Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Starting Up in Chicago

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2014-08-30

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Chicago has always been a major hub for business. From its early days as a leader in manufacturing, to its world class business schools, Chicago is known for staying ahead of the curve. Keeping up with this fast-paced city is the heart and soul of Chicago business – its entrepreneurs.

To give you a better idea of what starting a business in Chicago is all about, we compiled this short series of videos by some of our best Chicago mentors. This crash course in entrepreneurship will give you a taste of what it’s like to start up in the Windy City, and begin building your dream company in Chicago.

Watch the videos below to learn more about starting up in Chicago with the Founder Institute. If you could benefit from expert training and advice to launch a startup in Chicago, apply today.


How to Create a Strong Startup Brand, by Joe Bezdek at the Chicago Founder Institute



Your biggest risk is that no one will remember what your startup does. It will be forgotten in an endless sea of "revolutionary," "social" something-something-somethings. “The key to getting people to remember what you do is to get them to care about you,” says Joe Bezdek, Co-Founder of DivX, which went public in 2006.

In the talk above, Joe explains that the way to get people to care about you is to create a brand. The most successful and most admired companies consciously and purposefully create brands, but most startups pay little, if any, attention to this critical asset. Joe explains what a brand is, gives some tips on how to build an effective one, and offers suggestions on how to pick a good name that matches your brand.


How to Find the Best Co-Founders, by Joe Abraham at the Chicago Founder Institute



Why do some startup fail and others succeed? Could it be the idea? Access to capital?  Perhaps the secret to startup success actually lies in who you choose as your cofounder. According to BOSI Global Founder Joe Abraham, most successful companies started with just two things: complimentary cofounders, and team members. “Not all entrepreneurs are the same”, says Joe, “and when you begin to match people according to their entrepreneurial DNA, it's game- changing”. 

Watch the video above to learn more.


How to Use Metrics to Win Over Investors, by Eric Broughton at the Chicago Founder Institute



The breadth of knowledge you have about your startup’s metrics and its place in the market is often a ‘make it or break it’ factor for most VCs. Knowing accurate statistics, as well as how your company will perform, are key elements for every pitch deck and investor meeting. Without these, you probably won’t be taken seriously, says Eric Broughton, President and COO of YieldTechnologies, Inc. and  the Founder and Visionary behind RentSocial, a social renting site. 

In the above video, Eric explains the fundamentals of startup research and which metrics VCs expect to see in your pitch deck and your team.


How to Raise Money in Chicago, by Michael Evans at the Chicago Founder Institute




Coming to the decision to pursue funding is no easy matter, but it’s a piece of cake compared to the ominous beast of successfully securing funding. Knowing how to present yourself, your company, and your story can make all the difference. However, knowing when to push back and when to walk away from an investor can also prove critical to the process.

In the talk above, Mike Evans (Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of GrubHub) shares his learned expertise in how to approach and engage with investors, as well as how to view the benefits and brick sandwiches that come with every deal (**the numbers used are speculative and the expressed opinion of Mike alone).

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