Chicago, I love you for so many reasons. You’re a city second to none. I even love your cold winters, because they inspire grit and perseverance in the people lucky enough to call you home.
After two years leading Indiegogo’s Design, Tech and Hardware team, last month I moved home to Chicago from San Francisco because I wanted to make a more direct impact on my local community. Lucky for me, the pitch to my boss was easy. Boasting a culture of civic participation and a booming tech market, it’s clear that Chicago is the place to be, so I transitioned into my new role as Senior Director of Chicago Outreach earlier this year. My role is to educate and empower Chicagoans setting out to fund what matters to them.
Crowdfunding in Chicago
Chicagoans are incredible. I’m so inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of this community. The pride that residents take in their city is palpable. There is a clear collective commitment to civic participation which reinvigorates my passion for my job everyday.
It’s awesome to have the opportunity to add value to my community and ensure that everyone understand how to best use crowdfunding as an incubation platform to bring their products to market. Indiegogo makes it possible for campaign owners to connect directly with the people most passionate about their products, thus allowing them to validate their markets, test their messaging, get international exposure, and, oh yeah, raise money.
There is a rich community of Chicagoans who truly understand the impact that crowdfunding can have on their business, and are leveraging the platform to make positive impacts on the world through tech: from the Lunatik team’s vision to raise the bar for quality products, to Lantern setting out to establish a new baseline of human knowledge, to the CEntrance team launching its latest product to ensure music sounds as amazing as the artists intended.
The Business and Makers Ecosystem
The Chicago business ecosystem is rising up to support the growth of the tech sector, and the needs of these entrepreneurs. By spending time as a member of our partner organizations, 1871 and Catalyze Chicago, I get to interact all day with people who are creating products and services they want to see in the world. These organizations are committed to providing access to information, mentorship, and capital to ensure their companies are primed for success.
On top of Chicago’s tech incubators, co-working spaces and makerspaces, there are incredible community groups here to support makers. I recently attended my first MakerBiz meeting, and was blown away by the care and thoughtfulness of the group. Offering advice and best practices to one another, members truly demonstrated the greatness that shared experience can unlock.
In addition, there are amazing events hosted every night to bring people interested in tech together to interact meaningful ways. This month we’re proud to sponsor Maker Month at Technori Pitch, taking place Tuesday, 2/24. Use promo code “Indiegogo” to get 15% off your registration.
Ready to Dive in?
Outside of the Chicagoland area? Have no fear! There are tons of ways to get involved. Learn more about running a successful hardware crowdfunding campaign by downloading our Hardware Handbook, explore more tech/ hardware campaigns live now on Indiegogo and follow our dedicated Twitter account @IndiegogoTech.
Chicago, you’re awesome. So happy to call you home. Looking forward to what comes next.