CHICAGO, May 26, 2022 – Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today welcomes more than 600 venture capitalists & investors, founders, innovators, and corporate executives for a sold-out Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food, the city’s new flagship food innovation conference led by World Business Chicago. The two-day conference concludes today at 167 Green in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. The Chicago Venture Summit series is led by World Business Chicago, with the support of 40 sponsors.
“Our local food innovation and startup ecosystem is core to our city’s economic progress and future prosperity,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “As the global capital for food innovation with the largest concentration of food and beverage Fortune 500s, I’m honored to welcome more than 600 founders, innovators and investors for our first-ever Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food.”
According to Pitchbook data, Chicago food innovation companies raised $732 million in venture capital in 2021 alone, a 508 percent increase over 2019. In Q1 2022, local companies raised $111 million in venture capital.
“Our first-ever Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food is part of our expanded summit series focused on driving growth for our city’s most important sectors” said Mark Tebbe, Chair of World Business Chicago’s Innovation & Venture Council. “As our city’s flagship founders and investors conference, our first-ever sector-focused summit continues to lead as one of the nation’s premier startup and venture events”
Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food 2022 (the “Summit”) kicked off on May 25 with a series of innovation showcases led by Chicago’s leading food innovation hubs and investors: Food Foundry, Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, and Cleveland Avenue. Of the more than 600 registered for the sold-out Summit, this year’s event includes representation from 80+ VC/investment firms, 14+ Fortune 500s, 20 Consul Generals and trade offices, and 110+ local startups. The majority of startups in the Summit startup portfolio are led by either a female and/or founder of color. Today’s program includes the following:
“Growth across all industries and sectors in Chicago is being enabled through tech and innovation,” says Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago; and, Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago. “Today Chicago’s food, beverages, and agriculture sector is the nation’s largest, generating over nine billion annually and employing over 65 thousand people; where over 2800 companies located here are actively participating and contributing to the city’s vibrant startup and venture ecosystem.”
Aligned with World Business Chicago’s mission to drive equitable and inclusive growth, the Summit will donate a portion of the event’s proceeds to various non-profits: the Children First Fund (The Chicago Public Schools Foundation), the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Hatchery Chicago, and Urban Growers Collective.
World Business Chicago is proud to have the critical support of inaugural presenting sponsors – Accenture, BMO, Cleveland Avenue, Cooley, Deloitte, Ferrero, Ingredion, JLL, JP Morgan, P33, Quaker Foods, and Shapack Partners:
The Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food would not be possible without the active partnership of sponsors whose financial contributions directly support the participation of local founders who are part of the Summit’s official startup portfolio. Innovation Sponsors include SRS Acquiom, Uber, and Valor Equity Partners. Startup Sponsors include 2112, Beam Suntory, Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, Clique Studios, Food Foundry, Foxtrot, Ice Miller, The Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Kraft Heinz, Mars Wrigley, Mondelez, Naturally Chicago, Supply Change Capital, The Hatchery, and The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), Venture Partners include Bluestein Ventures, Capitalize VC, DOM Capital Group, Germin8 Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, Lofty Ventures, S2G Ventures, Sandbox Industries, Serra Ventures, and Zila Ventures.
For a second year in a row, the Chicago Venture Summit is excited to return to 167 Green in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. The 640,000 square foot office building, developed by Shapack Partners and Focus and owned in partnership with Walton Street Capital, is a testament to its location and design. Recently, CCC Information Services, Foxtrot, FTX U.S., and others have announced their headquarters’ relocation to the building, joining Kroll, WeWork and other innovative companies at 167 Green in their move to Fulton Market District. 167 Green features one of Chicago’s largest Town Hall spaces, which doubles as a full size basketball court on the top floor of the building, in addition to a rooftop terrace, sitting room, game room and gym.
To learn more about the Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food agenda, startup portfolio, and speakers, please visit www.chicagoventuresummit.com.
ABOUT WORLD BUSINESS CHICAGO (WBC):
World Business Chicago serves a critical role in driving inclusive and equitable recovery throughout the city’s 77 neighborhoods, focused on high growth sectors: transportation, distribution, & logistics; manufacturing; healthcare & life sciences, and our local innovation, startup, & venture ecosystem. As the City of Chicago’s economic development agency, World Business Chicago leads corporate attraction & retention, workforce & talent, community impact, and promotion of Chicago as a leading global city. Supported by a council of 300+ local leaders, World Business Chicago’s portfolio of innovation & venture programs include: the Chicago Venture Summit series, Startup Chicago, ThinkChicago, and Venture Engine with the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC). Follow World Business Chicago on LinkedIn for daily news and announcements on company relocation and expansion; industry and ecosystem growth, U.S. and world rankings, and more about Chicago’s economic progress.
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Source: World Business Chicago
Andrew Hayes, 312-823-4333