Tuesday, March 24, 2015




1871 Member Companies ClearContact and ParkNav will Benefit from the Mentor-Driven
Four-Month Program Focused on Digital Works 

CHICAGO (March 24, 2015)—1871, Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital startups, and Microsoft Ventures are proud to announce the selection of 1871 member companies ClearContract and ParkNav to participate in the digital work-themed Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Seattle, Washington this spring.

The Microsoft Ventures team hosted open houses around the country with the purpose of attracting digital startups to apply for the four-month accelerator program. Leveraging the extensive partnership between 1871 and Microsoft Ventures, they hosted a Chicago open house at the digital startup incubator in The Merchandise Mart. During this open house, seven local startups had the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a sold-out crowd of investors, entrepreneurs, and the Microsoft Ventures team. This, according to the team, was the best-attended event nation wide, with a greater outcome than all other open houses combined.

“Our primary goal at 1871 is to help Chicagos best digital designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs succeed in creating sustainable businesses,” said 1871 CEO, Howard A. Tullman. “With partners like Microsoft Ventures, we are able to provide exciting opportunities that deliver meaningful, long-term benefits to our members as well as the larger Chicago tech community.” 

The focus of our accelerator program is to help entrepreneurs build great companies, said Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Seattle Director, Mukund Mohan. Leveraging our partnerships, we are able to provide direct support to the best entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country, and the world. As a startup hub, 1871 embodies Chicagos natural drive to innovate in the digital age and Microsoft Ventures’ determination to foster great technology in business.

The Seattle Microsoft Ventures accelerator program kicked off on March 16, and will end on July 16 with a demo day. With a digital works theme, the accelerator will focus on enterprise solutions, productivity, and B2B solutions while implementing Microsoft technology to the participating businesses. Besides Chicago-based ClearContract and ParkNav, companies from Michigan, New York, California, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, and Canada are also part of the program. 

"We could not ask for a better partner in growing and scaling our business than Microsoft Ventures, said ClearContract COO, Kyle Cushing. Were extremely excited to collaborate with the other fantastic companies in the program, and also to leverage the breadth of talent within the Microsoft ecosystem to help us bring ClearContract to businesses across the globe."

Being selected for the program means not only that we are able to work together with other amazing companies and talented people, but also receiving tutelage from the folks at Microsoft to help us take ParkNav to the next level,” said ParkNav VP of Business Development, Gerhard Boiciuc.   

ClearContract is a technology that makes it painless to distribute, negotiate, sign, file, and manage contractual agreements so that dealmakers can eliminate risk and spend more time closing.

ParkNav is a technology that helps drivers reduce the time they spend searching for available street parking. The technology is predictive and uses big data, crowdsourcing, and machine learning to help drivers save 50 percent of their search time and reduce pollution in our cities.

About 1871
1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (The Starter League, CodeFellows, Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation, and the Startup Institute), and the state's leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group, MATH Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the citys entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crains Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

About Microsoft Ventures

Microsoft Ventures is a global initiative to help entrepreneurs build great companies. We work with startups at every stage of maturity to provide the tools, resources, and expertise they need to succeed. The initiative is broad-based, and includes a community program, accelerators, and a seed fund. Our approach helps startups scale their business, bring innovative services to market and reach new customers.

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