Home to both big enterprise companies and a wide variety of startups, Chicago is a rising star in the tech world. Without question, the tech scene in the windy city has been flourishing. Let’s take a tour of the who’s, what’s and where’s.
Chicago Tech Community Resources
The City of Chicago
Chicago even has its own Github account at github.com/Chicago.
On Twitter: @ChicagoCTO
Built In Chicago
A community site for connecting startup and tech people in Chicago, builtinchicago.org is the place to go to learning about startup people, companies and events happening in the city. They have great resources, like a Map of Chicago Startups, an ever-updating list of local mergers, acquistions & ipos and links to Chicago tech & startup articles. They can even help you find a job (or hire somebody).
On Twitter: @BuiltInChicago
Without question, 1871 is a center of innovation in the city. Launched as a giant co-working space for digital startups located in the Merchandise Mart its stated goal is to ‘provide Chicago startups with affordable workspace and access to mentors, programming, educational resources, potential investors and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs’. Great events and workshops are frequently held there, many of them open to the public.
On Twitter: @1871Chicago
Chicago Inno features news and info about Chicago tech, startups, innovation, funding, and more. They also run a number of events throughout the year and publish email newsletters about Chicago tech.
On Twitter: @ChicagoInno
The Chicago Innovation Awards
The mission of The Chicago Innovation Awards is to make Chicago a recognized hub of innovation by igniting a new narrative for our region, strengthening its economic future and building the spirit of innovation throughout the community. They have launched a variety of events, programs and activities to accomplish this mission.
On Twitter: @Chi_Innovation
Education & Training
Mobile Makers Academy
At Mobile Makers Academy, you will learn to build iPhone and iPad apps in a real-world environment through demonstration, discussion, and doing, all under the guidance of expert developers and educators.
On Twitter: @MobileMakers
BLUE1647 is an entrepreneurship and technology innovation center that fosters economic development in technology and 21st Century skills through people development (classes, workshops, and events around technology), workforce development (through youth and adult technology programs to prepare individuals for high-demand jobs) and Business Acceleration (through shared coworking-services).
On Twitter: @BLUE1647
CPL Maker Lab
The Maker Lab, on the 3rd floor of the Harold Washington Library Center, offers free workshops, open lab hours and drop-in demonstrations. You can sign up for their workshops and classes on their Eventbrite page.
On Twitter: @ChiPubLib
General Assembly offers full-time immersive programs, long-form courses, and classes and workshops on the most relevant skills of the 21st century – from web development and user experience design, to business fundamentals, to data science, to product management and digital marketing.
On Twitter: @GA_Chicago
Dev Bootcamp is the first short-term, immersive bootcamp that transforms beginners into full-stack web developers in 19 weeks (9 weeks remote part-time + 9 weeks on-site full time + 1 week career prep). They also host many tech training events, workshops and meetups.
On Twitter: @DevBootcamp
Girl Develop It
Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their every day lives.
On Twitter: @gdichicago
Chicago Founders’ Stories
For the city’s digital startups, there’s no shortage of local inspiration. Success stories abound and Chicago Founders’ Stories is the chance to hear the story straight from the mouths of the Founders.
On Twitter: @ChiFounders
Power Up Tech Academy
Power Up Tech Academy teaches computer programming to kids as young as 5 in a playful setting. “The awareness of coding as a 21st century skill set -- some say literacy -- is emerging rapidly in our education system, but the schools can only do so much with the time they have and the shortage of computer-science specialists,” said Power Up founder Tamasin Ford, a software developer who couldn’t find coding classes for her 10-year-old nephew.
On Twitter: @powerupta
The Startup Institute delivers an eight-week program to give you the Skills, Mindset & Network to get a job at a startup and thrive in your new career.
On Twitter: @StartupInst
The Starter League
Formerly known as Code Academy and now aligned with superstar web product company 37signals, Starter League has classes to teach people how to “code, design, & ship web apps”. They offer programs four quarters per year with classes taught by leading web pros like Mig Reyes and Shay Howe. Located at 1871, their students have full access to classrooms and plenty of open co-working space.
On Twitter: @StarterLeague
On Twitter: @coding_temple
Tribeca Flashpoint College
Tribeca Flashpoint College is a bachelor’s degree-granting institution located in downtown Chicago, specializing in media, arts, and communications. They offer programs in film, design, marketing, animation, audio engineering, and more.
On Twitter: @TribecaChicago
The Digital Professional Institute
DPI is more than just a school. It’s your studio. It’s your office. It’s your dev shop. It’s your network. And your peers are your colleagues. Our courses reflect the same hands-on, real-world application philosophy of Tribeca Flashpoint College, our affiliate institution and one of the most sophisticated digital media arts colleges in the nation. In short, you can expect fewer lectures and more action.
On Twitter: @ChiDPI
Chicago Interactive Design & Development (CIDD)
For Chicago interactive professionals, CIDD has published some of their hosted talks on YouTube.
On Twitter: @CIDDmeetup
Chicago Mobile Meetup
For mobile application development enthusiasts.
On Twitter: @SolsticeMobile
Chicago Area Product Management Association
ChiPMA, The Chicago Area Product Management Association, is all about helping product management professional get better at designing, building and launching digital products and services.
Join at meetup.com/chiPMA
On Twitter: @ChicagoPMA
Chicago PyLadies are passionate about creating spaces for women to share their personal and professional projects, work collaboratively, and create Python focused workshops to continue our learning..
Join at meetup.com/Chicago-PyLadies/
On Twitter: @pyladieschicago
Chicago Women Developers (CWDevs)
Chicago Women Developers (CWDevs) is run by a group of women from a variety of background and technical expertise with one thing in common: passion about coding and women in tech. They host a variety of classes and events for women at all technical skill levels.
Join at meetup.com/WomanDevelopers
On Twitter: @CWDevs
CHIHTML5 meets regularly to discuss web design and development topics.
Join at meetup.com/chicago-html5
On Twitter: @mattienodj
Coding While Black
Coding While Black is a community of black technology entrepreneurs, professionals, and students who are committed to working together to support and encourage black achievement in technology. We do this by building real-time community in safe, inclusive technology and community-oriented venues throughout Chicago.
On Twitter: @codewhileblack
Data Science Chicago
Data Science Chicago brings together people interested in data science: the analytical "statistics and machine learning" side, the creative "visualization and design" side, the verbal "communication and story-telling" side, and especially the areas in between those extremes.
Join at meetup.com/Data-Science-Chicago
On Twitter: @ChicagoData
Geekfest is a gathering of software development geeks every Tuesday at noon at Groupon.
Join at meetup.com/Geekfest
On Twitter: @GrouponEng
Queer Tech Club
Queer Tech Club gets LGBT technology professionals from throughout the Chicago region together for networking, socializing, and exchanging ideas.
Join at queertechclub.com
On Twitter: @queertechclub
From some of the team behind Chicago Camps, Refresh Chicago is a community of designers and developers working to refresh the creative, technical and professional culture of New Media endeavors in their areas. Promoting design, technology, usability and standards.
Join at meetup.com/Refresh-Chicago
On Twitter: @RefreshChi
Tech in Motion
Bringing the local tech community together, Tech in Motion topics are broad in the hopes that people of all disciplines and skillsets can come and learn something new each time.
Join at meetup.com/TechinMotionChicago
On Twitter: @Tech_in_Motion
Women Who Code
Women Who Code is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers by creating a global, connected community of women in technology.
On Twitter: @WWCChicago
There are many more meetup groups, including ones on specific programming languages. View them all (or even start your own) at meetup.com
Events & Conferences
Chicago Camps was formed and founded with the intention of bringing high-value, low-cost events to the technology community. Part of our goal is to help find new talent and topics and provide a forum for those to be shared. We work hard to make our events a worthwhile investment of your money and time, and also to help support local speakers.
Past Chicago Camps events include Mobile Camp, UX Camp, Speaker Camp and Prototype Camp.
On Twitter: @ChicagoCamps
Tech Month Chicago
Tech Month Chicago is a month-long series of special events in June, 2016 showcasing the depth and diversity of technology, math, science and invention in Chicago.
On Twitter: @TechMonth
Chicago Ideas Week
Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) is about the sharing of ideas, inspiring action, and igniting change to positively impact our world. People who come to CIW are artists, engineers, technologists, inventors, scientists, musicians, economists, explorers — and, well...just innately passionate. For one week each October, CIW brings together some of the world's most outstanding speakers to present their ideas and inspire the innovations of tomorrow at 80+ sessions across the city of Chicago. CIW aims to be the platform for sharing big ideas and making big things happen.
On Twitter: @chicagoideas
CEOs, entrepreneurs, innovators, and dreamers meet at Techweek to see what’s next. Anyone who helps build, support, or celebrate the tech ecosystem in Chicago is encouraged to learn from top speakers, meet their next co-founder at the Expo or at one of our Gatherings, and demo the newest products making waves in Chicago.
On Twitter: @techweek
An online publishing and communication platform, Technori is all about empowering people to start new ventures. They provide “curated content, expert advice, and a passionate network of tomorrow’s startup leaders.” Each month, they put on Technori Pitch, a startup launch event open to the public where founders present their pitches before a crowd of 550 people.
On Twitter: @Technori
WebVisions explores the future of design, content creation, user experience and business strategy in an event that inspires learning, collaboration and entrepreneurism. Since 2001, it has been the “creative conference for the Web”.
On Twitter: @webvisions
The Chicago chapter of a global startup community designed to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs. Their monthly meetups feature fireside chats and Q&A sessions some of the biggest names in the Chicago tech community.
On Twitter: @StartupGrind
Creative Mornings is a monthly breakfast lecture series of creative types. Each event is free of charge, and includes a 20 minute talk, plus coffee!
On Twitter: @Chicago_CM
Podcasts and Radio
Tech In Chicago
Tech Scene Chicago is an independently produced talk radio show featured on 105.5 Lumpen Radio, WLPN focusing on technology events in the Chicago area.
Lumpen Radio: lumpenradio.com/
Tech In Chicago
Tech In Chicago takes you inside the Chicago tech world. Each week Colin Keeley is joined by Chicago’s top founders and investors to talk about the amazing companies being built right here.
The Chicago Inno Show
The Chicago Inno Show features news and info about Chicago tech, startups, innovation, funding, and more.
Lumpen Radio: lumpenradio.com/chicagoinno
Incubators & Coworking Spaces
1871 is Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital startups. Three types of co-working memberships offer choices for entrepreneurs in different stages of building their businesses.
On Twitter: @1871Chicago
Illinois Technology Association
ITA is a business services organization dedicated to growth-stage technology companies in Illinois and Greater Chicago.
On Twitter: @ITAbuzz
TechNexus is a national venture collaborative that assembles entrepreneurs, engineers, and disruptive technologies so that companies can remain or become industry leaders.
On Twitter: @TechNexus
MATTER is a community of healthcare entrepreneurs and industry leaders working together in a shared space to individually and collectively fuel the future of healthcare innovation.
On Twitter: @MATTERChicago
2112 is Chicago’s first business incubator focused on the development of entrepreneurs in music, film/video and creative industry-focused technologies.
On Twitter: @2112inc
Space is a Chicago co–working community with access to opportunities for people who are serious about success.
On Twitter: @SPACEbydoejo
Grind isn’t an office, itrsquo;s the antidote to offices. A members-only shared workspace and coworking community dedicated to taking all of the frustrations of working the old way and pulverizing them to a dust so fine it actually oils the wheels of the machine.
On Twitter: @grindspaces
Catapult is a non-profit working space and collaborative community of digital startups that have demonstrated business traction. A unique cross between an incubator and a co-working space with a peer selected community of talented, ambitious, like-minded entrepreneurs.
On Twitter: @CatapultChi
There are many cool and interesting tech spaces in Chicago, with new ones launching all the time. To keep up with the best tech spaces in the city, check out Chicago Creative Space. If you would like to be listed on this page, send an email to email@example.com. Preferential treatment will be given to spaces that host free or moderately priced events for the Chicago tech community.
VC Firms & Investors
The Impact Engine
Impact Engine is an investment fund that empowers entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors to make a positive impact on society. Through financial and human capital, we help for-profit businesses address the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges.
On Twitter: @TheImpactEngine
Hyde Park Angels
Hyde Park Angels is the largest and most active angel group in the Midwest. With a membership of over 100 successful entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists, the organization prides itself on providing critical strategic expertise to entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial community. By leveraging the members’ deep and broad knowledge of multiple industries and financial capital, Hyde Park Angels has driven multiple exits and invested millions of dollars in over 30 portfolio companies that have created over 500 jobs in the Midwest since 2006.
On Twitter: @hydeparkangels
Bigtime startup accelerator TechStars joined forces with Excelerate Labs, to create TechStars Chicago, the premiere seed funding and mentorship source for startups in Chicago. Managing Director Troy Henikoff leads the group of over 75 VC firms, angel investors and hundreds of entrepreneur mentors as they invest in young companies and take them through “startup bootcamp”.
On Twitter: @techstars
Pritzker Group VC
On Twitter: @PritzkerVC
Chicago Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund. They invest in exceptional entrepreneurs and their innovative technology companies that are disrupting a large market opportunity.
On Twitter: @ChicagoVentures
West Loop Ventures
West Loop Ventures are futurists funding the next wave of human capital propelling our communities forward. They seek to find new ways out of “the box”. Our investments and entrepreneurs are our roadmap to new ideas, self expression, and the pursuit of happiness.
On Twitter: @westloopv
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