It’s tough to find somebody in Chicago who hasn’t heard of 1871, the core of Chicago’s tech community. More than a coworking space, an incubator, or an accelerator, it is a community full of resources to help make entrepreneurs successful — the ultimate hub.
Housed in the historic Merchandise Mart, the space is a 75,000 square foot lab divided into open seating, more private areas, a cafe with picnic tables, a coffee shop, and more. There is a feeling of purpose in the space – that things are happening and products are being built even as you survey the gritty expanse punctuated by the art of CEO Howard Tullman. Over 325 start-ups and countless advisors, mentors, and support staff create a constant motion and buzz that greets all visitors as they enter the space.
“The only reason we’re here,” says Tullman, “is to help companies to bring together people, culture, and resources, to make them successful.” And to bring together the previously disparate tech community in Chicago – to be the beacon to which entrepreneurs can always return to move forward.
To galvanize a community and drive unity is a big vision. But in the city of big shoulders, it’s right at home.