Peter Thiel, Padmasree Warrior and Ted Leonsis to Attend Chicago Venture Summit

A trio of national tech leaders will be key participants in the first Chicago Venture Summiton October 14-15, 2014, helping to highlight the Midwest’s rising position as a leading startup hub and to celebrate a year of record exits and investment in Chicago’s emerging tech companies.

The Chicago Venture Summit, hosted by ChicagoNEXT, is a unique event in the region, pairing the top emerging tech companies with venture capitalists and corporate strategic partners from across the country.

  • Peter Thiel: The noted technology investor and author of the forthcoming book Zero to One, will be a keynote speaker and conference participant. Thiel, a PayPal co-founder, the first outside investor in Facebook and co-founder of Palantir Technologies, will discuss his views on venture investing and how he nurtures the next generation of visionary tech leaders.
  • Padmasree Warrior: The Cisco Chief Technology & Strategy Officer and former CTO of Motorola, is a major proponent of the “Internet of Things.” She will host a panel discussion on the increasing connectivity between people and devices and how that is changing commerce as well as the behavior of companies and consumers.
  • Ted Leonsis: The entrepreneur and investor – with stakes in Groupon, Google, SB Nation and many others – is the founder and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards as well as other sports properties. The former long-time AOL executive will discuss entrepreneurship and creativity.

“Having the nation’s tech leaders participate in our first Chicago Venture Summit validates newfound recognition that the Midwest has become a premiere destination for tech investment and innovation,” said J.B. Pritzker, Managing Partner for the Pritzker Group and Chairman of ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago’s council on technology and entrepreneurship.

During the first six months of 2014, new investments in Chicago area tech companies reached nearly a half-billion dollars while acquisitions and initial public offering valuations topped $5 billion, according to Built in Chicago.

“To illustrate the rapid rise of Chicago’s success in the tech sector, three companies – GrubHub, Fieldglass, and Paylocity – have each had billion-dollar plus liquidity events in the last six months. Several others with IPO potential are right behind those, and scores of other early- and growth-stage companies with billion-dollar potential are quickly following,” Pritzker said.

In the coming weeks, additional speakers and presenting companies will be announced. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to open the invitation-only event. For more information on the Chicago Venture Summit, please visit

About the Chicago Venture Summit 

The Chicago Venture Summit will be held at Venue Six10 on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. The Summit’s agenda includes presentations by 30 of the top emerging tech companies in the Midwest, panel discussions with national technology experts, and private dinners with C-suite leaders of the Midwest’s Fortune 100 companies.

About ChicagoNEXT

ChicagoNEXT seeks to create innovative programs to foster technology and entrepreneurship in Chicago, including shared space partnerships, exchange programs for entrepreneurs and outreach to venture capital firms and technology talent. ChicagoNEXT is an outgrowth of World Business Chicago, chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. WBC leads the city’s business retention, attraction and expansion efforts, raises Chicago’s position as a premier global business destination, and guides implementation of the Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs.


Chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago drives regional economic growth. WBC collaborates to create jobs, cultivate talent, and put Chicago at the forefront of the global economy. A unique public-private partnership, WBC engages business and community leaders to advance Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs.