In bringing entrepreneurs from around the world to Chicago, we have found that this city has one of the most collaborative and diverse entrepreneurial communities in the world.
With 35 of the Fortune 500 headquartered in the city and a host of satellite offices for many of the world’s biggest tech companies, Chicago has the bones of a thriving business hub. An infusion of VC cash, government initiatives, and a community of veteran entrepreneurs are building on this foundation to create a thriving startup ecosystem. The Chicago Technology Plan outlines 28 linked initiatives, including digitizing government services, broadband infrastructure, and innovation-friendly regulations, all designed to revitalize the city and transform it into a leading innovation hot spot. Venture Capitalists are investing in Chicago as well. Inflows of VC funds into Illinois grew 90 percent between 2016 and 2020, among the highest rates in the nation. The number of Chicago-based investors has also shot up in recent years. Lightbank, Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, and 1871, which offers Black entrepreneurs funding and support as they build their businesses, are all based in the city. The success of locally grown startups, including Braintree’s acquisition by PayPal, IBM’s purchase of Cleversafe and Merge Healthcare, and Groupon’s IPO and subsequent strength, have also created a pool of experienced entrepreneurs willing to give back to the ecosystem and help nurture up-and-coming entrepreneurial talent. Chicago hosts a variety of tech industry events, including TECHSPO and ThinkChicago, which connects talent from Chicago’s many universities to opportunities in the tech ecosystem. Chicago Venture Summit brings together investors around the country to explore opportunities in Chicago and the MidWest.
Ecosystem by the numbers
AI, Big Data & Analytics
Reasons to move your startup to Chicago
Featured Articles from
Are you interested in diving deeper into this ecosystem? Drop us a message. Our Ambassadors and Partners can plug you in.