June Sponsor: Foley & Larder

June at Catapult is focusing on startup assessments. We are excited to announce that Foley & Lardner have taken the place as June Sponsor of the Month. With years of experience in the startup industry, the Foley & Lardner team have provided resources and connections for our companies. They provide full-service advising for startups from formation to exit. They also offer complimentary contract review at any time. Foley & Lardner is Catapult’s flagship and founding sponsor.

Lisa Conmy and Galen Mason will be hosting startup assessments during our Catapult Open House on June 20th. Book here to schedule your 15 minute session with Foley & Lardner.

May Sponsor: Server Central Turning Group

Server Central Turning Group (SCTG)

We are excited to announce that SCTG is our May Sponsor of the Month!

Server Central Turning Group is a provider of cloud managed data center services and they help design, deploy, manage and scale applications and infrastructure.

In late 2018, Server Central acquired Amazon Web Services Advance Consulting partner, Turning Group. SCTG is positioned to meet the demand of hybrid cloud solutions to enable digital transformation.

As a sponsor, Catapult companies receive discount on a full suite of services including cloud and DRaaS.

More information can be found at www.servercentral.com

Catapult Impact Report

Catapult Chicago opened its doors in 2012 for startups with traction, product market fit and generated revenue. On Friday, April 26th, Catapult celebrated 7 years of helping Chicago startups scale. 

Over the last 7 years, Catapult has built a community of founders who uphold the mission that Catapult co-founders, Ryan Leavitt and Vishal Shah, set when they opened Catapult’s doors with the help of Chris Cain and Galen Mason of Foley & Lardner. Catapult’s success can be contributed to the community cultivated through founder empowerment and experience sharing. Today, 86% of Catapult’s startups are operational or have been acquired.

Catapult’s peer selection process can be described as the “secret-sauce” in Catapult’s success. On average, companies who incubate in Catapult scale their company 187% and have an average annual revenue of $2.9 Million. Since 2012, Catapult has incubated over 52 companies with 90+ founders who have raised over $309 Million.

2019 provides more growth for Catapult in their new space located at 227 W Monroe. With an increase in office space and prices below market value, Catapult provides more opportunity to help startups with their strategic growth. They have also launched a new tier of sponsorship, the Platform Supporter, for companies who are looking to support our community.

To learn more, download the official Impact Report.

Sponsor of the Month

April means showers and a new startup checklist at Catapult!

Cognos HR is leading our community programs as Sponsor of the Month with a new hire on boarding and training at Catapult Chicago. Cognos is a PEO and a team of caring individuals. When you work with Cognos, you are working with a person to help scale your business. When you work with Cognos, you are working with experts in compliance, leadership, development and service. Find out more here!

Their online portal streamlines the way startups want to run their business. They help with;

On Boarding and Enrollment

Employee Self Service

Role-based Security

Payroll

Stay tuned on our social sites for more events by Cognos HR! This month, Cognos is sponsoring our Alumni Lunch on April 18th and Catapult’s 7th Birthday Party on April 26th.

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Chicago Mayoral Election 2019

And the votes are in for Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle…

To celebrate the historic runoff election and the hard work of these two very deserving women at the helm, Catapult Chicago would like to show its support for both candidates and the city by offering reasonably priced office space to both candidates and their teams. Same offer, same space –same great city and the opportunity to work alongside a few of our talented entrepreneurs. Just contact thestarups@catapultchicago.com. Get out and vote ya’ll!

Launching the new Platform Supporter at Catapult

Join the Catapult Community as a Platform Supporter

Catapult is introducing a new tier in sponsorship as a Platform Supporter! Interested companies can partner with Catapult under this tier of sponsorship to help grow the next wave of tech innovators. Catapult is looking to partner with the best and brightest tech and service providers in Chicago.

Catapult is the only peer-selected community in Chicago to cultivate founder empowerment, mentorship, and experience sharing to help startups scale. Our mission has helped scale 52 Chicago startups who have raised over $309 million. 

As a non-profit, we never take equity in our companies and ask a base, minimum rent. We are excited to partner with companies who align with our mission and want to take their business into the thriving Chicago tech scene. Catapult's network has a heavy hand in mid-sized tech startups, service providers, and a network of business professionals that can connect you to a wide audience for your product or service. 

More information here.

Interested companies can contact thestartups@catapultchicago.com for further details.

Catapult Chicago Winner of Chicago Inno's 50 on Fire

Catapult Chicago is named as Chicago Inno’s 2018 50 on Fire for the Supporter Category!

The Chicago co-working space is known for scaling companies such as LearnCore, PackBack and Shiftgig! Over the last 6 years, Catapult has scaled over 50 companies who have raised $170 million. Catapult’s unique model of peer selection and experience sharing has contributed to it’s success.

Every year, Chicago Inno selects 50 winners from a pool of candidates for varying categories. Catapult Chicago was selected as a winner for the Supporter Category for their companies success rate which hits at 90%. Check out the full article here.

Chicago Fintech Symposium

The Fintech Symposium

Partners with

CATAPULT CHICAGO

When:  October 15, 2018 (8:30 AM - 5:00 PM)
             October 16, 2018 (8:30 AM - 5:00 PM)

Where: 750 South Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60607

Cost: $595 - $895 / Person

This two-day fintech conference will discuss the practical uses of advanced enterprise technologies. Industry experts will present on blockchain, robotic process automation, AI, machine learning data, banking API's and so much more. Details listed here

This incubator has an eye-popping 90 percent success rate

This incubator has an eye-popping 90 percent success rate

Catapult Chicago Executive Director Caitlin McAllister joins Scott in-studio at WGN Radio to talk about recently taking the top seat at the tech incubator. Catapult companies have raised $170 million. Listen and find out how the 2 year program develops young startups.

Caitlin McAllister of Catapult Chicago on BOOTSTRAPPING IN AMERICA

Caitlin McAllister of Catapult Chicago on BOOTSTRAPPING IN AMERICA

Catapult Chicago is a co-working collaborative community aimed to support growing later-staged tech startups. A new company has to be voted in by the current founders who office there for them to get residence. Founded in March of 2012, they have fostered 45 companies that have raised over $170M in capital. Caitlin McAllister is the Executive Director.

Meet Catapult's new Community Coordinator

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5 things about Kelly

 

1. She grew up in Lindenhurst, IL before moving to Chicago for college in 2012. 

2. She has the most photogenic cat -and maybe the largest at 23lbs.

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3. She has a twin fraternal sister, but they look exactly alike! 

4. She can teach group fitness classes from yoga to pound (cardio drumming), and almost everything in between!

5. In her spare time, she likes to sketch, but due to her childhood fascination of horses, they are the only animal that she can draw.

LearnCore Founders Built Catapult Chicago with Fellow Founders in Mind

(CHICAGO, IL) Chicago startup LearnCore recently made headlines for their $50 million acquisition by Showpad but many may not know that Co-Founders Ryan Leavitt and Vishal Shah are also responsible for the creation of Catapult Chicago, the only peer-selected coworking community for later stage startups.

In 2012, Leavitt and Shah were looking for something that didn’t exist to take LearnCore (then VLinks) to the next level. Their business had already begun generating revenue and they were ready to seriously scale their company but at the time, Chicago only offered support for early concept companies and later stage ventures seeking big funding. “We decided to build a community that was completely peer-driven.” says Leavitt. “Our thought was, if we get the best people in Chicago with the best companies in the same place, amazing things are going to happen.” With that in mind, Leavitt and Shah teamed up with colleagues Chris Cain and Galen Mason of Foley & Lardner LLP and opened Catapult Chicago.

Leveraging their network of like-minded entrepreneurs, they invited fellow founders to join in this new community built on experience-sharing. Early Catapult companies include Chicago heavy hitters Shiftgig, Bucketfeet, Opternative, Lumere (formerly Procured Health) and Scholastica. Raaja Namani, founder of Bucketfeet which was acquired by Threadless and is now a founder of Rogue Advising,  was drawn to the unique model. “What’s different about Catapult than other co-working or ‘incubator’ spaces in the city is that it is for entrepreneurs selected by entrepreneurs. This ensures a strong cultural fit between founders.”

Making community a priority is exemplified in Catapult’s Founder Forum, a bi-weekly meeting of current and alumni founders. “I used to call it ‘entrepreneurial therapy’.” Leavitt says. “It’s a place to be with other founders looking to grow, learn, solve challenges, and figure out how to build a sustainable high growth company.” The Catapult communal experience continues even after a company leaves the space.  “Upon graduating, founders have the opportunity to continue their journey as alumni members.” Catapult’s Executive Director, Caitlin McAllister explains. “Founders are able to contribute in either a mentorship or sponsorship capacity, either giving time to current founders and the community, or by helping Catapult through event sponsorship or facility perks.”

Six years later, Catapult continues to be the only non-profit working space for Chicago tech startups with business traction using a peer-selection model. Since inception, 90% of Catapult companies are still in business or have been acquired. Ryan Leavitt remains an active member of Catapult Chicago’s board of directors, while Shah continues as an active contributor to founder forums and the Catapult network.

About Catapult Chicago

Catapult Chicago is the first collaborative community aimed to support growing later-stage

tech startups. Our peer-selection model creates a community of Chicago’s best and brightest, working together to grow the next generation of successful startups. As a non-profit entity, we are supported by the generosity of corporate sponsors that provide professional services, people and mentorship.

For more information visit catapultchicago.com.

New Catapult Sponsors In 2018 (So Far!)

Catapult thrives on community and building meaningful connections. We have been fortunate to expand our community this year with three new sponsors that offer expertise in their respective fields that help our startups scale as efficiently as possible. Their support means everything to us, and we're happy to introduce them!

Started in 2013, Liquid Iron is a full-service Marketing and Advertising communications company. Their focus on building powerful, actionable brands makes them a natural fit for Catapult! “As entrepreneurs ourselves, Kathy and I are all too familiar with the blood, sweat, and tears involved in bringing a business from ideation to fruition,” said Eduardo Dehesa Conde, Co-Founder & President of Liquid Iron. 

They recently celebrated their fifth year of success by adding Iowa State University's Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business to their list of notable clients. The Ivy College of Business was newly named after receiving a generous gift of $50 million dollars from Debbie and Jerry Ivy. Liquid Iron was selected from 14 competing agencies to build the brand and share the impact of this great monetary gift.

With Liquid Iron on board, our companies have an opportunity to power up their brand and increase their market footprint!

Paro helps to take the headache out of bookkeeping so entrepreneurs can focus on scaling. Their mission aligns with Catapult's goal to provide an environment for startups to get the most out of their time.

In their own words: "Paro is an exclusive marketplace of highly vetted, on-demand finance experts empowering people to do what they love. Paro's CEO, Michael Burdick, was working at Deloitte Consulting when he noticed the margins that Big 4 firms were making, simply because of their brand—a cost inaccessible by many. By providing an alternative model of employment and income predictability, Paro challenges the accounting and finance industry to evolve towards the future of work. Since launching in 2015, Paro has helped nearly a thousand companies connect with the top 2% of finance experts. Recently, Paro has received a $5M series A round to support its rapid growth, which will be primarily utilized to spread the gospel of Paro to businesses and talent alike!"

Every Catapult company eventually has to leave the nest and find their own space. Opening an office isn't just about real estate, it's about making the space unique to your company and its culture. That's where Ware Malcomb comes in.  

Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is an international design firm providing planning, architecture, interior design, branding and civil engineering services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. With office locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Panama, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science & technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/educational facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is among the top 20 architecture/engineering firms in Engineering News-Record’s Top 500 Design Firms ranking and the top 30 interior design firms in Interior Design magazine’s Top 100 Giants. For more information, visit waremalcomb.com/news and view Ware Malcomb’s videos at youtube.com/waremalcomb.

Welcome International Tech Fellow, Ana!

Ana Trpovska from Macedonia has joined Catapult’s office this week as an international fellow in the Tech Innovation and Entrepreneurship Professional Fellows Program administered by WorldChicago, sponsored by U.S. Department of State. Sixteen fellows from the Balkans region arrived in Chicago last week to participate in the one-month program that offers opportunities to fellows from around the world to experience the tech, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chicago, work with some of the organizations that are involved in this field, and exchange knowledge and experiences. She is part of the very first group from Macedonia, as the program has just opened to this small European country.

In Macedonia, Ana works as a Project Manager for one of the biggest business support organizations in the country – CEED Macedonia. CEED is part of a global network of entrepreneurial centers which are located across different countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

We asked Ana several question to get to know her better.


What is CEED?

CEED Macedonia (Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development) is one of the biggest business support organizations in Macedonia. It was established in 2007 in the capital of Skopje as the fifth center in the global network of entrepreneurial and managerial centers. CEED has been providing different forms of business support services through its three main business units: CEED Business and Educational Club, Project’s Department, and CEED Hub Skopje. In its business support activities to Macedonian companies, CEED puts a special emphasis on capacity building and learning programs that focus on practical knowledge, complemented with experience sharing and mentoring by successful local business leaders. Facilitating companies’ access to finance, a strong regional and international network, and new markets is also part of what we do. CEED Macedonia has managed to position itself on the Macedonian market as a unique and innovative business support center that offers (designs and delivers) management, leadership and personal development programs as well as business consulting services.

We are continuously working on improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country by addressing the changing needs of the entrepreneurs and businesses, offering to the entrepreneurs a combination of services that will help them further develop and grow their companies. 

I work as a Project Manager at the Project Department, more specifically on projects’ design and development, fundraising and management, and coordination of project implementation.
 

How did you first get involved in innovation/entrepreneurship? 

My first contact with this sector was little bit over 8 and a half years ago, when I first started working for CEED Macedonia. I had a background in project design and development as well as managing project implementation, though before CEED I was working in different fields.  
 

What's your favorite food? 

I would say – posna sarma is my favourite dish which is actually - cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and leek. It’s a regional specialty and a non-meat version of the regular sarma (stuffed cabbage leaves with minced meat and rice). Otherwise, I like Italian cuisine, and I’m more of a savoury kind of person rather than being into sweets. I generally enjoy eating and trying out different food.

What are you most excited to do/see in Chicago? 

It is difficult to decide. I’m most excited that I will meet a lot of interesting new people from different countries and that I will have the opportunity to work in a different setting, but I’m also excited to explore the city. I love jazz music and live gigs in general, so I am super excited that I’m in a place where there is so much to see and hear.


Welcome, Ana! We are very excited to exchange knowledge about supporting entrepreneurs across the globe!

New in 2018: Enrichment Membership!

WHAT IS IT? 

The Catapult Enrichment Membership connects you to over 90 founders, 43
companies, 800 employees in the Catapult network and access to trusted service
providers in verticals designed to help startups scale.

WHO IS IT FOR? 

The program is designed for companies in a similar stage of development as Catapult residents who are settled in their own space, or have more than 15 people on their team. This is also a way to get integrated into the Catapult community if you are on our waitlist for office space.

BENEFITS?

Hecks yes. 

  • Catapult co-working space & amenities 1 day per week
  • 5 hours of conference & phone booth access per month
  • Educational programming specifically tailored to growth stage companies
  • Individual mentoring through our Entrepreneur in Residence program
  • Catapult's cultivated service provider network and unique discounts
  • Community, including tech partners and discounts
  • Printing/Scanning/Wifi
  • Insider Newsletter & Communication

HOW DO I JOIN?

Since Catapult residents are peer-selected, interested companies must pitch to a small group of current founders in order to join.  

PRICING

$100/month
Individual

$150/month
Team (up to 3)

If you are interested, please contact Caitlin McAllister at caitlin@catapultchicago.com.

New Year, New Residents!

Outside, the temperature is sub-zero, but our hearts are warm at Catapult as we welcome four new companies: MonumentPrecognitive, Printavo, and mRelief.

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Monument has created an Artificial Intelligence-powered device to help folks keep their memories stored and organized in one place. Instead of carrying multiple USBs and logging into multiple clouds, their product stores all of your photos and videos, organizing them by date, location, person and more. The company, co-founded by Ercan Erciyes and Semih Hazar, launched in 2016 with one of the most funded Kickstarter projects in the technology category worldwide. Since then, they've gained customers in 94 countries and on-shelf presence at Best Buy. Not only are they startup superstars, they're some of the nicest guys around the Catapult office. 

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Founded in 2016, Precognitive uses a multi-layered approach to proactively identifying fraud before a transaction takes place. CEO Sam Bouso has brought together a team of fraud and risk management professionals to assist ecommerce merchants and financial institutionsin staying ahead of tech-savvy fraudsters. After a $1.25M seed funding round in May of 2017, Precognitive is on track for a great year of growth and we're happy to call them part of the family!

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Also joining the Catapult house is the B2B SaaS company, Printavo! Printavo is a cloud-based online software designed for artisan shops specializing in prints, signage & promotional materials, embroidery and more. Founder Bruce Ackerman was running a printing business on a college campus himself when he discovered the need for a platform to help organize the backend of image based shops. This firsthand experience ensures clients that Printavo understands their needs and are committed to increasing a shop's efficiency and productivity. Printavo is especially cool because they are a startup that encourages other startups with a blog chock-full of tips and strategies on how to develop a small business. We're eager to learn more from Bruce and his team!

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The fourth company to join the Catapult community is mRelief. mRelief is a nonprofit created to address the $13 billion in unclaimed food stamps in America. To this end mRelief has built an easy-to-use platform on web and text messaging for low-income Americans to find out if they qualify and enroll for food stamps. Co-founders Rose Afriyie (who has worked at Google’s Community Partnerships Program and interned with the White House during the passage of healthcare reform) and Genevieve Nielsen (one of Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs) have developed a platform that simplifies the process for low-income Americans to find out if they qualify and apply for food stamps. Already live in 42 states, mRelief has helped over 235,000 families connect to social services. Catapult is proud to have this female-founded, community-driven company in the house.

You thought your house was full over the holidays? You should see ours! No seriously, come on by and say hello to these amazing companies before you read about them on all of the "Best of 2018" lists. Head here to schedule a tour and learn more about how to join our one-of-a-kind community.