The Chicago Venture Summit Connects Chicagoland’s Entrepreneurs with Investors from Across the U.S.


Over 400 attendees network at Chicago Google headquarters for the 2018 Chicago Venture Summit.

On October 2 and 3, ChicagoNEXT, an initiative of World Business Chicago, welcomed more than 400 investors, startup founders, and business leaders to Google’s Chicago office for the fourth Chicago Venture Summit.  Chicago area start-ups are getting noticed. “The Chicago Venture Summit is connecting our world-class, Chicago-based business ideas and entrepreneurs with venture firms from across the U.S.,” Mark Tebbe, chairman of ChicagoNEXT, said. “Today and tomorrow’s investors are looking beyond the coasts for investments and are thrilled to discover that Chicago startups offer the highest venture capital returns out of any other U.S. startup hub.”


“The Chicago Venture Summit is connecting our world-class, Chicago-based business ideas and entrepreneurs with venture firms from across the U.S.”

-Mark Tebbe, Chairman of ChicagoNEXT


As of June 2018, local tech companies have raised more than $751 million, according to Chicago Inno. These investors can expect a higher rate of return compared to any other U.S. city, according to a new Pitchbook report.  “Each year, the Chicago Venture Summit highlights the city’s vibrant tech economy, proving why Chicago is a global hub for investment,” said Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of World Business Chicago. “The Pitchbook report further confirms that Chicago-based start-ups are a leader in U.S. venture capital returns.”

The first day of the Venture Summit offered workshops and high-profile panel discussions at seven innovation hubs throughout Chicago, including Cleveland Avenue, FinTank, mHUB, MATTER, TechNexus, the University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and 1871. Most importantly, both days of the Summit provided an opportunity for Chicago’s pioneering startups to connect with attending venture capital firms.


“Each year, the Chicago Venture Summit highlights the city’s vibrant tech economy, proving why Chicago is a global hub for investment,” said Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of World Business Chicago. “The Pitchbook report further confirms that Chicago-based start-ups are a leader in U.S. venture capital returns.”

-Andrea Zopp, President & CEO of World Business Chicago


Day two, hosted by and held at Google’s West Loop offices, featured a diverse range of panels and conversations with nationally-recognized leaders, opening with the conversation “Perspectives on Chicago’s Tech Leadership” between Mayor Emanuel and Kristi Ross, co-CEO of tastytrade. The day closed with “Chicago’s Tech Future,” a fireside chat with Penny Pritzker, founder and chair of PSP Capital Partners and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Mike Gamson, angel investor and senior vice president of global solutions at LinkedIn.

Every year, the Summit offers the best leaders and expertise in Chicago’s tech and innovation scene. Whether its blockchain and cryptocurrency or artificial intelligence and automation, Chicago’s diversified economy and strong talent pool put our startups at the forefront of these new frontiers.

To highlight this, the Summit featured a curated group of startup founders who pitched their ventures to an audience of key investors. This included the food delivery service and steam-oven producer Tovala, farming data analytics provider Amber Agriculture, healthcare logistics platform Kaizen Health, sustainable energy distributor Redwave, smart data auto-insurer Clearcover, retail data provider SwiftIQ, and influencer video-appearance marketplace Cameo.


“Today and tomorrow’s investors are looking beyond the coasts for investments and are thrilled to discover that Chicago startups offer the highest venture capital returns out of any other U.S. startup hub.”

-Mark Tebbe, Chairman of ChicagoNext


Thank you to Google, JP Morgan, and William Blair who returned as lead sponsors for the 2018 Chicago Venture Summit. Additional sponsors include Pritzker Group, Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Jump Capital, and Lightbank.

Share: