An overview of Chicago’s tech ecosystem

Ali Afridi
3 min readJul 13, 2016

A few weeks ago, I moved to Chicago to join the investment team at Lightbank. Although our fund invests nationwide (and sometimes internationally), I’ve been spending my first few weeks doing a dive into Chicago’s startup ecosystem in order to get a better sense of my new home.

Chicago’s tech scene has grown considerably over the last few years. As a student at the University of Illinois I did trips up to Chicago a few times each semester to work out of coworking spaces and meet founders. I saw the ecosystem grow quite a bit over my four years in college and now I’m excited to become a part of the ecosystem.

As with many of my other posts, this is meant to be dynamic. If I’ve missed anything, let me know through twitter or email ( and I’ll update it. I’ve also published this on github, so feel free to update and make a pull request to the repo.

Angel Groups

Early Stage VC Firms (Seed & Series A):

* also do growth investing

Growth Firms:


** also a venture fund

Startup Studios


I removed purely coworking office spaces because of the large number. ChicagoInno has a good list for anyone that is interested:

Major blogs & press outlets:

Blogs from people in the community: