Thursday, November 30, 2017

Chicago: Incubator for the Incubators

Chicago: Incubator for the Incubators

By Zack Issleib, VP, Commercial Banking, John Sassaris, Regional President

The next crop of business incubators will look different than just a couple of years ago. Find out how they’re reinventing themselves – and the industry.

When entrepreneurs around the world think of business incubators, Chicago is on the short list for dependable leadership and innovation. Incubators have become an industry sector of their own in Chicago, across the nation and globe. Some of the most recent crop of incubator innovations revolves around narrowing focus, applying digital solutions to specialized fields and creating unique public/private partnerships. In Chicago, each of these next-generation business incubation trends continue to cement the city’s reputation as a tech and innovation hub.

The rise of innovation
Business incubators grew out of a big idea in economic development. Similar to the post-World War II practice of “chasing smokestacks” – recruiting new industries to relocate and bring jobs with them – cities started to grow their own industries by supporting startups. 

Chicago was an early adopter in the development of incubators. The Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC), which launched the Fulton-Carroll Center, was created in 1980 and at the time was one of the nation’s largest business incubators in the country. More than 30 years later, the 416,000 square foot facility houses more than 100 tenants in what has become an urban landscape dotted with dozens of like-minded neighbors. 

To continue that innovation, Chicago recently established UI LABS on the former Goose Island site.  It was created to bring top talent from universities, civic organizations and industry professionals to collaborate and pursue innovation in regard to economic development in the Midwest.  The formal launch was less than three years ago, however by the end of 2016, UI LABS had already grown to a $17.6 million operation with 300+ partners across 34 states.  

Growth spurt
More recently, new incubators have opened their doors in Chicago. Icons of the incubator sector have expanded, some more than once, while others have announced new ventures that will be up and running within the year. In virtually every case, the focus is on the industries for which the city has a global reputation.
  • Food and beverage - The city and three non-profits; Accion ChicagoIFF and ICNC; along with two corporate partners, Kellogg Company and Conagra Brands, recently broke ground for The Hatchery. The $34 million facility in East Garfield Park will provide space for approximately 100 startup or early-stage food entrepreneurs when it opens in 2018. They will have access to 56 private kitchens as well as a shared kitchen, co-working and multifunction space, bulk storage and office space.  One of the first tenants, celebrity chef Rick Bayless, will run a workforce training for high school and college students. It is estimated that The Hatchery will support up to 900 jobs within the first five years.  
  • Manufacturing - The manufacturing sector now has its own incubator with the opening of mHUB last March. This is one of Chicago’s first innovation centers for physical product development and manufacturing. The 63,000 square foot co-working space serves a community of product designers and developers, entrepreneurs, engineers and manufacturers, a network of manufacturing mentors, industry experts and investors and provides a source of intellectual and economic capital. mHUB is home to ten fabrication centers and labs, including electronics, plastic fabrication, metals and rapid prototyping. Also housed at mHub will be a micro factory called FuseTM, a new venture by GE that is the first operation as part of the company’s crowdsourcing initiative to create and build innovative industrial products.  
  • Music/Film/Video - Chicago also has a business incubator focused on the development of entrepreneurs in music, film/video and creative industry-focused technologies. Creating new use for an overlooked industrial corridor bordering the Kennedy Expressway in Portage Park, music makers are filling practice spaces and recording studios at 2112(pronounced “twenty-one twelve"). They can also make use of instrument repair facilities and a shop for building out concepts in studio furniture and sound proofing. 2112 is housed inside Fort Knox, a rehearsal space, along with another new incubator called the Hangar, whose early-stage businesses create videos and movies.
Academic incubators
Universities have also emerged as strong partners in the incubator community. As they look toward teaming their research capabilities with a mission of preparing students for rewarding careers, incubators offer experience beyond lab experiments. Gensler, a national design and architecture firm with a growing practice in creating academic incubators – including some in Chicago – says, “They embrace a culture that promotes tenets like “take risks” and “fail fast” while allowing students to develop hands-on entrepreneurial skills – (something) classroom settings often lack.”

One of the Chicago pioneers in creating academic incubators is Illinois Institute of Technology’s University Technology Park (UTP) that has launched dozens of startups since the doors opened in 2005. Among the high profile success stories:  Cleversafe, a service that provides scalable big data storage for major clients in government and business, and Chromatin, the UTP’s first commercial tenant and biotech innovator that helps serve the growing worldwide demand for food, fuel and feedstocks.

In other corners of the city the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center and Northwestern University’s The Garage are turning out new ventures. In addition to the standard offerings of incubators, the Polsky Center offers Innovation Clinics where the university’s law school students work with student entrepreneurs to give guidance on the legal hurdles to starting a business. At The Garage, a pre-accelerator program prepares students for the next stage of their startup, whether that means raising capital from angel investors, working with mentors on business plans or simply networking.

Just the beginning?
The business incubator as a sector of its own is clearly well established, in Chicago and across the nation and globe. But not all succeed. “For incubators to live up to their full economic potential, they need to overcome two pitfalls: they need to provide real value, not just office space, and they need to measure success in more than just outside funding,” says Sramana Mitra – herself the founder of a virtual incubator – writing in the Harvard Business Review. 

The data shows that the Chicago incubator community delivers on that economic potential. The now iconic 1871 in the Merchandise Mart has opened two expansions since its founding five years ago. Today more than 1,000 members are spread across two floors of the Mart. And south of the Loop, UTP is thriving after a dozen years. Both are turning out high profile success stories – some from entrepreneurs with more than one money-making business to their credit. 1871 CEO Howard Tullman says the facilities’ “… members aren’t remotely all first-timers.  There are dozens of serial entrepreneurs working (there).”  

And 1871 may only be the tip of the iceberg. Chicago now boasts more than 20 incubators including MATTER, Bunker Labs, Insight, Impact Engine, TechStar, Wavetable Labs, Sunshine Enterprises and many more.  Some incubators are specific to a certain cause or industry, while others promote their cause as entrepreneurs working together to create new companies.  

So what does this mean for Chicago as a tech hub and home to innovation?  “We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years, says Illinois Technology Association CEO Fred Hoch. “Entrepreneurs are choosing to stay and be part of this community because it’s a strong community now.”  This may just be the beginning to an already vibrant incubator scene in Chicago.

SIRI CREATOR DAG KITTLAUS TOURS 1871 WITH 1871 CEO HOWARD TULLMAN





Wednesday, November 29, 2017

1871 CEO Howard Tullman Keynotes BOMA Annual Meeting







THE ABC’S OF THE FUTURE

            I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak to your group because I believe that we’re on the cusp of some radical changes in how and where we will all be working – driven largely by the introduction of new players and suppliers, new business models, new automation technologies and new connectivity tools – which together are changing the face, the composition, the size and the future of our workforces.

          Sitting, as I do, at 1871 in the midst of 500 new startups and about 2000 entrepreneurs and visitors a day, I feel like I have a ringside seat at the innovation circus and also a perspective informed by 50 years of my own entrepreneurship and by presiding over 1871’s dramatic growth from a startup itself in 2012 to what is now generally regarded as the largest and most successful mega-incubator in the world.

          We’ve grown from 50,000 square feet to 170,000 square feet of space in the Mart – tripled our revenues and become financially self-sufficient, created over 10,000 new jobs, and raised over $300 million dollars in new capital for our companies. The Mart itself has also been transformed by 1871 and it now has more than 11,000 tech jobs in the building and has become the tech center of the city while also attracting major Chicagoland and Illinois corporations which are all seeking to get closer to and more involved in the action.

          When we talk at 1871 to our major corporate partners and sponsors, apart from their constant desire and need to recruit and retain new, young, digital and creative talent, the two largest concerns they have are (1) that they aren’t moving quickly enough to generate and incorporate new ideas and new thinking into their organizations and (2) that the people who built most of their systems and solutions are unwilling or unable to break them and radically change them going forward. I imagine you’ve heard the same conversations in your own shops.

          How and how rapidly these new forces will change everything you do in your own companies isn’t clear, but it is inevitable. These changes aren’t going to be slow and incremental – that’s no longer the way the world works – and, as a result, the sooner you start thinking about them and planning for them, the more prepared you’re going to be and the more likely you are to be surfing the waves rather than drowning in the floods.

          Today, we’re all connected by powerful and fully-portable devices which are increasingly intelligent and sentient – we’re prepared and we’re expected to work anywhere and everywhere – we’re on call – like it or not - 24/7 and 365 days a year – and because these are the requirements of our work world today, we readily extrapolate and extend them well beyond our own day-to-day lives into the broader workplace as well. What’s good for the goose is equally good for the gander. We’re all in a hurry these days and time is the scarcest resource of all.

          And, in fact, once we’ve experienced these hyper-speed services – either as providers or recipients - once we’re an active part and a participant in the “right now” economy – it takes no time at all for us to mentally up our own expectations and anticipate exactly the same levels of speed and service throughout the rest of our lives. Why would anyone wait for anything?

          If Walgreen’s can give me a walk-in, one-minute flu shot, why would I wait three weeks to make a pain-in-the-ass appointment - with my regular doctor’s nurse – to get the exact same shot and pay a lot more for the “privilege”. And, oh by the way, while I’m at Walgreen’s, I can drop off my Fed Ex packages as well since every Walgreen’s is now a Fed Ex hub.

          Everything is basically about the same three things today – speed, access and convenience. We’re all looking for a friction-free future and Amazon is leading the way in so many different ways that it’s simply amazing. Right now, Amazon is installing automated hubs and pick-up depots in schools, condos and office buildings across the country – they are faster, easier and more convenient than your conventional mail rooms – they’re self-service so they’re around all day and all night long without staffing – and, of course, they’re totally free to the users. 

          No business or industry is going to escape these kinds of changes and the smart money is on the people that are thinking today about what they will need to do differently tomorrow in order to not just survive, but thrive in the new mobile and digital economy. The question that you need to be asking yourselves is not simply how do I use some of these new-fangled technologies to do my business better – the critical question is how will I use these new tools to do things for my clients and customers that I never imagined that I could do before.

          I’ll bet you didn’t know this, but UPS trucks almost never turn left. Every morning the computer develops a delivery route for every truck based on the packages in the load and every possible turn is to the right – fewer accidents, no waiting at intersections for left turns – and, best of all, the routing system is saving them 10 MILLION gallons of fuel a year – yes, I said 10 MILLION gallons.

          Tesla isn’t a car with chips. It’s a computer on wheels. Detroit is falling further behind in the battle between steel and smarts every day and the consequences are important for your businesses as well.  At their peak, the BIG 3 auto companies used to employ 1.2 million workers – today the big 3 Tech companies employ around 137,000 people – a workforce reduction of almost 10 to 1 – and they generate substantially MORE revenue than the automakers. It’s not clear that we have jobs today for all those displaced workers or that they’ll need office buildings of the same size and scale ever again. And those are just the problems facing the car guys.

          Hospitality isn’t much better. Marriott employs 226,000 people and has a market cap today of about $34 billion. Hilton is about 2/3rds of Marriott’s size in terms of market valuation and has roughly 169,000 employees.  Airbnb has a market cap of $31 billion – 50% greater than Hilton and closing in on Marriott. How many employees does Airbnb have? Remember Marriott is 226K and Hilton is 169k – Airbnb has less than 4000 employees – about 1/100th of the size of its two biggest rivals combined.

          UBER isn’t a better taxi cab company – it was a new two-way marketplace connected by a powerful new platform that completely changed the game. One active UBER vehicle at full utilization replaces roughly 7 private cars in any major urban setting. Think about the implications for the parking facilities in your buildings. Our own cars are used on average about 5% of the time – the remainder of the day they are sitting empty somewhere – taking up space, costing us money, and slowly wasting away. And we’re seeing more and more Divvy bike utilization in the city every quarter.   

          These changes (which are coming at a faster and faster pace all the time) will have significant and disruptive impacts on the workplace and on the demands that the users of your services and facilities will be making on you and your team. It’s not going to be enough to say that your people are fairly responsive and pretty quick – you need to have a plan that is focused not on how fast you are today, but on how fast your business is getting faster and becoming more adept and – most importantly – how capable you are of anticipating and exceeding the needs and requirements of your tenants and consumers. You need to learn to skate to where the puck is headed, not chase it down the ice.

          It’s a little bit like running ahead of a steamroller – on any given day, you can beat it, but you better not sit down and take a break to catch your breath because the thing will roll right over you. Think about this – the rate of change today is the SLOWEST that it’s going to be for the rest of our lives. Tell that to your kids. At 1871, we say that we’re playing the whole game in double overtime and that’s what it feels like every day when you’re trying to keep up with your customers and your competitors.

          The expectations of all customers are perpetually progressive, and the movement is always up and to the right. What was great yesterday – even things that were miracles of speed and service – are just “so whats” today and business as usual. It’s increasingly a “what have you done for me lately” world and – if you’re not meeting the demands, you can be sure that there are plenty of others waiting in the wings to step in and fill your shoes. The idea of parity – that “we’re no worse than the next guy” is being blown up by new entrants with new business models that aren’t held to the same old standards and aren’t doing business in the same old way. Traditions these days are – by and large – just excuses offered by people who don’t want to change.

          Now I understand that almost no one likes change, but it’s really not change that’s the problem. Changes – when they come – take place in an instant. It’s overcoming the resistance to change – the reluctance to leave behind the old ways – to abandon the things that have worked “pretty well” for you in the past – that keeps us from moving forward. But here’s the hard news – what worked for us in the past – simply won’t cut it in the future – things aren’t going to be a little bit different – the shifts in the ways we do business will make a lot of the old methods and programs – not simply slower or less effective – but essentially meaningless.  And, if you don’t do it to yourselves, someone else will promptly come right along to do it to you. So, now’s the time to get started.

          We use a simple approach – it’s basically asking 5 questions about your business.

          WHO are you serving?

          WHAT are you offering them?

          WHEN AND WHERE are you providing your products or services?

          HOW are you providing those products and services?

It couldn’t be easier, but too few companies today are taking the time to pay attention to these simple questions and to honestly ask themselves how they’re doing in these various areas? That’s the first step in the process. Eat your own dogfood and see how it tastes.

          The second step in the evaluation and audit process is also pretty straightforward. Since you can’t be “all things to all people” and you don’t want to spread yourself “a mile wide and an inch deep”, you have to ask yourself what is your competitive advantage. What do you do best or at least better than the rest? Maybe it’s your customers, your distribution systems, your size and scale, special expertise or intelligence, your brand, reputation or network, or maybe it’s your platform.

          But we know for sure that it can’t be all of these things and so you’ve got to pick your spots and take your best shots and double down on the areas where you’ve got an edge. All the rest are just commodities and they’re not gonna help you win. But remember that these are also moving targets and changing all the time. I often hear about pocket listings and competitive/confidential intelligence, but I can tell you that in the new aggressively transparent digital world, it’s only a matter of time before everyone you know will know everything you know. Not only will they know what you’re doing, they’ll know just how well you’re doing it and – here’s the real rub – if you’re not killing it, doing the absolutely best job that you can, then they’ll find someone else who can do it better or faster or cheaper or more easily or globally, etc.  You get the idea.

          Customers and clients are increasingly fickle folks these days and their definition of loyalty is also new. Today, loyalty doesn’t mean much more than I haven’t seen anything better – YET. I realize that that’s not encouraging, but that’s life in the fast lane. No one really owns the customers or clients any more…you can own the moment and the experience, but you have to deliver the goods each and every time.

          So how do you compete successfully in a world of more options, more competitors, fewer workers and a finite base of clients. I break it down into what I call the ABCs of the Future. Don’t worry – my alphabet is pretty short.

          A & B are for Amenities and Benefits. It’s an absolute arms race and you need to be aggressively in the game. But it’s not just about shiny bells and whistles any more – it’s about things and offers that add real value – save time and money – increase productivity – help your clients attract new talent, etc. It’s about making your properties stand out in a crowded and noisy marketplace.

          We’re seeing this with malls already. There are about 1000 malls in the U.S. and half the aggregate value of those properties is wrapped up in ONLY 100 of them. The other 900 malls are in trouble. Retail chains are also over-stored and so they’re all trying to cut several hundred locations from their inventory. As they review their properties, they are looking at the sales numbers for sure, but also because they’re concerned about branding, they want to be in the malls that matter – the malls that have something more to offer – that have a presence and a personality. Places that still pull people in.

          Your businesses aren’t going to be much different. I brought some materials today from an 1871 company called LISA which provides easy tenant access to all kinds of onsite personal services. It’s like an automated concierge service for office buildings and it’s just one good example of what’s coming down the line. Another 1871 company, Sparkl, provides on-site, on-demand waterless car washes for a clean car wherever you are.  We have other businesses building better systems for package tracking; for automated replenishment of basic supplies and staples; and for automated access control and security.  

          C is for Community. It’s easy to think of your properties as consisting of an enormous number of individual tenants and clients and that’s certainly part of the job. I’ll talk about data in a moment and the need for what I call “mass customization” which is essential today. But, for the moment, I want to suggest that you look at ALL of the occupants in each of your buildings as members of a connected community – not simply in a negative way – like when the air conditioning isn’t converted over soon enough each spring and it’s a sweat fest – but as a positive population which you can help combine and connect in order to make your properties into special places. Centers for charitable events, places to gather after hours to talk politics, hubs for adult education and for lifelong learners, etc.  

          Social media – for better and for worse – has made us far more connected than ever (we know other people in our buildings these days that we would never have met in a lifetime before) and you need to build on and capitalize on those channels and connections to help distinguish and differentiate your buildings. It’s more work, but you’ll be surprised how many volunteers will turn up to help you in the process. It’s a chance to see a lot of people when they’re not in pain or being a pain in the ass. In the future, community will be as important a component as concrete in building the lasting connections to your clients that will make the difference.  

          D is for Data.  Data is the Oil of the Digital Age. Your job is to use the enormous amount of information which is now available about just about everything that’s going on in your buildings to design and develop systems to make it easier and less expensive to deliver better and more extensive products and services to your clients. It’s a world where you can actually be all things to each person because we have the tools today to build highly-individualized offerings to millions of people in minutes.

          We call this idea “mass customization” and frankly it means that large-scale, general, and basically boring communications of any kind are relics of the past. If a million different vendors from all across the country know my shoe size and my sushi preferences, your “one-size-fits-all” tenant letters and boilerplate solutions aren’t going to get the job done. I want you to make an investment in getting to know me or I’m going to find someone else and someplace else that will.  These things take time and effort, but they aren’t about money – they’re about attention and engagement – and those are the new dimensions of connection in the digital world. If I’m not listening or interested, it doesn’t really matter what you have to say.

          And E is for Experiences and Environments.

          In the new world, no one wants to own much of anything. Ownership and possessions are out; utility and experiences are in. It’s about agility, flexibility and mobility and it has implications which we are just beginning to understand about how workplaces will establish and broadcast their newly-appended identities - how they will signal to the clever and the initiated that this is the kind of place where they need to be and where they need to locate and build their businesses – and how they will assure those same people that – as solid and substantial as things may seem – they’re ready to change and upgrade them in an instant if the need arises in order to keep raising the bar and providing the best tools, technologies and resources possible.

          I wish I could tell you that even 1871 has cracked the code on these new questions, but all I can say for sure is that what really matters in the end is not the bricks-and-mortar or the concrete – it’s the culture you create and that you consistently reinforce – that will determine your success or failure. This business of taking care of people is all about a moment of inspiration and creation – followed by a lifetime of maintenance – and that’s what determines who lasts and who succeeds even in times of radical change.

          At 1871, we’ve built an air and an electric aura of tension, excitement, enthusiasm, and energy that permeates the place and one that’s apparent from the moment you enter our doors. We believe in hard work, not wishful thinking, and it shows. You get what you work for, not what you wish for.

          And we believe in one more thing as well…it’s not big money or fancy cars or expensive houses that will ultimately make us happy … it’s finding something to do every day that we can be enthusiastic about.  There’s no greater pleasure or privilege. Thank you.



Evanta CIO Conference Presentation by 1871 CEO Howard Tullman





Giving Tuesday


Changing The World, One Entrepreneur At A Time

Changing The World, One Entrepreneur At A Time

By Adam Stanley, Global CIO and Chief Digital Officer & Howard Tullman, CEO, 1871

It All Started With An Entrepreneurial Vision

On May 2, 2012, 1871 was born and the Chicago technology entrepreneurial community has never looked back – and never looked better.
Now led by CEO and visionary Howard Tullman, the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) opened 1871’s doors after only five months of construction in a raw space on the 12th floor of The Merchandise Mart. Welcoming 60 member companies and 145 entrepreneurs. The original 1871 space was the seed that would grow into the massive collaborative co-working enterprise that it is today. Now companies of all sizes are flocking to 1871 just to be part of the ‘entrepreneurial’ digital scene in Chicago.
Providing Something for Everyone

1871’s environment is all about innovation, collaboration, evolution, and growth. As one of the largest technology incubators in the world, it caters to all different types of co-working space to accommodate the increasing needs of its enterprising member companies
·         Traditional space where one can rent out a desk or table
·         New classrooms and individual private office spaces
·         41,000 additional square feet of new printing and consulting labs, virtual reality spaces, conference rooms, podcast studios and more.

When a company works at 1871, they get ongoing access to events, workshops, mentors, universities, venture funds, shared experiences, and so much more. Some notable speakers who have visited 1871 include former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright; AOL Co-Founder, Steve Case; U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith; Founder and CEO of Khan Academy, Sal Kahn; and former Senior Advisor to President Obama, David Axelrod, to name a few.
Countless networking opportunities abound within the 1871 ecosystem as well. With two floors of continuous and contiguous space, happy accidents happen all the time, enabling people to really interact with and learn from one another. Aside from entrepreneurial companies working side-by-side and leveraging each other’s expertise on any given day, the more than 500 mentors who come to work with member tenants love learning about the new innovations and technologies. Major corporations including Ford Motor Company, Bosch, and State Farm Insurance come to 1871 because they want to be exposed to new entrepreneurial ideas and opportunities they can’t find within their own organizations. On the flip side, young entrepreneurial companies love to work with these mentors and organizations because they represent not only clients, but investors as well.
Key to the success of this collaborative co-working environment is the quality and integrity of 1871’s member companies. To be considered as a member, companies must be B2B and they must possess the five “P’s: passion, preparation, perspiration, perseverance, and principles. Startups don’t get built overnight. Rather, 1871 companies embody a similar work ethic and culture. According to Howard Tullman, “companies at 1871 don’t get what they wish for, they get what they work for.” They work hard, remain focused, are intellectually curious, and possess the genuine desire to make a difference in today’s world. And if anyone should know what a successful startup looks like, it’s Howard. He’s been personally involved with several profitable ones that have also made their start at 1871, including ConceptDrop, Thyng, Indiegogo, and HighTower Advisors.
From leveraging ideas to attending workshops to meeting with mentors, startup companies that would otherwise be ‘flying solo’ benefit across the board. At the end of the day, 1871 does whatever it takes to ensure its member companies are provided with the resources and tools necessary to be successful in this quickly changing world.
Pursuing Dreams Together Can Be Contagious

Once a company has matured enough, they can, in essence, ‘graduate’ from 1871. Companies that have graduated to date include SpotHero, Caremerge, Rocketmiles, ThinkCERCA, and Pangea, to name a few. From the shared learnings to the electric energy to the overall culture, companies say they love everything about this space. After all, being in an entrepreneurial environment where everyone is pursuing their dreams can be contagious.

EX3 Labs

When EX3 Labs was launching, Founder Adam Wisniewski knew 1871 would be the perfect launchpad for the company. As a startup, the company received mentorship on everything from sales to marketing to business development – really everything they needed to know to get the company off the ground. In addition, 1871’s energy was contagious – just being able to walk into a space every day with such an incredible amount of energy was vital to EX3 Labs’ business. But above all else, the networking opportunities proved to be invaluable as the company was able to showcase its innovative technologies – and ultimately form partnerships – with other member companies, including several large enterprises that are always looking to learn from smaller, more agile companies like EX3 Labs.

SpotHero

As one of the very first companies at 1871, Co-founder and CEO of SpotHero Mark Lawrence is all too familiar with the tremendous benefits of this shared ecosystem. According to Mark, “It’s hard to describe the magic that happens when everyone involved in startups is all in one place. With so many companies working on different issues, it’s nice not having to reinvent the wheel on everything. We can and we really do leverage each other.” What he’s especially loved about 1871 is that the space has legitimized startups in Chicago. For the first time, starting a company is acceptable and even ‘cool.’
1871 Today

In only five years, 1871 has expanded from 50,000 to 150,000 square feet of space, created more than 7,000 jobs, fostered the growth of 150 alumni companies, continues to support 500 companies and thousands of entrepreneurs and helped transform The Merchandise Mart by adding thousands of tech jobs in the historic building.
1871 is currently the largest tech incubator in the world. No other location has been able to bring this many entrepreneurs and companies, major universities and schools, venture funds, and different countries together like this in one place – to not only develop and grow, but thrive. 1871 offers thousands of events and workshops throughout the year, as well as more than 500 mentors who work with the individual companies on a daily basis.
The above is an excerpt from the Fifth Edition of the Occupier Edge. To learn more about the startup space and read other startup success stories, download the full magazine here.

 Adam Stanley provides strategic and operational direction for Cushman & Wakefield’s client facing and colleague technology systems and infrastructure across all global business lines. Drawing on his more than 20 years of industry experience and as an integral member of the global executive team, Adam is a change agent with proven success driving growth, performance, talent retention and innovation.

 Howard A. Tullman is the CEO of 1871 and the General Managing Partner for the Chicago High Tech Investment Partners, LLC and for G2T3V, LLC – both Chicago-based early-stage venture capital funds which has invested in more than 25 Chicago-based startups in the last two years.



Video Shoot for BOSCH at the Chicago Connectory with 1871 CEO Howard Tullman











New INC Magazine Blog Post by 1871 CEO Howard Tullman

Are You Really Up to Speed?
You need to make sure that your company is moving at the pace of change. That means never being comfortable with the current rate of change--because it keeps getting faster.



 CEO, 1871@tullman






We're on the cusp of some radical changes in how and where we'll be working-- driven largely by the introduction of new players and suppliers, new business models, new automation technologies and new connectivity tools. Together, they are changing the face, the composition, the size and the future of our workforces.
How, and how rapidly, these new forces will evolve in your own companies isn't clear, but it is inevitable. And don't expect slow and incremental change- that's no longer the way the world works. The sooner you start thinking about them and planning for them, the more prepared you're going to be and the more likely you are to be surfing the waves rather than drowning in the floods.
Today, we're all connected by powerful and fully-portable devices that are increasingly intelligent and sentient. We're prepared and we're expected to work anywhere and everywhere-- on call, like it or not, 24/7/365-- and because these are the requirements of our present work world, we readily extrapolate and extend them well beyond our own day-to-day lives into the broader workplace as well. We're all in a hurry these days and time is the scarcest resource of all.
And in fact, once we've experienced these hyper-speed services either as providers or recipients, once we're an active part and a participant in the "right now" economy, we soon mentally up our own expectations and anticipate exactly the same levels of speed and service throughout the rest of our lives. Why would anyone wait for anything?
If Walgreens can give me a walk-in, one-minute flu shot, why would I wait three weeks to make a pain-in-the-ass appointment with my regular doctor's nurse to get the exact same shot and pay a lot more for the "privilege." And, oh by the way, while I'm at Walgreens, I can drop off my FedEx packages as well since every Walgreens is now a FedEx hub.
No business or industry is going to escape these kinds of shifts and the smart money is on the people thinking today about what they will need to do differently tomorrow to thrive in the new mobile and digital economy. The question that you need to be asking yourselves is not simply how do I use some of these new-fangled technologies to do my business better-- how will I use these new tools to do things for my clients and customers that I never imagined that I could do before. For example, a Chicago startup called LISA has an app that provides easy tenant access to all kinds of onsite personal services such as hair and nail care. It's like an automated concierge service for office buildings and it's just one good example of what's coming down the line.  

These ever-faster changes will have significant and disruptive impacts on the workplace and on the demands that tenants will be making on their landlords. It's not going to be enough to say that you are fairly responsive and pretty quick-- you need to have a plan that is focused not on how fast you are today, but on how fast your business is getting faster and becoming more adept and, most importantly, how capable you are of anticipating and exceeding the needs and requirements of your customers. You need to learn to skate to where the puck is headed, not chase it down the ice.
The expectations of all customers are perpetually progressive and the movement is always up and to the right. What was great yesterday-- even things that were miracles of speed and service-- are just "so whats" today. It's increasingly a "what have you done for me lately" world and if you're not meeting the demands, you can be sure that there are plenty of others ready to fill your shoes. The idea of parity, that "we're no worse than the next guy" is being blown up by new entrants with new business models that aren't held to the same old standards and aren't doing business in the same old way. Traditions these days are really just excuses offered by people who don't want to change.
Now I understand that almost no one likes change, but it's really not change that's the problem. Changes when they come take place in an instant. It's overcoming the resistance to change, the reluctance to leave behind the old ways and abandon the things that have worked "pretty well" for you in the past, that keeps us from moving forward.
The hard news is that what worked for us in the past simply won't cut it in the future.  Things aren't going to be a little bit different because the shifts in the ways we do business will make a lot of the old methods and programs essentially meaningless.  And, if you don't do it to yourselves, someone else will promptly come right along to do it to you. So, now's the time to get started.

Customers and clients are increasingly fickle folks and their definition of loyalty is also new. Today, loyalty doesn't mean much more than I haven't seen anything better-- YET. I realize that that's not encouraging, but that's life in the fast lane. No one really owns the customers or clients any more...you can own the moment and the experience, but you have to deliver the goods each and every time.

Catching Up with Ambassador Heyman at the Chicago Club Luncheon


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