Chicago Among Top Cities for Tech Start-Ups
By Mary Boone
Got a great idea for a new technology-based business? You’ll be glad to know that Chicago scores high.
According to a recent survey, Chicago ranks seventh among U.S. cities when it comes to dollars invested in young tech companies. The study, released by USA Today and the National Venture Capital Association, anointed the San Francisco area, including Silicon Valley, as the country’s technology capital. Boston and New York City were ranked No. 2 and 3 respectively. Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Diego also scored above Chicago.
Evaluators noted that Chicago’s technology scene is dominated by Motorola Mobility, which was acquired by Google in May. It's also home to deal-of-the-day website Groupon and online travel service Orbitz.
According to Built in Chicago, an online community for startups, entrepreneurs and innovators, a Windy City start-up is formed every 48 hours. In 2011, 193 digital tech startups launched in the city. The website reports that the growth rate of digital startups launching has nearly doubled every year for the past four years.
In September, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that more than 20 Chicago-based technology companies are committing to create more than 2,000 new jobs in the city of Chicago by 2015.
The mayor has repeatedly expressed his intent to transform Chicago into the nation’s technology hub. Little by little, that conversion seems to be occurring. The River North section of the city, for example, was once a highly industrialized area. In recent years it has evolved into a trendy neighborhood filled with chic restaurants and loft living. It’s also home to Groupon, the Chicago offices of Google, Razorfish and more than 200 tech startups.
Affordability is certainly part of Chicago’s appeal. According to Zillow, the median residential rent listing price in the city is $1,540. That’s far lower than San Francisco’s median rent listing of $3,000 and Boston’s $2,300.
Chicago bested several cities famous for their tech environment. Researchers ranked Austin, Boulder/Denver and Seattle Nos. 8, 9 and 10 respectively.
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