Inside Chicago's Thriving Tech Hub: Startups and Success Stories

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: July 7th 2024

Chicago tech hub startups and success stories in Illinois, US.

Too Long; Didn't Read:

Chicago's tech hub is booming, fueled by top universities and robust support systems. Startups raised $7 billion last year, with success stories like Cameo, project44, and Grubhub. Key incubators and accelerators back over 300 startups annually. Projected tech job growth of 25% by 2024 ensures a bright future.

Chicago's tech scene is on fire! This city used to be all about factories and smokestacks, but now it's a legit startup powerhouse.

Here's the scoop:

We got a crazy talent pool, with top schools like UIC and Northwestern churning out brilliant coders and computer whizzes. Plus, there are tons of hot startups popping up, and they're getting major support from incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces.

These places hook the founders up with resources, mentors, and all the tools they need to make their ideas reality.

Last year alone, startups in the city raised a mind-blowing $7 billion! That's serious cash flow.

With all this momentum, landing a sweet tech job in Chicago is becoming a no-brainer.

This city is quickly becoming one of the coolest tech hubs in the nation, and the future looks brighter than ever.

Table of Contents

  • Noteworthy Startups in Chicago
  • Support Systems and Resources
  • Success Stories from Chicago
  • Conclusion: The Future of Chicago's Tech Hub
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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Noteworthy Startups in Chicago


The tech scene in Chi-Town is straight fire! From fintech to cybersecurity, startups here are killin' it and makin' waves. Avant is one of the big dogs, valued at over $2 billion, using AI and machine learning to shake up the lending game since 2012.

Slick moves!

Companies like Tempus are bringin' the heat in cybersecurity too. Their threat detection skills are off the charts, and they've got fans worldwide.

And let's not forget Grubhub, the food delivery kingpin that got scooped up for a crazy $7.3 billion back in 2020. Talk about cashing in big time!

Now, here are some other startups from the Windy City that are seriously turning heads:

  • Cameo: Connecting fans with their fave celebs for personalized video shoutouts. Genius!
  • project44: Logistics tech wizards making supply chains smarter and more efficient.
  • Tock: Helping restaurants and hotels manage reservations like bosses.
  • Hologram: Empowering businesses to build and scale IoT solutions like it's NBD.
  • Evozyne: Biotech badasses using AI to advance precision medicine. Mind-blowing stuff!
  • Hallow: A meditation app that's helping people find their chill. Zen AF!

With success stories like these, Chicago's tech scene is scorching hot.

Entrepreneurs here are crushing it, and there's no telling how high this city can soar. The future is bright!

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Support Systems and Resources


Chicago's tech scene is thriving, powered by a robust support system that fuels startups from the ground up. Leading the charge are accelerators and incubators like TechNexus Venture Collaborative, 1871, and Cleveland Avenue, collectively backing over 300 startups annually across different industries.

These places provide essential resources - funding, networking, and expert mentorship on everything from product development to scaling strategies.

But it doesn't stop there - Chicago's co-working infrastructure is strong too.

Spaces like Industrious, WeWork, and Assemble provide affordable workspaces and foster that tight-knit community vibe.

As Christopher Jackson from Partpic says, "Being part of a co-working space was instrumental in our early days. It allowed us to bounce ideas off fellow entrepreneurs and tap into a wealth of knowledge and resources."

The Illinois Department of Commerce supports startups with funding programs, tax incentives, and workforce development initiatives tailored specifically for innovative companies.

It's a whole ecosystem designed to help startups succeed and make their mark in the tech world.

Success Stories from Chicago


Chicago's tech scene is on fire, and it's given rise to some impressive startup success stories that have put this city on the map. Let's talk about Groupon, the e-commerce marketplace that lets us score experiences at crazy discounts.

Founded in 2008 by Andrew Mason, this Chicago-born company went global in no time, expanding to over 500 cities across 40 countries and racking up a $3.2 billion valuation by 2011.

Groupon's meteoric rise blazed a trail for countless other local startups, sparking a wave of innovation and investment that's still going strong.

Next up, we've got Grubhub, the game-changing online food ordering and delivery service that's made our lives a million times easier.

Launched in 2004, this Chicago legend connects us with local restaurants, serving up tasty treats in over 4,000 US cities and even London. Its epic success, marked by a $7.3 billion acquisition by Just Eat Takeaway in 2020, has not only cemented Chicago's tech cred but also inspired a whole new generation of entrepreneurs to chase their dreams.

But it's not just about the cash.

As Karen Perez, a major player in Chicago's startup ecosystem, put it:

"The success stories of Groupon, Grubhub, and others have ignited a wildfire of ambition and belief within our community. They serve as beacons, illuminating the path to greatness and emboldening aspiring founders to take risks, innovate, and leave an indelible mark on the world."

  • Support network: These triumphs have fueled a killer support network, creating a nurturing environment for up-and-coming startups.
  • Incubators: We're talking about places like 1871, a renowned tech incubator hosting over 500 startups.
  • Healthcare innovations: MATTER, a healthcare-focused incubator nurturing groundbreaking innovations.
  • Co-working spaces: Countless co-working spaces and accelerators are helping entrepreneurs level up.

As Chicago's tech landscape continues to explode, these success stories are a testament to the city's relentless spirit of innovation, inspiring countless others to forge their own extraordinary journeys right here in the heart of Illinois.

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And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

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Conclusion: The Future of Chicago's Tech Hub


Chicago's tech scene is blowing up, and it's only gonna get bigger and better in the coming years.

We're talking major growth, like a projected 25% increase in tech jobs by 2024. This city is seriously committed to being a hotspot for startups and established players alike.

But staying on this wild ride means giving startups the support they need to thrive.

Accelerators, incubators, and co-working spaces are key for hooking these fresh companies up with the resources and mentors to make it big. Just look at the insane success stories of companies like Grubhub, Groupon, and Avant - they raised billions and created tons of jobs right here in Illinois.

The future is gonna see Chicago's tech game diversifying hard.

Cutting-edge fields like AI, cybersecurity, and healthtech are quickly becoming major players alongside the city's fintech and e-commerce strengths. This variety is crucial for building a resilient ecosystem that can roll with the punches and keep fueling economic growth.

As William Taylor from ChicagoNEXT said, "The key to Chicago's tech success is nurturing a wide range of innovative tech and empowering the next gen of founders and entrepreneurs."

At the end of the day, Chicago's tech future comes down to our commitment to innovation, collaboration, and giving entrepreneurs what they need to turn their visions into reality.

With our insane talent pool, solid infrastructure, and supportive ecosystem, this city is destined to be a global tech powerhouse.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is Chicago considered a thriving tech hub?

Chicago has transformed from an industrial center to a startup powerhouse due to its access to a highly skilled talent pool from top universities like UIC and Northwestern. The city also boasts numerous incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces that provide startups with essential resources, mentorship, and tools to turn their ideas into reality.

What are some noteworthy startups based in Chicago?

Chicago is home to several successful startups including Cameo, project44, Tock, Hologram, Evozyne, and Hallow. These companies span various industries such as fintech, cybersecurity, logistics, biotech, and meditation apps, and are making significant impacts in their respective fields.

How much funding did Chicago startups raise recently?

Startups in Chicago raised an impressive $7 billion last year alone, demonstrating significant cash flow and investment interest in the city's burgeoning tech ecosystem.

What support systems and resources are available for startups in Chicago?

Chicago offers a robust support system for startups, including accelerators and incubators that collectively back over 300 startups annually. The city also has a strong co-working infrastructure with spaces that provide affordable work environments and foster community networking. Additionally, the Illinois Department of Commerce supports startups with funding programs, tax incentives, and workforce development initiatives.

Can you share some success stories from Chicago's tech community?

Notable success stories from Chicago's tech scene include Groupon, an e-commerce marketplace that expanded globally and was valued at $3.2 billion by 2011, and Grubhub, an online food ordering and delivery service that was acquired for $7.3 billion in 2020. These companies have paved the way for other startups and highlighted the potential and innovation within Chicago's tech community.

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Chevas Balloun

Director of Marketing & Brand

Chevas has spent over 15 years inventing brands, designing interfaces, and driving engagement for companies like Microsoft. He is a practiced writer, a productivity app inventor, board game designer, and has a builder-mentality drives entrepreneurship.