By Megan Colgan (@MegColgan), Content for Sente Advisory (@Sente_Advisory)
Collaboration is key to 1871’s success as an influential and thriving startup incubation platform. To support its over 400 early-stage, high-growth Chicago startups, 1871 is expanding its influence globally.
Here are five ways 1871 is attracting more exposure, resources, funding, startups and talent for Chicago via global collaboration.
1. Showcasing its startups abroad
In 2015, 1871 teamed up with Toronto-based accelerator INcubes to launch a showcase, called Going Global, of ten companies from Chicago and Toronto to foster expansion internationally between the Canadian or US markets.
"It is critical for companies to be globally enabled from the earliest stages of their development in order to be successful in today’s economy. With access to capital, customers and talent, Chicago is the best place for international companies to launch into the US market," Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, said of the cross-border collaboration.
“Going Global was an amazing opportunity to meet with fellow entrepreneurs, investors and senior policy officials from both side of the border,” said Jonah Midanik, founder and CEO of Limelight Platform, a participating startup, in an interview with Betakit. “The cross border connections from this event have already yielded tangible benefits for us.”
This is just one example of 1871 fostering relationships with foreign innovation hubs across the globe. ChicagoInno reported that in the past year, 1871 has formalized agreements with incubators in London, Tel Aviv and Mexico City.
2. Attracting globally-renowned speakers and visitors
In the last three years, 1871 has built a reputation as Chicago's most high-profile address for exposure to the startup and innovation ecosystem.
Dignitaries such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and tech celebrities such as Scott McNealy, Steve Ballmer, Steve Case, Ben Horowitz, Padmasree Warrior, Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Cuban, and Christy Turlington have made special stops at 1871 when in Chicago.
Alongside the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, 1871 hosted the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Initiative led by the US Department of State and nonprofit CRDF Global, which aims to build entrepreneurial ecosystems in 54 countries across the Middle East, Turkey, Asia and Africa. It was the first time in the history of the GIST program that the Demo Day had been held outside of Silicon Valley.
Whether it is visiting venture capitalists, international leaders, or global policy makers, 1871 has become a must-see spot. Accordingly, the startup community at 1871 reaps the benefits of such a global spotlight.
3. Aligning with foreign affairs think tanks
Beyond attracting top leaders directly, 1871 formed a partnership with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs to position the incubator on the front lines of technology and global affairs dialogue.
The partnership is an innovative exchange program where each organization shares the prominent visitors they attract annually with the other for interactive exchanges and roundtable discussions.
The best part is, 1871’s entrepreneurs are invited to participate. Last year, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with 1871 community members while she was in the city to address the inaugural Chicago Forum on Global Cities, hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Financial Times.
“The Chicago Council on Global Affairs strives to be a driving force in bringing the world to Chicago, and Chicago to the world...” said Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, President of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in a press release. “By collaborating with 1871, we’re leveraging the high-tech and entrepreneurial sector that is an important pillar in Chicago’s standing as a global city.”
These multidisciplinary and collaborative forums showcase Chicago as a global city and 1871’s startup community as thought leaders about the future innovation economy.
4. Global education partnerships
In 2014, 1871 formed a strategic partnership with Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. Pearson has relationships with Chicago Public Schools and Chicago City Colleges, along with many K-12 and higher education institutions around the world.
“We think Pearson’s deep experience in the education industry and global reach will be extremely valuable to the startups in our community,” said Tullman in an interview with Edukwest.
“We’re committed to addressing some of the biggest challenges in education and believe that partnering with the startup community is vital for stimulating greater innovation in the industry and improving learning outcomes,” said Diana Stepner, VP of Innovation Partnerships and Developer Relations.
Pearson collaborates with developers, global startups, and a growing community of innovation partners, such as 1871, RocketSpace, 1776, LearnLaunch, MaRS and Makerversity.
This collaboration puts 1871 inside the global innovation learning community and offers connections, a network and resources that can benefit the incubator’s EdTech startups.
5. Housing international startup accelerators
In 2015, as an international startup accelerator, Sente Advisory became 1871’s exclusive international program partner. Sente partners with universities, private institutions and investors in emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems to run accelerator programs for growth-stage startups aiming to launching their businesses in the US market by establishing their US footprint in Chicago, with 1871 as its base.
Sente preps companies alongside their partners abroad for 8 weeks. Then, Sente brings in the top talent from around the world to the Chicago ecosystem to launch in the US via the 1871 community. In the last two years Sente’s alumni have raised over $10M in funding, generated over $54M in revenue, and are operating in 41 countries to create jobs and deliver solutions.
“As the center of Chicago’s entrepreneurial community and the nation’s largest digital startup hub, 1871 is uniquely placed to showcase the abundant resources that allow entrepreneurs from across the globe to come to Chicago and thrive,” Tullman said of the partnership. “We believe Chicago is the premier point of entry to the US market for any international company.”
Global collaboration as a competitive edge
These are just five examples of varying ways 1871 is gaining an edge for its entrepreneurs and community on the international stage. The leaders of 1871 are continuing to foster ongoing relationships with key international community leaders, public officials, non-profit organizations and major corporations. Check out Sente's here!