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Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is the premier legal advisor to technology, life sciences, and other growth enterprises worldwide. We represent companies at every stage of development, from entrepreneurial start-ups to multibillion-dollar global corporations, as well as the venture firms, private equity firms, and investment banks that finance and advise them. The firm's broad range of services and practice areas are focused on addressing the principal challenges faced by the management, boards of directors, shareholders, and in-house counsel of our clients.

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CodigoDelSur is a designer and developer of digital products. Having worked with Founder Institute startups in the past, they come as a highly recommended Founder Institute referral. They are composed of highly skilled software, web, and mobile app developers, who are excited to incorporate the latest technologies into the applications they develop.

Xero is everything you need to run your business financials. Work with a beautiful small business accounting software complete with accounting, invoicing, payroll, inventory and more. Xero seamlessly integrates with over 500+ business apps, including CRM, point-of-sale, time tracking, ecommerce, just to name a few. Join the 700,000+ businesses using Xero in more than 180 countries.

Vet-Tech is America's Veteran-led Startup Accelerator headquartered in Silicon Valley. With over 100 military veteran startups in our community, Vet-Tech's top 20 portfolio companies have raised over $10 Million in funding and have been accepted into world class programs like Tech Stars and Founder Institute.

Startup Weekend


Through the Startup Weekend Fellowship, members of the Startup Weekend Community who want to start a technology company can apply to the Silicon Valley Founder Institute chapter for free, and the best overall applicant will be invited to participate in the Founder Institute's step-by-step startup launch program for free as well.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for the Startup Weekend Fellowship for the upcoming semester, you must complete your application and admissions test by Sunday, December 11th, 2016, using this link.

Grant: The recipient of the Startup Weekend Fellowship will be awarded within 5 days after the deadline.

Click here to apply for the Startup Weekend Fellowship.

The Chicago Startup Ecosystem Canvas: A Giant List Of Startup Resources In Chicago

Posted by Drew Zias on 2017-03-16

Startup ecosystems can be fragmented, competitive, and hidden to newcomers, which is detrimental for local startups and community growth. The Startup Ecosystem Canvas seeks to provide local entrepreneurs with a clear list of resources for every stage of their startup journey, and outline a basic framework for communities to map their ecosystem.

With applications for the Chicago Founder Institute coming to a close, we are excited to release the Chicago Startup Ecosystem Canvas, which is currently in Draft v2 below! It was developed by the Chicago Founder Institute and local leader Jason Jacobsohn.

This is just a DRAFT, and more input is needed, so please leave your comments on this collaborative Google document to help us complete the list. There are definitely omissions on this current version. 

Are you looking to start a company in Chicago? Then apply to the Chicago Founder Institute today!


Startup Stages

 There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common, sequential framework.

1. Idea Stage

This is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.

A. Inspire

    • Startup Media: Centralized local information, listings, and news. (i.e. startup blogs/ publications/ lists/ FB groups/ newsletters)
      1. Built In Chicago
      2. ChicagoInno
      3. Chicago Tribune Blue Sky Innovation
      4. Startup Digest Chicago
      5. Tech.CO Chicago
      6. Techli
    • Inspirational Events: Open, inclusive, beginner startup events (i.e. Startup Weekend, idea fairs, and inspirational meetups)
      1. Chicago Entrepreneur Evolution Group
      2. Chicago Financial Industry Entrepreneurs and Startups
      3. Chicago Lean Startup Challenge
      4. Chicago Legal Innovation and Technology Meetup
      5. Chicago Startup Community
      6. Chicago Tech Happy Hour
      7. Funding Feeding Frenzy
      8. Queer Tech Club
      9. Startup Saturdays
      10. Startup Weekend Chicago
      11. Talking About Tech Chicago
      12. Technori
      13. TechWeek
      14. Trailblazers, Entrepreneurs & Innovators
      15. Young Entrepreneur Women of Chicago

B. Educate

    • Best Practices: Beginner knowledge-sharing events. (i.e. beginner events that serve to educate more than inspire, like Startup Founder 101, etc).
      1. 1 Million Cups
      2. FounderSensei Chicago
      3. Startup Founder 101 Chicago
      4. Startup Grind Chicago
      5. Startup Leadership
      6. Women Tech Founders Startup Lessons
    • Training & Feedback: Skill & Idea development. (Ex. bootcamps and comprehensive training programs, like Founder Institute, etc)
      1. Anyone Can Learn to Code
      2. Chicago Growth Hackers
      3. Chicago Lean Startup Circle
      4. Chicago Lean Startup Machine
      5. Code Chicago
      6. Code Fellows
      7. Designation
      8. Dev Bootcamp
      9. Founder Institute Chicago
      10. General Assembly
      11. Mobile Makers Academy
      12. Starter League
      13. Starter School
      14. Startup Bootcamp with Stella Fayman
      15. Startup Institute Chicago

C. Validate

    • Team Formation: Resources for teaming up. (i.e. events or other resources that facilitate early-stage recruitment and cofounder matching)
      1. Chicago Founder Night Out
      2. CoFoundersLab Chicago
      3. Founder2be
      4. FounderDating Chicago
      5. Founders Network
      6. Women 2.0 City Meetup Chicago
    • Build First Product: Hackathons & resources to build. (i.e. hackathons and other builder-focused events and resources)
      1. AEC Hackathon
      2. Chi Hack Night
      3. ChicagosNext Hackathon 2015
      4. Civic Hack Day
      5. FIshackathon Chicago
      6. INTX Hackathon
      7. Internet of Things World Forum Hackathon
      8. LexHacks
      9. MonkeyBars
      10. ProtoHack
      11. Urban Sustainability Apps Competition


2. Launch Stage

In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop the product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step.

A. Start

    • Establish: Law firms & banks for startups
      1. AEGIS Professional Services
      2. BMO Harris Bank
      3. Bridgeview Bank
      4. Chase Bank
      5. Cole Sadkin LLC
      6. Fieldman Law Group
      7. Fizz Law
      8. Foley & Lardner
      9. Holland & Knight
      10. Horwood Marcus & Berk
      11. Katten Muchin Rosenman
      12. MB Financial Bank
      13. McGuire Woods
      14. Much Shelist
      15. Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg
      16. The Private Bank
      17. Silicon Valley Bank
      18. Synergy Law Group
      19. U.S. Bank
      20. Zeller Law
    • Workspace: Co-working and flexible workspaces (note: “official” office space goes in 3.1.a. Infrastructure)
      1. 1871
      2. Assemble
      3. Blue1647
      4. mHUB
      5. Catapult Chicago
      6. Colab Evanston
      7. The Coop
      8. Creative Coworking
      9. Enerspace
      10. Forum Coworking
      11. Free Range Office
      12. Grind
      13. Industrious
      14. Level
      15. Logan Share
      16. MakeOffices
      17. MATTER
      18. NextSpace
      19. OfficePort Chicago
      20. Onward Coworking
      21. Platform Coworking
      22. The Shift
      23. Space
      24. TechNexus
      25. The Incubator
      26. VentureSHOT
      27. WeWork Chicago
      28. Workspace at Brooklyn Boulders Chicago
      29. WorkSpring

B. Develop

    • Formalize: Accounting, development and HR for early-stage startups.
      1. Adage Technologies
      2. ÄKTA
      3. AppDevy
      4. Caxy Code Creative
      5. Del Real Tax Group
      6. Doejo
      7. Early Growth Financial Services
      8. Eight Bit Studios
      9. 1st Chicago Accounting
      10. Herwitt & Associates
      11. Joshua Lance CPA
      12. LaunchPad Lab
      13. Lauzen Accounting
      14. Marengo Hampshire Partners
      15. MWC Accounting
      16. O'Neal Consulting Chicago
      17. Ora Interactive
      18. Pasquesi Partners
      19. Pixl Group
      20. RedGranite
      21. The Startup Accountant
      22. Sydcon
      23. Vokal
    • Prepare for Seed: Incubators and advanced mentorship. (i.e. advanced knowledge sharing, later stage events and resources)
      1. 1871
      2. Catapult Chicago
      3. Lightbank
      4. Matter
      5. Panzanzee
      6. Sandbox Industries
      7. Startup Next Chicago
      8. TechNexus
      9. University Technology Park at IIT

C. Launch

    • Seed Accelerators: Seed funding mentor programs (Techstars-style programs that provide funding)
      1. BLUE1647
      2. Elmspring Accelerator
      3. Excelerate Labs
      4. Good Food Business Accelerator
      5. Healthbox
      6. Impact Engine
      7. Insight Accelerator Labs
      8. Platform Venture
      9. Polsky Center Accelerator
      10. Startup Front
      11. TechStars Chicago
      12. VentureSHOT
    • Pitch & Demo: Show local startups for investment (i.e. demo days for companies seeking seed investment)
      1. Chicago Innovation Exchange & Social Enterprise Initiative Demo Day
      2. Flashpoint Demo Days Chicago
      3. Phoenix Pitch
      4. Pitch Circus
      5. SBACNow Venture Pitch Session
      6. Sente Chicago Demo Day
      7. Social Startup Showcase
      8. StartOut Venture Capitalist Pitch Competition
      9. Startup Pitch Night Chicago
      10. Technori
      11. Techstars Chicago Community Demo Day


3. Growth Stage

Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding, angels, VCs, and ways to connect them to startups.

A. Recognition

    • Investor Networking:  Connect professional investors with founders. (i.e. events or groups that facilitate connections with professional investors )
      1. Breakfast With Strangers
      2. Buyouts Chicago
      3. CAIA
      4. Chicago Creative Investors Association
      5. Chicago Entrepreneurs From Abroad
      6. Chicago Innovation Awards  
      7. Chicago Private Equity Network
      8. Chicago Wealth Club
      9. Ellevate Chicago
      10. FIBI Chicago
      11. Illinois Innovation Network
      12. Invest for Kids Chicago
      13. ITA CityLights
      14. Momentum Awards
      15. Moxie Awards  
      16. Venture Connects
      17. Women Investment Professionals
      18. Young Professionals of Chicago
    • Major Media: Mainstream local business press. (i.e. major local or regional publications that frequently champion local businesses)
      1. CBS Chicago
      2. Chicago Business
      3. Chicago Business News
      4. Chicago Tonight
      5. Chicago Tribune
      6. Crain’s Chicago Business
      7. Daily Herald
      8. Daily Herald Business Ledger
      9. FOX Chicago
      10. NBC Chicago

B. Funding

    • Angels / Micro-VCs: Seed-stage investors
      1. Ablorde Ashigbi
      2. Adam Koopersmith
      3. Alan Matthew
      4. Bill Pescatello
      5. Brad Purdy
      6. David Wieland
      7. Deborah Quazzo
      8. Don Wyper
      9. Guy Turner
      10. Ira Weiss
      11. Jeff Heitzman
      12. Jeffrey Carter
      13. Jeffrey Maters
      14. Jonathan McCulloch
      15. Kevin Willer
      16. Lon Chow
      17. Mark Friedgan
      18. Matt Shobe
      19. Michael Gruber
      20. Mike Collett
      21. Peter Liu
      22. Rob Schultz
      23. Stuart Larkins
      24. Tim Hanlon
      25. Troy Henikoff
    • Venture Capitalists: Series A and beyond
      1. Adams Street Partners
      2. Alpha Capital Partners
      3. Apex Venture Partners
      4. Arch Venture Partners
      5. Baird Capital
      6. Batterson Venture Capital
      7. Chicago Ventures
      8. Edgewater Funds
      9. Essex Woodlands Health Ventures
      10. Firestarter Fund
      11. First Analysis Venture Capital
      12. Foundation Capital
      13. High Street Capital
      14. Hyde Park Venture Partners
      15. JK & B Capital
      16. Jump Capital
      17. MATH Venture Partners
      18. MK Capital
      19. OCA Ventures
      20. Origin Ventures
      21. Pritzker Group Venture Capital
      22. Trident Capital
      23. Waud Capital Partners
      24. Willis Stein and Partners
      25. Wind Point Partners
      26. Wynnchurch Capital

C. Growth

    • Infrastructure: Office space, HR, local business insurance. (i.e. office space/ HR/ insurance providers for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
      1. 42 Floors
      2. Anchor Advisors
      3. Argyle Search Partners
      4. Chicagoland Recruiters
      5. Handzel & Associates
      6. Hiscox
      7. IMC Solutions
      8. iLink Resources
      9. Insureon
      10. LoopNet
      11. Northwest Insurance Brokers
      12. OfficeFinder
      13. OfficeSpace
      14. Regus
      15. Rofo
      16. Snyder Insurance
    • Expansion: Growth accelerators/consultants. (i.e. programs and business consultants for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
      1. Cayenne Consulting Chicago
      2. Chicago Technology Advisors
      3. Freshwater Advisors
      4. gravitytank
      5. KPMG
      6. Midwest Business Consulting
      7. PwC
      8. SCORE Chicago


4. Success Stories

Successful homegrown companies that have raised significant institutional funding, employ a large workforce, or have achieved liquidity.

  1. 37signals
  2. Avant
  3. Belly
  4. BenchPrep
  5. BlueJeans
  6. Blinkfire Analytics
  7. CareerBuilder
  9. Classkick
  10. comScore
  11. Doogyloot
  12. Dose
  13. Fooda
  14. GiveForward
  15. Groupon
  16. GrubHub
  17. Gogo
  18. InContext Solutions
  19. Inventables
  20. Morningstar
  21. ParkWhiz
  22. Power Reviews
  23. Raise
  24. Redbox
  25. Retrofit
  26. Risk I/O
  27. Rocketmiles
  28. Scout
  29. Snapsheet
  30. SproutSocial
  31. Stats LLC
  32. TempoIQ
  33. Trunk Club
  34. YCharts
  35. Yello
  36. See more at


To facilitate the steps, every ecosystem needs strong supporters.

1. Evangelists

Successful local founders who lead the ecosystem & frequently mentor newbies.  (i.e. Local leaders who have taken a leadership position, speak at a lot of startup events, mentor all the programs, etc)

  1. Adam Siegel
  2. Ajay Patel
  3. Alex Campbell
  4. Ashish Rangnekar
  5. Bart Carlson
  6. Brian Busche
  7. Carlo Navarro
  8. Charles Kwon
  9. David Culver
  10. David Douglas
  11. Desiree Vargas Wrigley
  12. Elly Deutch
  13. Emerson Spartz
  14. Eric Broughton
  15. Ethan Austin
  16. Gary Silverman
  17. George Deeb
  18. Hala Hemayssi
  19. James Michelson
  20. Jason Fried
  21. Jason Green
  22. Jason Jacobsohn
  23. Jason Rubinstein
  24. Jason Weingarten
  25. J.B. Pritzker
  26. Jeff Hoffman
  27. Jeff Hyman
  28. Jeff Judge
  29. Jeff Lyons
  30. Jeff Maier
  31. Jeff Weber
  32. Jessica Zweig
  33. Joe Abraham
  34. Joe Born
  35. Joe Dwyer
  36. John R Dallas Jr
  37. Kelly Fitzsimmons
  38. Kevin Taylor
  39. Lauren Katzberg
  40. Lina Pakrosnyte
  41. Louis Morales
  42. Mark Achler
  43. Mark Lawrence
  44. Mark Pickett
  45. Matt Moog
  46. Michael Carruth
  47. Michael Kramer
  48. Michael McCoy
  49. Neil Kane
  50. Pam Krengel
  51. Patricia Riskind
  52. Patrick Tannous
  53. Peter Tapling
  54. Rajesh Voddiraju
  55. Reva Minkoff
  56. Rishi Shah
  57. Ronald Franczyk
  58. Ross Kimbarovsky
  59. Seth Kravitz
  60. Shradha Agarwal
  61. Steven Jones
  62. Tom Denison
  63. Troy Henkoff
  64. Tyler Travitz
  65. William Furlong


2. Government

Public organizations that facilitate local economic development

  1. Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology
  2. Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  3. Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce
  4. Illinois Chamber of Commerce
  5. Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
  6. MBDA Business Centers
  7. Oak Park Economic Development Corporation
  8. World Business Chicago
  9. WorldChicago Tech Fellowship Program


3. Talent

Major local business or tech universities and employers that attract and retain local talent.

  • Local Universities (universities with prominent technical or business programs)

    1. Chicago State University
    2. DePaul University
    3. Illinois Institute of Technology
    4. Loyola University Chicago
    5. Northwestern University
    6. Robert Morris University
    7. University of Chicago
    8. University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Local Employers (Major technical employers with large local offices)
    1. Allscripts
    2. Allstate
    3. Apple
    4. Boeing
    5. Bose
    6. CDW
    7. CME Group Inc.
    8. Devry
    9. Discover Financial Services Inc.
    10. Facebook
    11. Google
    12. HP
    13. LG Electronics
    14. LinkedIn
    15. McDonalds
    16. Microsoft
    17. Motorola
    18. Orbitz
    19. Northern Trust Corporation
    20. Sears
    21. Shure
    22. SproutSocial
    23. Twitter
    24. United/ Continental Airlines
    25. US Cellular
    26. Walgreens



 Learn more about the Startup Ecosystem Canvas here, and leave us your thoughts on the Chicago Canvas on this collaborative Google document (This is just a DRAFT, and more input is needed!)

Are you looking to start a company in Chicago? Then apply to the Chicago Founder Institute today

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The Chicago Startup Ecosystem Canvas: A Giant List Of Startup Resources In Chicago

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