November 30, 2022

Tricia Oak

Business & Finance Excellency

Chicago’s tech and business leaders launch TechChicago

Tech entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and emerging startups collaborate on new brand aimed at attracting and retaining tech professionals in Chicago

CHICAGO, July 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — P33, a non-profit driving inclusive growth for Chicago’s technology sector, in partnership with World Business Chicago, the city’s economic development agency, today announces TechChicago, a brand and storytelling movement tag-lined, “Tech Redefined”, to redefine success in the tech sector and showcase Chicago’s diverse and thriving technology community. 

Growth across Chicago’s tech sector is at an all-time high – and showing no signs of slowdown. In 2021, Chicago minted 12 unicorns (6x growth from 2020), tech companies secured a whopping $7 billion in funding (2.5x growth from 2020), and local VC firms raised $5.6 billion in funds (more than double 2020). Yet despite this momentous growth, the fight for talent is fierce. Attracting and retaining tech workers and startups – not only in Chicago, but across the nation – remains a major challenge.

The launch of TechChicago kicks off the first-ever TechChicago Week, three days of events geared towards connecting Chicago’s tech community. TechChicago Week runs from July 12th – 14th and includes keynote addresses and fireside chats with individuals such as Governor J.B. Pritzker, Mike Gamson, CEO of Relativity, and many more tech leaders in Chicago. TechChicago Week concludes with TechChicago Day on July 14th, a full day of events including networking opportunities and afterparties with leaders in Chicago’s tech sector.

The campaign builds on the Come Back to Move Forward pilot campaign, which launched in 2021, and reached 1.2 million technology professionals across the nation in the first few weeks alone. 6.3 million tech professionals exist across North America and TechChicago aims to reach a large majority of them (CBRE’s 2021 Tech Talent Report), 

“What differentiates Chicago’s tech identity is our commitment to building an inclusive ecosystem, our robust tech infrastructure and regional resources, and our Midwest pragmatism that focuses on building essential companies – not tech for tech’s sake,” said Kristi Ross, Co-Founder, tastytrade and first-ever female tech unicorn, city of Chicago. “Tech companies here lean into problems that will shape modern life in the next century, like how we feed the world sustainably, move global products despite a pandemic, use data for life-saving health and science research, and power the future of clean energy.”

The brand launch includes more than a dozen entrepreneurs, VCs, and startup leaders who are working together to showcase different narratives and faces of Chicago’s tech industry, including:

  • Nature’s Fynd – Future-of-food company nourishing people and nurturing the planet, inspired by NASA research in Yellowstone National Park
  • Cyber Pop-up – Marketplace connecting high-demand businesses with the in-demand need for affordable cybersecurity to protect them
  • Dream Hustle Code – Inspiring Black and Brown youth’s confidence in computer science and coding
  • Rheaply – Powering the circular economy and a more sustainable future with its resource exchange platform
  • Bringg – Cloud-based software transforming the future of food delivery
  • Sugar Gamers – Inclusivity-focused community for the gaming industry
  • Ocient – Enabling rapid analysis and management of the world’s largest datasets

“TechChicago was created by and for our tech community – and now it’s time for our community to rally behind a common voice and identity for the entire world to see and understand,” said Dr. Garry Cooper, CEO and Co-Founder of Rheaply and P33 board member. “By sharing authentic stories of the founders, innovators, tech workers, and changemakers in our city, we hope to welcome more founders and tech workers into our diverse, resourced, pragmatic, and thriving tech community.”

The TechChicago brand launch will encompass digital marketing and social media strategies including:

  • Launch of the new TechChicago website to serve as a community resource
  • Targeted digital marketing running in national markets (including San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Austin, and other tech hubs) aimed at tech students and professionals in computer science, engineering, software, cloud, AI/ML, and more
  • Social media storytelling on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Events and community activations to engage Chicago-based and national tech talent, venture capitalists, founders, and technology leaders

“Now more than ever, we need a new picture of what success looks like in tech; moving beyond an image of the solo celebrity tech entrepreneurs to the picture of diverse faces and purpose-driven companies providing an opportunity for everyone in tech,” said Desiree Vargas Wrigley, Chief Innovation Officer at P33.

“The record-breaking growth we’re seeing in venture capital funding – particularly among early-stage Black and Latin founders, as well as in our core industries like Food and Agriculture, Transportation and Logistics, and Manufacturing and Healthcare – solidifies our standing as a global tech hub distinct from coastal cities. It’s time for the world to look to the heartland for the future of tech,” Vargas Wrigley adds.

For more information about TechChicago and to get involved visit: www.gotechchicago.com.

About TechChicago

TechChicago is a movement of Chicagoland’s tech and business leaders to increase visibility around the region’s innovation strengths. Launched in partnership with P33, World Business Chicago, and Chicago’s most notable and emerging technology leaders, TechChicago aims to build a common identity and understanding of Chicago’s tech community, while highlighting the region’s significant growth and standing as a national and global technology hub and leader. To learn more about TechChicago or plug into the community, visit www.gotechchicago.com.

About World Business Chicago (WBC)

World Business Chicago serves a critical role in driving inclusive and equitable recovery throughout the city’s 77 neighborhoods, focused on high growth sectors: transportation, distribution, & logistics; manufacturing; healthcare & life sciences, and our local innovation, startup, & venture ecosystem. As the City of Chicago’s economic development agency, World Business Chicago leads corporate attraction & retention, workforce & talent, community impact, and promotion of Chicago as a leading global city. Supported by a council of 300+ local leaders, World Business Chicago’s portfolio of innovation & venture programs include: the Chicago Venture Summit series, Startup Chicago, ThinkChicago, and Venture Engine with the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC). Follow World Business Chicago on LinkedIn for daily news and announcements on company relocation and expansion; industry and ecosystem growth, U.S. and world rankings, and more about Chicago’s economic progress. 

About P33 

P33 is a privately funded non-profit focused on driving inclusive, global tech and innovation leadership in Chicago. P33’s work is anchored in deep research and driven by a need to unlock the potential of the digital age to solve some of the toughest problems facing Chicago, such as equitable access to digital careers, talent retention, deep science commercialization, and gaps in our growth-stage startup ecosystem. Launched in 2019, P33 is co-chaired by Penny Pritzker, former Secretary of Commerce and founder and chairman of PSP Partners; Chris Gladwin, CEO and Cofounder of Ocient and Cleversafe; and Kelly Welsh, President of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago. www.p33chicago.com 

Media Contact: Erin Amico, [email protected] 

SOURCE P33