Below is a post CEO, Frank Muscarello wrote for the 1871 Blog.
There are so many great startups in this city vying for attention and trying, sometimes desperately, to get funded with the hope of hitting it big. I have been a serial entrepreneur for the past 19 years with my fair share of huge wins and tremendous failures along the way. What amazes me is just how talented Chicago’s digital community is and just how remarkable the companies living, growing and doing business here are as well. Even though I was born and raised in Chicago, built my businesses in Chicago and now raise my family here, I realize I have been blind to what has been here for years. Chicago’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is incredible.
To say that I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know some incredibly talented people would be an understatement. People like Brian Spaly from Trunk Club, Neal Sales-Griffin from Code Academy, Justin Massa from Food Genius, Jessica Zweig of CheekyChicago, Todd O’Hara of Toodalu, and Erik Severinghaus of SimpleRelevance to only name a few. These are the people to watch; the ones that are creating energy in the community and who I feel confident to say are building the next great businesses here.
Sometimes you need to catch a break and sometimes if you work hard enough, you can create a little luck. That’s exactly how I feel about my team being accepted into 1871. We didn’t have a real direction before 1871, we didn’t have a product to speak of before 1871, we didn’t have a rock star team before 1871 and I didn’t have partners before 1871. 1871 has singlehandedly changed the trajectory of our business – and it has happened in a little less than 90 days. We’ve raised more capital than ever before, closed more deals than ever before, and now have a remarkable future ahead of us. 1871 is all about creating a culture that peppers in a healthy bit of competition among the startups where the strong will survive. And where else in the span of one week, can you get the opportunity to speak with JB Pritzker, David Cameron, Prime Minister of England and Rahm Emanuel about creating jobs and doing something remarkable to build business in Chicago.
I can personally say that it’s an honor to be a part of 1871. We are one of the lucky ones that intends to take this chance to make something big happen. Thank you to all the members and staff of 1871 for giving us a launch pad. I look forward to the day when I will be able to give back.
Happy National Co-working day!