Coordination of Chicago High Tech Summit

Submitted by Stephen Meade

Date: 01-17-2001

The question: “If you were going to start a new technology business, what City would you start it in?”

The goal: To make that answer Chicago.

What is missing?  Seed and Start up Capital (Everything builds from there)

Mission:  To accelerate the process of investing through an increase in knowledge.

Solution: Create an event that fosters an environment of networking, collaboration, leverage, and support.

How to accelerate the growth of the technology community of Chicago

A: Objectives

  • Leverage existing member’s contacts across all industries and throughout the world.
  • Build better networks between and among both members and new contacts
  • Create an atmosphere that encourages more “opportunistic investing”

B: Goals

  • Develop legitimate opportunities for investing in Chicago based tech businesses
  • Build a mechanism for licensing opportunities for traditional and established local firms
  • Develop opportunities for business partnerships between traditional Chicago businesses and the high tech business base

C: Target Groups

  • Local Fortune 500’s and other major Chicago businesses
  • Outside Venture Capital Groups (Chicago vs, non-Chicago? Two different categories?)
  • International Businesses, including Global 2000
  • International Venture Capital Groups

D: Target Date

  • Start immediately with development and formalization of the Network and begin with introductions
  • Formalize process by documenting progress – appoint a “coordinator”
  • Build toward May 17th and synchronize with Executive Club’s Global Tech Event
  • Possible 3 day event that would include:
    1. Executive Club meeting (executives) (day)
    2. Tour of the city and audience with the Mayor/Governor and other State leaders (politicians) (Get “welcome” letter from Mayor for each visitor group – this has lots of clout and costs nothing – both sides get publicity)
    3. Tour of Chicago tech centers, incubators, and university’s (possible gathering of academics) (Again – get letter of thanks from each toured University – has great clout)
    4. Angels and VC’s and Fortune 500 venture arms (get them to sponsor a dinner or dinners
    5. Founders Dinners (Internet Executives) (evening)
    6. KnockNOW! (Cross section of Chicago Technology Society) (evening)
    7. R/D facilities (Fermi- Argon)
    8. Possible Venture presentations on Saturday built around another networking and showcase event. (Varied in terms of stage, type, $ needed)
    9. An idea – have a Presentation Book made up where a little token of each event can be inserted – so that when they leave they have a rather sizeable memento of the event. Acts as a reminder and will document all the contacts they made – place for names, addresses, etc.

E: What are we trying to accomplish and what do we want from invitees?

  • Local Chicago area Companies
    1. Establish better relationships and contact people
    2. Find way to put pressure or leverage on local firms to invest – their “sweet spot”
    3. Build real and better networks – formalize the contact process
    4. Develop local licensing agenda between high tech and traditional Chicago companies
  • Non-Geographic and International Companies
    1. Make connections to Chicago businesses – what business partnerships can help both side’s business success
    2. Establish point of contact locally (a specific organization?)
    3. Gain (personal) point of contact inside firms
    4. Develop a database to delineate what technologies or services companies are searching for to ferret out the best start-ups or developing technologies to put in front of these groups
    5. Find ways for local companies to partner with more International businesses

F: Coordination (sponsoring or organizing entities)

  • DCCA
  • Illinois Coalition
  • Executives Club
  • KnockNOW!
  • Baker McKenzie
  • Founder Dinner
  • Mayor’s Office
  • net

G: Schedule of events

  • Possible tours or event locations
    1. House of Blues
    2. Navy Pier
    3. Let the Mayor’s Office help you w/this

Call to action:

We have a chance to utilize and leverage existing relationships to propel the city past both coasts and position us for growth for the next 20 years. We have a large concentration of Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 business offices in this town, low cost of living strong infrastructure, and the recent stock plunge has leveled the playing field regarding start-ups AND available venture capital.

If we don’t do this……..well, let’s just say, we feel CRISIS is upon us. Without technology start-ups, the area will fall further and further behind. Regardless of the recent publicity, tech is the next generation of business growth in the US.  If we don’t have a fertile field to encourage tech business in this area, we will lose 90% of all the technology companies in Chicago in the next 6 months.