The Wall Street Journal profiled Chicago’s burgeoning tech startup ecosystem today with mentions of many Doejo clients, partners and friends of the company.
Startups, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, incubators and angel investors have been on the rise in the Windy City, on the heels of Groupon and GrubHub’s massive success stories—launching in Chicago in 2008 and 2004, respectively, with Groupon securing a market capitalization of about $10 billion and GrubHub raising $84.1 million in investor capital. And collectivley? Chicagoland startups have been pulling in an impressive $654 million in VC funding last year, according to the WSJ—up 40 percent from 2010.
The article touched upon the community building at Built in Chicago, the investment collective FireStarter Fund, and the two newest collaborative workspaces, Catapult Chicago and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center’s non-profit 1871 space (opening May 2).
Meanwhile Brad Weisberg of BodyShopBids, who came to Doejo in September 2010 to develop his online auto repair resource, was highlighted, having raised $1.3 million from VC firms like Lightbank (another client of Doejo’s, created by two of Groupon’s founders). Weisberg talked about how inspired he was by Groupon’s success, which motivated him to launch his now-successful company.
An excerpt from the article:
Brad Weisberg, founder of year-old online auto-repair estimation service BodyShopBids Inc., wants to emulate Groupon’s success. “I always had the idea for BodyShopBids, but I didn’t have the confidence,” he says. “I finally thought, if they can do it, so can I.”
Mr. Weisberg, 31, has raised $1.3 million from venture-capital firms including Lightbank LLC, a two-year-old Chicago firm whose managing partners include Groupon founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. BodyShopBids shares office space in Chicago’s River North area and receives hands-on operational support from Lightbank’s investment team.