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Author's profile photo Don Ginocchio

Great Startup Events at 1871 Chicago

On Wednesday of this week I attended two exciting startup events at 1871 Chicago.

The first was NEXT GEN: Entrepreneurs You Should Know which provided an opportunity to meet a group of young founders who are building businesses, breaking molds, and paving the way for future entrepreneurs everywhere. 1871 welcomed a group of incredible young people who have taken the leap into startup-dom, proving it’s never too early to become an entrepreneur! From apps to AI to culinary creations, these young entrepreneurs have turned bright ideas into reality, and they shared their perspectives, lessons learned, and unique journeys on the stage.

  • Trisha Prahbu, ReThink
  • Lauren Robinson, FoodVie
  • Abu Qadar, GliaLab
  • Felix Castillo, Felix’s Famous Cookies
  • Lilly Schneider, Lillycakes

Later in the day, 1871 in partnership with 1776 and Revolution, hosted the Challenge Cup Chicago, where 8 startups pitched for the chance to win a trip to the Global Final round of Challenge Cup! Challenge Cup is a worldwide tournament for the most promising, innovative startups to win prizes, make connections, and share their vision on a global stage. This year, 1776 is partnering with 75 cities to host Challenge Cup Local events, and 1871 was excited to host the competition for Chicago’s top startups!

The eight presenting startups were:

  • Mesh – High speed wireless for remote locations
  • Advocatia Solutions – Building a better future for the uninsured
  • myLoop – an engagement platform that enables business associations to drive, engage and retain its members
  • ChoreRelief – connects consumers with service providers with the ability to do chores and small projects
  • Electric Spokes – a social venture that provides small-scale wind turbines to families in the developing world
  • Gather – simplifies and centralizes civic engagement
  • Asenda – nonprofit board management
  • Sidekick Education – turn current problems of corporate partners into standards-aligned, personalized curricula

One winner (SideKick) advanced with a free trip to the Global Finals at Challenge Festival from November 13-17, 2017. There, the finalists will compete for the grand prizes as well as spend time with the investors, customers, media and other key connections that can help them succeed on a global scale.


The story of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 isn’t really about the fire. It’s about what happened next: A remarkable moment when the most brilliant engineers, architects and inventors came together to build a new city. Their innovations – born of passion and practical ingenuity – shaped not just Chicago, but the modern world. What started 140 years ago continues to this day.

Founded in 2012, 1871 was created to support Chicago’s digital startup community. Since that time, it has become the hub for the city’s thriving technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today 1871 is the home of more than 400 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 120,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, industry-specific incubators, tech talent schools, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition — the state’s leading technology advocate, a number of Chicago-based VCs, and satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, DeVry University, and DePaul University. Chicago’s brightest digital designers, engineers and entrepreneurs are shaping new technologies, disrupting old business models, and resetting the boundaries of what’s possible.

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