1871 (company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

1871 is a non-profit digital startup incubator located in the Merchandise Mart, Chicago, Illinois.[1] The organization was founded in 2012 and is the flagship project of The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC), a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs on their path to building high-growth, sustainable businesses that serve as platforms for economic development and civic leadership. Led by CEO Howard A. Tullman, 1871 has become a major hub of Chicago's technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem and hosts over 400 early-stage companies as well as nationally recognized accelerators, industry-specific incubators, and tech talent schools.[1][2]


In the early 2000's, some of the major players in Chicago's economy were Chicago Ideas Week and TechNexus. Due to emerging competition in the space, in 2012 TechNexus decided to shift their target market audience to more well-developed and established companies such as the Illinois Technology Association, Emerge, and 200 more.[3] This allowed for 1871 to open in Chicago's ecosystem to help foster new enterprises and support corporations that were already based in Chicago.[4]


1871 offers work space to over 200 companies.[5] Their partnerships and sponsorships with UPS, Google For Entrepreneurs[6] and Chase give the people working there broader exposure to the greater tech space. 1871 also offers free work space to students from DePaul University, University of Illinois, Illinois Institute of Technology or DeVry University, University of Chicago, Northwestern and Loyola.[citation needed] 1871 also hosts networking events and workshops.

Funding controversy[edit]

As a non-profit incubator, 1871 takes money from the state to bring in capital for these tech startups. A few people such as CEO of Level Office, Bill Bennet, believe "we shouldn't use the state money that way".[1] He continues to argue with "it doesn't make sense to me why we should use taxpayer funds to subsidize one place”.[1] One of the main arguments against the funding is that there are other non-state funded avenues for statups to find affordable working spaces, like WeWork. Tullman, CEO of 1871, argues the space provides resources other coworking spaces could not, like mentoring, workshops and events for the entrepreneurial community. [7]

The tax statements of 1871's parent company, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) are public. The Chicago Tribune estimates 27% of their 2013-14 earnings were reported on their tax statement as "salaries, compensation and benefits." [8]


In April 2016, 1871 officially opened their 3.0 expansion, which enlarges the space by another 41,000 square feet. This expansion created more classrooms and office spaces for some of their largest companies such as Impact Engine, Accenture and Options Away to work out of. The expansion was funded entirely by themselves and the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center, with no government grant assistance[9] The estimated encounters of 1,000 people they have on a daily basis has grown to 2,000 people with the 3.0 Expansion.[10] Over 500 companies are now working out of 1871.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d John, Pletz (May 21, 2015). "Crain's Chicago Business". 
  2. ^ "About - 1871 Chicago". Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  3. ^ Tanen, Luke (2011). Innovating... Chicago Style: How Local Innovators are Building the National Economy. Chicago: Book Ends Publishing. ISBN 0-615-54885-7. 
  4. ^ Boodhoo, Niala. "1871". WBEZ. 
  5. ^ Haden, Jeff. "Whom You Sit Next to Matters More Than You Think". 
  6. ^ "Google for Entrepreneurs North American Tech Hub Network : 1871". 
  7. ^ "Is 1871 becoming too big?". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  8. ^ Elahi, Amina. "What tech hub 1871 spends on salaries and space". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  9. ^ Elahi, Amina. "1871 tech hub adds to its story with 3.0 expansion". 
  10. ^ Wooten, Melissa. "1871 Officially Announces Its 3.0 Expansion". 
  11. ^ Flanagan, Will. "Go Inside 1871 3.0; Tech Hub Officially Opens its 41k Square Foot Expansion".