Fund historically underfunded Founders in Chicago!
Each week, the citizens of Chicago come together to be the Friends and Family round of funding for overlooked founders. Sponsors contribute prize money that gets matched by individual donors, startups, venture firms, and philanthropic institutions to total over $5M over the next three years. Our goal is to get to the point where we’re awarding $50K each week, so please help us get there by making any sized contribution today.
All donations are tax deductible and go directly to founders to help them build their dreams. All donations that exceed our $25K goal will go towards founders in the subsequent weeks.
For interested institutional funders, our TechRise fundraising deck is linked here.
by P33 and Verizon is a multi-stakeholder initiative designed to support Chicago’s historically underrepresented tech founders throughout the lifecycles of their businesses, from idea stage to exit. In partnership with the city’s incubators, venture capital firms, the startup community, civic organizations, and corporate sponsors, is bringing together the capital, community, and connections diverse founders need to launch and grow their businesses.
Chicago is the most racially distributed city in the U.S. with nearly 30% representation across our Black, Latinx, and White communities. Yet only 1.9% of venture funding goes to Black and Latinx founders. The impact of underinvesting in our overlooked tech ripples across our economy and innovation ecosystem, stifling wealth equality and economic mobility, limiting the tech workforce pipeline and job growth in our South and West sides, and squandering our ability to retain and recruit top tech talent.
One of the most crucial areas for investment is supporting idea-stage founders to get their startups on track for growth and scale. Overlooked tech founders face larger barriers to entry because they often lack:
Sufficient personal or network wealth for a traditional “friends and family” round of funding.
A network of peers or mentors to help guide them through the startup process.
Access to affordable service providers.
Pathways to angel or venture capital investors.
with the support of our corporate partners is tackling this challenge with the following programs:
$5M Pre-Seed Non-Dilutive Grant Fund: is partnering with sponsors to fund a series of weekly pitch competitions that provide $10K-$50K launch grants to overlooked tech founders. Essentially making Chicago their “friends and family.” The competitions simultaneously bring visibility to early-stage founders, create network connections with existing founders and incubators, and help establish new pattern recognition for our venture community. Partners include 1871, Matter, , WBC, Beta Boom, GET Cities, NextStreet, Sunshine Enterprises, and more.
Online Community: The online community provides training, resources, mentorship, and investor introductions for founders at every stage. The beta community will be announced publicly in late February and the full platform will be released in September of 2021.
has the potential to create massive impact. As the largest pool of non-dilutive capital for diverse founders, we can help establish Chicago as the best city in the country for overlooked tech founders. We anticipate a $5M fund triggering at least $25M in additional seed funding for diverse entrepreneurs and stimulating thousands of new diverse tech talent jobs, which can impact our entire talent ecosystem.
For information on Corporate Sponsorship, please fill out this form.