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#mVLaunch startup tech and VC conference in Chicago - its just like 1999

I am sitting at midVentures launch Chicago and I can not help being as excited as I was 10 years ago when I quit my posh consulting job and joined a startup in New York City.  I am listening to a panel given by the list below.

I love what these folks had to say and how much the Chicago technology scene has been revitalized recently.

The panel went to address some of the reasons that Chicago has felt like a second city in terms of technology startups.  Some points which were very valid:

  • Chicago Press Sucks - yeah, its a little grumpy but its true.  How many people know that Groupon is a Chicago startup?  Why does Chicago press more keen to run negative coverage rather than promote an industry which is critical to job growth?  There were complaints from the panelist about the fact that absolutely no Chicago press folks show up at their big open VC events and therefore Chicago gets no tech startup coverage
  • Chicago and Illinois taxes are 9% lower than they are in California and the silicon valley.  Granted, it's for higher earners but a fairly significant number when you are looking at paying 12% in California vs. 3% in Chicago
  • There are not that many startups in Chicago - Boloney!  The cell phone and the web browser were invented in Illinois.  There are hundreds of Chicago startups there just isn't enough press.
  • Talent Base is in Silicon Valley - NOT if you consider that we have some of the best schools in the country in Chicago.  It should be tremendously easy to recruit.  Especially if the grads start seeing in the press that there are many startups that they can fall back on if the one they join. 


  • Moderator: Jeff Leitner
    The Insight Labs
  • Steven Kaplan
    Faculty Director,
    Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Fred Hoch
    Illinois Technology Association
  • Eric Lunt
    Former CTO,
  • Sam Yagan