SILICON VALLEY VENTURE CAPITALIST BEN HOROWITZ AND CLEVELAND AVENUE FOUNDER/CEO DON THOMPSON HEADLINING 2017 CHICAGO VENTURE SUMMIT
The Chicago Venture Summit Takes Place Sept. 13-14, Showcasing Five of the City’s Top Innovation Hubs and Highlighting the Growing Diversity of Investment Opportunities
Chicago – ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago’s council of technology leaders, today announced Ben Horowitz, co-founder and partner of Andreessen Horowitz, and Don Thompson, founder/CEO of Cleveland Avenue, LLC, as the opening keynote speakers for the 2017 Chicago Venture Summit.
Additionally, for the first time ever, the Summit will take place over two days on September 13 and 14. The first day will feature industry-specific programs, including pitch sessions at five Innovation Hubs in downtown Chicago. The second day will take place at Google’s Chicago headquarters with a full day of programming, beginning with a keynote conversation between Horowitz and Thompson, moderated by Elizabeth Thompson, co-founder of Cleveland Avenue and president of the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education. Over the course of the Summit, more than 30 start-ups from Chicago and the Midwest will showcase their companies to top venture capital firms from across the country.
“Chicago continues to be recognized as one of the best cities for the next generation of entrepreneurs to build a business,” said Mark Tebbe, chairman of ChicagoNEXT. “This year’s event will highlight why now is the time to increase investment in Chicago, as well as the strength of the local technology community. VCs can continue to count on Chicago as a great place for proven return on investment.”
The first day of the invitation-only Summit will reflect the breadth of Chicago’s technology ecosystem. Presenting companies will represent the diversity of industries that power Chicago and the Midwest. The Innovation Hubs hosting the presentations include:
- Cleveland Avenue, an innovation hub accelerating growth for food and beverage businesses;
- MATTER, a leading healthcare technology incubator;
- TechNexus, a venture collaborative driving next-stage engagement with industry leaders;
- The University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, focusing on education, partnerships and new venture support for startups;
- 1871, a technology and entrepreneurship hub focusing on digital, financial technology and social impact startups.
“My wife Liz and I launched Cleveland Avenue in our home city of Chicago because of this town’s insatiable passion for food and beverage, and the growing receptivity here for innovation,” said Thompson, who founded Cleveland Avenue in 2015 after retiring as president and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation.
The second day of the Summit will take place at Google’s Chicago headquarters, opening with keynote speakers Horowitz and Thompson discussing venture philanthropy, social responsibility, and the Chicago investment landscape. The programming will also feature company presentations and discussion panels with leading VCs and businesses, including Outcome Health, a Chicago-based startup that recently received a $500 million investment at a $5 billion valuation. Panel topics will include Chicago’s industries of the future, the growing strength of B2B businesses and Chicago’s role as a leader in returns for startup investments.
The 2016 Chicago Venture Summit attracted nearly 150 investment firms and 230 venture capitalists representing more than $20 billion in investment capital. Additionally, since the inaugural Summit in 2014, 120 total startups have been featured, receiving more than $300 million in new funding.
Google, JP Morgan and William Blair have returned as lead sponsors for the 2017 Chicago Venture Summit. Qualified local, national and trade media are invited to attend all open conference sessions. Information on additional sponsorship opportunities is available at chicagoventuresummit.com.
Chaired by Mark Tebbe, ChicagoNEXT leads World Business Chicago’s dedicated effort to drive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy through a portfolio of initiatives and programs governed by a council of technology leaders. With the mission to grow Chicago’s vibrant tech ecosystem, ChicagoNEXT strategic focus areas include industry, talent, capital and community. World Business Chicago is a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Chicago as a leading global city. Learn more at worldbusinesschicago.com/chicagonext/