Justyn Howard: Good Things Ahead for Chicago Startup Scene [VIDEO]

January 28, 2014

9:00 am

In the past year alone, the Chicago startup scene has gained a lot of attention for having increased its voice in the national tech discussion. With more successful acquisitions and IPOs, enthusiasm for startups has led to the creation of a more supportive community than was previously available. Justyn Howard thinks that there’s really nowhere to go but up for Chicago’s startup future.

Howard is the founder and CEO of Sprout Social, which offers social media management and analytic tools. When it comes to describing the Chicago startup scene, he’s definitely got some authority. Howard founded Sprout Social back in 2010 when – according to him – the Chicago startup scene was really just starting to pick up, and he successfully led the company in securing $11 million in funding during its early phase. Nowadays, the social media management platform is used by companies like Yahoo!, McDonald’s, and Pepsi.

In the last three years, Howard has seen a dramatic change in the Chicago startup scene, noting the discrepancy between the resources available to entrepreneurs between then and now. From the amount of available capital to the knowledge base, Chicago has developed into a more supportive startup ecosystem. Indeed, with the opening of startup hubs like 1871 in 2012 and top accelerator programs like the former Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago), we’ll certainly see a lot more startup activity from Chi-Town, with more companies being formed and continually growing.

In addition to talking about Chicago’s startup scene, Howard shares what mistakes startups are making in their social media strategy, as well as tips on how to approach the startup pitches. Watch it here.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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