One common criticism of the Chicago tech community is the city's access to capital. Chicago startups, while having seenrecord VC funding of late, still fall behind cities like New York and Boston when it comes to venture dollars raised.
To help address this issue, in 2014 Chicago tech leaders launched the first ever Chicago Venture Summit, a day-long showcase where 30 Midwest startups were able to connect with over 100 venture funds, many from out of town, and the event attracted industry leaders like the Founders Fund's Peter Thiel and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
At the inaugural event Trunk Club COO Rob Chesney told the investors in attendance to "find a reason to do a deal here," and now looking back a year and a half later, we know exactly how many deals actually got one.
Of the 30 Midwest startups at the 2014 Chicago Venture Summit, 23 companies received investments in 33 rounds of funding, and two companies were acquired. In totals, the startups raised more than $220 million, highlighted by Shiftgig's $32 million, ParkWhiz's $24 million, Geofeedia's $23.5 million, and SpotHero's $20 million.
Rocketmiles was acquired by Priceline for $20 million, and Shoutlet was acquired by Spredfast for an undisclosed amount.
To piggyback off the success of the first event, the Chicago Venture Summit will return on April 21 to help facilitate more relationships between Midwest startups and national investors. The event will take place at Google's Chicago headquarters, and will feature a talk by Steve LaValle, the principal scientist for Oculus VR before it was purchased by Facebook. And Steve Jurvetson, a partner at Silicon Valley venture firm DFJ, who was responsible for the firm’s investments in Tesla Motors and SpaceX, will close the summit with a fireside chat.
Here's a breakdown of the deals made following last year's Chicago Venture Summit, based on data provided by World Business Chicago.
4C: Undisclosed debt financing from Square 1 Bank
Ahalogy: $8M (2 rounds) from Origin Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, CincyTech, North Coast Angel Fund, Vine Street Ventures, Drummond Road Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, and JobsOhio
Apervita: $17.92M from GE Ventures, Baird Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MathVentures and other undisclosed investors.
eSpark: Undisclosed from Reach Capital
Eved: $14.3M from Huizenga Capital Managament, MK Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Merrick Ventures
Geofeedia: $23.5M (3 rounds) from Glade Brook Capital Partners, Blue Vista Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Tim Kopp, David Gupta, Gene Delaney, and Silversmith Capital Partners
Persio: $2.5M from Hyde Park Venture Partners, OCA, Serra Ventures and IllinoisVENTURES
LISNR: $10.32M (3 rounds) from Techstars, Serra Ventures, Rubicon Venture, Intel Capital
Narrative Science: $10M from USAA, Sapphire Ventures, Jump Capital and Battery Ventures
NowSecure: $12.5M from Baird Capital, Jump Capital, Math Venture Partners
Opternative: $8M (3 rounds) Jump Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Chicago Ventures, Craig Duchossois, Sam Yagan's Corazon Capital, and NextGen Venture Partners
OptionsAway: $3.5M from OCA Ventures, Thayer Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Martyn Williams, Don Carty and Howard Tullman
Pangea: $2.8M from undisclosed investors
ParkWhiz: $24M from Jump Capital, Beringea, Baird Capital
Shiftgig: $32M (2 rounds) from Garland Capital Group, KGC Capital, Chicago Ventures, DRW Venture Capital - VC arm of DRW Trading Group - Firestarter Fund, Lakewest Venture Partners, Corazon Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Lakewest Venture Partners, Jose Marin, Fabrice Grinda, Wicklow Capital, Renren Inc
Shoutlet: $5M from undisclosed investors (also acquired by Spredfast)
SpotHero: $20M from Insight Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Chicago Ventures, Draper Associates, OCA Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, 500 Startups, e.ventures
ThinkCERCA: $3.2M from Follett Corporation, Math Venture Partners, Amicus Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital and Chuck Templeton
TrackIf: $5M from Origin Ventures, Grotech Ventures, Chicago Ventures
UICO LLC: Undisclosed from Plymouth Ventures
YCharts: $5.83M from Reed Elsevier Ventures, Amicus Capital, Hyde Park Angels, 12A, Barney Harford, Morningstar, Jumpstart Ventures
Zipnosis: $18.5M (2 rounds) from Arthur Ventures, Omphalos Venture Partners, Waterline Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Fairview Health Services, Ascension Ventures, Safeguard Scientifics
Zipscene: Undisclosed from Fifth Third Bancorp