Author: Joe Kirgues
Publication: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Date: April 27, 2015
About three years ago we invited a few local business leaders with us on a trip to 1871, which labels itself as Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital tech startups. We frequently travel there with our portfolio companies to set up pitches for Wisconsin startups seeking funds from Chicago investors. (I’m on the train to Chicago for that purpose as I write this post).
Whenever I go to 1871 I feel like I’ve looked through a window into tomorrow—the place is crawling with excitement and new companies. The facility’s champion JB Pritzker has used his efforts to highlight Chicago’s move into the knowledge economy.
We’ve wanted something (and someone) like that for our community.
Among those who attended the tour that day were Brian Taffora and Pat Farley from CSA Partners. As we left the tour, Pat and Brian told us their group (led by Chris Abele) was interested in building a similar community in Wisconsin. They explained to my co-founder and I that they believed any successful local effort would require investment capital tied with an entrepreneurial hub such as 1871. We agreed.