Named for the year of the Great Chicago Fire, whose aftermath triggered historic and defining changes in the city’s urban planning and architecture, 1871 is a hub for tech entrepreneurs. Businesses select memberships based on their space and time needs; successful alumni include kCura, an e-discovery software company, and PrettyQuick, an innovative beauty-booking service. CEO Howard Tullman regularly hosts notable guests, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Governor Pat Quinn.
Health Care: Matter
The health-tech incubator Matter opened its Gensler-designed co-working space in the Merchandise Mart this spring. The 25,000-square-foot office creates an environment of collaboration and mentorship—member companies have access to local universities, health-care partners and potential investors—meant to inspire experimentation and drive the future of health care. The first 10 members include a pharmaceuticals company, a robotics firm and a handful of health-software developers. Memberships are offered at three monthly rates: Reserved ($450), Shared ($300) and Night and Weekend ($150), with varying degrees of access
to work spaces and labs. To facilitate successful startups, Matter is launching regular workshops that address common challenges and pitfalls of building a business.
Food: Intro Chicago
The latest from Lettuce Entertain You Group is a stage for up-and-coming chefs across the country and a school for culinary entrepreneurs, with LEYE founder Rich Melman and chef Matthew Kirkley as “teachers.” Housed in the former L20 space in Lincoln Park, the restaurant brings in a new chef every few months to collaborate with Melman and Kirkley and transform the place into the visiting chef’s vision. The restaurant started with Los Angeles–based Top Chef star C.J. Jacobson and a five-course prix fixe menu highlighting local purveyors, followed by Erik Anderson, a Food & Wine best new chef.
2300 North Lincoln Park West
Thought: Chicago Ideas
What began as a single week a few years ago grew into a year-round program of multidisciplinary events, speakers and panels, leading up to the weeklong festival and innovation platform in October that brings together global thought leaders and hosts hands-on labs throughout the city. Co-founded by serial entrepreneur and Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell, Chicago Ideas is an accessible, all-inclusive forum joining luminaries across disciplines. Politicians talk to inventors, poets talk to scientists, business leaders talk to artists, all with the intention to connect and catalyze action across the city. The majority of talks and labs (behind-the-scenes explorations formerly unavailable to general audiences) are open to the public at an affordable $15 per event. This year’s conference takes place October 12 through 18. Speakers include such industry heavyweights as George Lucas and former GE CEO Jack Welch.