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Cleveland Avenue, LLC Ceo Don Thompson & Vital Proteins Ceo Tracey Warner Halama Headline First-ever Chicago Venture Summit, Future-of-Food May 25-26, 2022
May 9, 2022

Cleveland Avenue, LLC Ceo Don Thompson & Vital Proteins Ceo Tracey Warner Halama Headline First-ever Chicago Venture Summit, Future-of-Food May 25-26, 2022


World Business Chicago
180 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60601

Media Contact: Andrew Hayes 312-823-4333

For Immediate Release

MAY 25-26, 2022

World Business Chicago’s annual venture summit expands to food innovation, May 25-26, 2022. Over 400 founders, innovators, and investors, will meet to discuss why Chicago is a global food innovation hub.

CHICAGO – World Business Chicago, the City of Chicago’s economic development organization, announces Don Thompson, CEO & Founder of Cleveland Avenue, and Tracey Warner Halama, CEO of Vital Proteins, as keynotes for the 2022 Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food. 

“As we expand the Chicago Venture Summit into a sector-focused series, we’re excited to welcome local founders, Fortune 500 leaders, and VCs from across the country this May 25 to 26,” said Mark Tebbe, Chair of World Business Chicago’s Innovation & Venture Council. “As the nation’s premier food innovation conference, the Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food will showcase why we’re home to the world’s best food startup ecosystem”

Additionally, the first day of the Chicago Venture Summit (Wednesday, May 25) will include a series of innovation showcases hosted by Food Foundry, Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, and Cleveland Avenue for out-of-town Summit participants to explore the city’s startup & VC ecosystem. The second day (Thursday, May 26) will include the full-day Summit speaking program which will be opened by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot at 167 N Green in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. You can find the agenda at www.chicagoventuresummit.com

“Chicago has proven itself to be a leading hub in the world for food innovation,” said Michael Fassnacht, President and CEO, World Business Chicago, Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago. “Last year, for example, we saw over $9 billion in total funding for local tech founders; today there are more than 2600 food innovation companies headquartered here. In that spirit, we look forward to hosting the first-ever Chicago Venture Summit Future of Food event where VC firms, startup leaders, disruptors and leading food companies can connect and drive continued growth and expansion.”

World Business Chicago is grateful for the enthusiastic support of our sponsors who made the Chicago Venture Summit possible. Presenting sponsors include: Accenture, BMO, Cleveland Avenue, Cooley, Deloitte, Ferrero, Ingredion, JLL, JP Morgan, P33, Quaker Foods and Shapack Partners. 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 Illinois Institute of Technology, Kraft Heinz, Mars Wrigley, Mondelez, Naturally Chicago, Supply Change Capital, The Hatchery and the Toronto Stock Exchange. Venture Partners include: Bluestein Ventures, Capitalize VC, Dom Capital Group, Germin8 Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, Lofty Ventures, S2G Ventures, Sandbox Sustainability Ventures, Serra Ventures and Zila VC. 

The 2021 Chicago Venture Summit was the largest Summit ever held, with 612 registered participants, which included 162 participating VC/investment firms and showcased 153 startups – the majority of which were led by founders of color and female founders. 

The Chicago Venture Summit is an invite-only investor and founder conference. To learn more on how to register, please email WBC Venture Strategy Director Julie White Schuster via [email protected]


About World Business Chicago

World Business Chicago serves a critical role in driving inclusive and equitable recovery throughout the city’s 77-neighborhoods. As the city’s economic development agency, World Business Chicago leads business acquisition, workforce and talent, community impact and equity, support of our business community and promotion of Chicago as a leading global city. 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 why Chicago thrives as a global destination for founders, innovators, and investors.