In the last few days, Chicago has popped up in the news around venture capital, startups, and technology. Not only has it been garnering attention for the $70M raise by Tempus and as a likely site for the new Amazon headquarters, but earlier this month hundreds of top-tier coastal venture capitalists came to the city for the Chicago Venture Summit. Their goal was to understand the Midwest market opportunity so they could find their own record-busting unicorns like the Chicago-based companies Uptake and Raise, the latter of which raised $60M led by Accel last week.
Why is this happening – why are tech giants and VCs betting on Chicago?
The answer is simple: Talented entrepreneurs starting great companies in hot industries, and higher investor returns.
Chicago is a major player when it comes to investing in both dollars and deals nationally. Since 2014, venture capitalists have been investing more dollars in fewer deals, starting with $50B in 8,000 deals in 2014 and moving to nearly $80B at the same number of deals in 2015, and $70B in just under 7,000 deals in 2016 across the U.S. This indicates a flight to quality, one that Illinois has matched across its own cycle, with approximately $1.5B in 225 deals in 2014, $2B in 200 deals in 2015, and just under $1.5B in 125 deals in 2016. Read the full story here.