Over the past four years, the city's innovation economy has been surging, raising a record amount of venture capital, yielding billion dollar exits, creating thousands of jobs, sprouting unicorns, and cementing its place, especially within B2B, in the national tech ecosystem. And mirroring this growth has been the evolution of 1871, a co-working space and innovation hub that launched in 2012.
At its inception, 1871 was a 50,000 square foot "experiment" on the 12th floor of the Merch Mart, housing a handful of startups, entrepreneurs, and mentors. Today, the hub officially opened "1871 3.0," a 41,000 square foot expansion on the thirteenth floor of the building. Outside of its role as a co-working space and community for early-stage startups, 1871 also hosts venture capital firms, including Chicago Ventures and Hyde Park Angels, accelerators, such as Impact Engine and Techstars Chicago, development bootcamps, like Designation and Startup Institute, later stage tech businesses, like Learnmetrics and Options Away, and other organizations committed to fostering entrepreneurship in Chicago, like the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In other words, 1871 serves as a snapshot of the ecosystem at large, bringing together representatives of the players and personnel that make up an emerging tech hub.
During this morning's ribbon cutting, 1871 founder J.B. Pritzker remarked that every business that relocates or expands to Chicago visits 1871, reaffirming the notion that the facility does serve as a lens into and a micro-version of the growth that's happening throughout Chicago. So, it's appropriate that, coinciding with the official opening of 3.0, the City of Chicago also announced that 16 Chicago tech companies have recently added more than 700 jobs in the city.
Explained Rahm Emanuel in a statement, "Today both 1871 and Chicago’s tech scene are growing so I want to thank these companies for committing to adding jobs and supporting the incubator where some of them started out. These tech companies are establishing the next generation of Chicago’s economy – an economy that is thriving due to the city’s central location, access to transportation, unmatched talent and business friendly environment."
Companies contributing to this hiring boom include blitsy with 30 jobs, Civis Analytics with 75 jobs, HighGround with 25 jobs, Reverb with 50 jobs, and kCura with 100 jobs.
With the expansion, 1871 now hosts over 500 startups, 1,000 events and works shops annually, and nearly 2,000 people daily. Take a virtual tour of 3.0 below.