
I like to say that we are in the business here of engineering startups – building new companies and creating new jobs – but these new incubators and our new space will also help us in another important way – to continue to manufacture “happy accidents” – to support the collisions of serendipity and synergy that our community and the critical mass of talents that we’ve assembled here enables and empowers. Where great wisdom meets wonder and a wealth of experience.
This is an electric and super-energized environment – one that buzzes every day with passion and possibilities – where change is happening constantly – and where the future is being imagined and then invented. But it’s also a place grounded in realism and an appreciation of the hard work, perspiration and perseverance (as well as the not infrequent heartbreak) that it takes to turn ideas into invoices. This is the factory of the future.