Although VC funding for startups in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. is down to 183 deals, from 309 last year, Illinois still maintains the highest rate of investment, due in large part to the Chicago metro area. In fact, Chicago has accounted for more completed deals (290), than any of the states that trail Illinois, the closest being Ohio, with 282 deals completed in 2015. And a good portion of these deals could be attributed in no small part to 1871, a local Chicago digital startup incubator that has been a major reason for the increase in startups. Before they opened their doors in 2012, no one was really talking about the Chicago technology scene.
1871 was recently ranked first in the UBI Global list of top university-affiliated businesses .Over the past few years, Chicago has been building up a robust tech startup ecosystem of its very own. Organizations such as Built In Chicago, the Illinois Technology Association, and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center has helped make networking in the digital tech world more accessible, and more scalable in terms of growth. According to Built In Chicago, between 2004 and 2008, there was an average launch rate of 25 startups per year. In 2012, there were 367 digital startups that launched, constituting an increase of 187 percent from the previous year alone.
In a report done by the investment firm CBRE, it was reported that since 2011, the windy city has created more than 40,000 tech jobs. That’s an average of 10,000 jobs, per year. If you’re thinking about starting a new business, Chicago is the place to be. 1871, located in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, works with over 325 early-stage, high-growth Chicago startups. Their philosophy of cooperation is what makes 1871 such an influential startup incubation space:
“We are a city of builders, makers and doers. Perhaps it’s our work ethic, or the simple pride of making something out of nothing. Either way, it’s what has defined our great city since its birth and rebirth in 1871 – when an entire community came together to build a new Chicago. This is the spirit that has shaped this place. It’s why we’re here – not as a testament to our storied past, but for the promise of what can be. Welcome to 1871.”