Oculus co-founder Steve LaValle and VC Steve Jurvetson key speakers. JP Morgan Chase, Google, William Blair and Goldman Sachs lead sponsors
CHICAGO, April 7, 2016 – ChicagoNEXT, the innovation and technology development arm of World Business Chicago, announced the second Chicago Venture Summit will be held on April 21, building off the successful summit in October 2014, which brought national attention to the flourishing Chicago technology and start-up scene. The Chicago Venture Summit offers investors one-on-one access to emerging companies, as well as access to leaders from Chicago’s Fortune 500 firms.
The 2016 Chicago Venture Summit will include an inside look at how prominent family offices assess investment opportunities, guiding strategies for corporate venture arms and how Chicago’s top universities develop thriving start-up ecosystems. In 2015, Illinois firms recorded $1.12 billion in venture funding, up from $1.05 billion the year before, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.
“Chicago’s thriving start-up scene is a testament to our talent, our universities, and our ecosystem of ideas that is driving entrepreneurship and innovation all throughout our city,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who will open the 2016 Chicago Venture Summit. “I look forward to building on the success of Chicago’s last Venture Summit and continuing to support our start-up community as they create the kind of jobs and innovations that make Chicago a world-class destination.”
Steve LaValle, the principal scientist for Oculus VR before its purchase by Facebook, will discuss how the Oculus Rift came into existence and how today’s entrepreneurs can build upon Virtual Reality as a new technology platform. In 2015, PitchBook reported that $4 billion was invested in VR startups. Steve Jurvetson, a partner at Silicon Valley venture firm DFJ and responsible for the firm’s investments in Tesla Motors and SpaceX, will close the summit at a ‘fireside chat’ on his proven perspective on identifying game-changing start-ups.
During the day, presenting start-ups for the 2016 Chicago Venture Summit will feature technology companies that have already raised capital and are seeking additional finance rounds. These companies have demonstrated innovative solutions to real-world problems with strong product market fit and growing customer bases.
”Chicago is a hotbed of innovation and has birthed nearly a dozen companies with substantial exits in recent years,” said Mark Tebbe, Chairman, ChicagoNEXT. “There are dozens more in the pipeline we believe investors should be aware of, and that’s why we are pleased to bring the Chicago Venture Summit back for a second year.”
Along with lead sponsors JP Morgan, Google, William Blair and Goldman Sachs, additional sponsors of the 2016 Chicago Venture Summit include PrivateBank, Silicon Valley Bank, Origin Ventures, GE Ventures, Microsoft, Pritzker Group, Foley & Lardner LLP, Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, and Lightbank