Excelerate: Chicago’s Seed Fund Startup Incubator

March 22, 2010

10:22 am

Seed funding programs have been popping up everywhere the last few years and we have worked with many of them from TechStars, LaunchBox Digital and DreamIt Ventures among others as we help amplify the local startups in those various communities. We are excited to connect with the latest seed funding program in our hometown of Chicago called Excelerate Labs. The program, which runs from June to September, looks to offer $15K to $20K in funding and mentorship throughout the summer months. The program has assembled a group of local and national mentors.

I got a chance to talk to Excelerate Labs Program Director, Sam Yagan, also a founder of OK Cupid, and he shared his Chicago roots and how he basically had to leave Chicago to help ensure the success of his startup endeavors. Now he’s back and living Chicago, though still traveling to New York every week to run his startup. Yagan is hoping that the Excelerate Labs program will keep more companies in the Midwest. Born and raised in Chicagoland, I could not agree with him more. The absence of a seed funding program has been a huge hole in the Chicago startup tech community. It would great to be able to keep more companies in Chicago, further strengthening the Illinois Silicon Prairie.

Since TECH cocktail was founded in Chicago back in 2006 to help the startup and technology community to better connect and amplify what’s happening in the Windy City, we are very excited to see this much needed program in Chicago. We are lending our hand to help Excelerate gather a great inaugural class of startups –  so if you are interested be sure to apply here by April 2nd and tell them you heard about the program from TECH cocktail.

We cannot wait to see the first set of Excelerate Labs companies in sweet home Chicago!

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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