Chicago is known for its harsh winters, but it’s clearly a hospitable environment for marketers–and blows away among the different metropolitan areas seeking to compete.
“We don’t have all of it, but we are quite close,” says Betsey Zieler, CEO of the local tech incubator 1871, which is home to almost 500 early-degree virtual startups.
For starters, Chicago has a numerous commercial enterprise culture–no single zone drives greater than 14 percentage of the neighborhood economy–and its tech scene has been growing in current years. That’s helped Chicago land at No. 36 on Inc.’s list of Surge Cities, an index that measures the U.S. Hubs with the maximum financial momentum.
On May 21, Inc. Is web hosting the primary prevention of its -city Fast Growth Tour in Chicago. The occasion will include one-on-one coaching classes, networking possibilities, and keynote speeches proposing Ripple Foods co-founder Adam Lowry, RxBar co-founder Peter Rahal, fashion designer and CEO Kendra Scott.
Besides deep-dish pizza, right here are 5 other motives marketers ought to check out Chicago and its startup-pleasant atmosphere:
1. Diverse and healthy business weather
Chicago is home to 12 Fortune 500 groups, including Boeing, Conagra Brands, and Motorola Solutions. Startups also contribute to the city’s economic variety and fitness, in component because their founders regularly reinvest in their network following a go out. Prominent resident entrepreneurs who have stuck with Chicago include Rahal, who bought his protein-bar startup RxBar to Kellogg’s in 2016 for $six hundred million, and the co-founders of the digital coupon website Groupon went public in 2014, raising $192.Five million. Two of Groupon’s 3 co-founders, Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, have new Chicago-based totally projects: Lefkofsky launched Tempus, a medical statistics agency that also has a library of scientific and molecular information, and Keywell started Uptake, a predictive analytics software program maker for clients within the mining, aviation, rail, power, retail, and creation industries.
2. Midwest hub
Locating within the foremost midwestern town has its benefits. Just ask Katlin Smith, the founding father of Simple Mills, a Chicago-primarily based business enterprise that sells snacks and baking mixes free of gluten, grain, soy, and GMOs. She says quick entry to her companions in manufacturing, meals technology, and transportation logistics has made it less difficult to run her business.
“You do not have to tour to satisfy companions to grow factors of the business,” says Smith, who also is speakme on the Fast Growth Tour. “If I turned into based totally at the West Coast, I would be visiting Chicago lots.”
Tech behemoths like Stripe, Salesforce, Google, and Facebook have all gotten the memo, too. Each has a satellite workplace in Chicago. Further, Melissa Kaufman, the government director of The Garage, an incubator and networking space on Northwestern’s campus, says she sees extra companies beginning up a 2d headquarters in town.
3. Fundraising opportunities abound
It used to be that place startups looking for funding had slender pickings. “That has essentially modified,” says 1871’s Zieler. For instance, Lefkofsky and Keywell founded VC company Lightbank in 2010 to invest in Chicago startups; considering that then, the company has invested in 53 vicinity corporations, together with online learning platform BenchPrep and online music market Reverb. And different nearby VC companies are following the match, as evidenced via the two latest investment rounds by way of logistics software agencies. Chicago Ventures contributed to Project44’s $45 million round, whilst Hyde Park Angels changed into a part of FourKites’ $50 million round.