Deep dish pizza, the blues, harsh winters – and technology. Believe it or not, Chicago is at the epicenter of the next tech boom. From Groupon to GrubHub, Chicago is home to many of the hottest new tech companies.
According to a recent study, the number of digital startups created in the Chicago area in 2011 increased 56 percent year over year, to 128 new companies. And, Chicago-area technology startups have raised nearly $1.5 billion – up more than 431 percent since 2010.
Experts attribute the surge to the fact that serial entrepreneurs are forgoing the trek west to Silicon Valley and choosing instead to set up shop in their hometown. In addition, the talent war is less brutal in a place like Chicago where the passion and expertise is alive and well in many capable candidates – but the competition to hire them is less intense.
But the industry has known for years about the value Chicago brings for tech companies. Every summer, digital innovators ascend on the Windy City – and it’s not just for the pizza. For eight years, Internet Retailer, the world’s largest ecommerce event, has hosted top brands and this year its impressive lineup of speakers includes Alexis Maybank, CMO & Co-Founder of Gilt Groupe.
And the up and coming Techweek Conference has quickly gained ground, and industry clout, as a top show to connect startups with industry leaders. Last year, Techweek brought out influencers like Dave McClure, founder of Craigslist and Aneesh Chopra, CTO of the United States. This June, it is hosting over 2,000 technology companies and offering five new summits to go more in-depth on a few key areas, including Green & Clean Tech and Financial Tech.
Reporters are also following suit – using Chicago as their hub for reporting on these innovative companies. From former Bay Area-based TechCrunch Reporter Leena Rao to GigaOm’s Kevin Fitchard and Macworld’s Andy Ihnatko, many influential writers are calling Chicago home.
Borders + Gratehouse is (and has been) well-poised to deliver “something different” to the startups looking to expand awareness, and we have the local Chicago talent to bring these PR programs to life in their own backyard. Since 2008, B+G has had a presence in the Chicago area and now, with a team of PR professionals (see below), the company is ready to “dig deep” into communications strategies for the burgeoning tech market in Chicago.
By Aimée Eichelberger