Originally posted on Built In Chicago, January 31, 2012.
I am excited to officially announce the launch of the FireStarter Fund, another major (and really cool!) effort to help Chicago digital startups get funded and grow.
The FireStarter Fund is an early stage investment fund created by 42 experienced digital founders and CEOs. We are a group of Chicago founders who have come together to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. We all have direct experience founding, operating and investing in digital technology based businesses that leverage the developments of the past forty years. We owe a debt to the innovators who came before us and it is a debt we intend to repay by helping to fund promising new ideas and the entrepreneurs who have the passion and the drive to see their ideas become reality.
The FireStarter Fund has $5.7 million in committed capital and will make investments as small as $25,000 and as large as $500,000. We expect our typical cumulative investment in a portfolio company to be between $150,000 and $350,000. Although the fund is free to invest at any stage we expect most of our portfolio companies to be at or near revenue generation with the business strategy in place the technology very well along in development.
We believe that one of the most important factors in the development and growth of entrepreneurship and innovation is the growth of a business community that is open, helpful and nurturing. We know that as entrepreneurs some of the most helpful counsel and advice we have received over the years has been from successful founders who graciously made themselves available as mentors and shared lessons that gave us the confidence and insight necessary to persevere and succeed.
So it is in that spirit of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the golden age of digital technology that we have formed the FireStarter Fund.
FireStarter as part of a growing digital ecosystem in Chicago
As many of you know, Built In Chicago launched in late 2010 to help provide a place for the Chicago digital community to come together. We built on the momentum created by Hyde Park Angels,Excelerate Labs, University of Chicago New Venture Challenge, ITA and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. Since then we have had more 300,000 visits to builtinchicago.org and have had nearly 7,000 people register and create profiles. And then a group of us started working on creating an amazing new physical space, which you now know as 1871. In just a few months 1871 will house 400+ entrepreneurs and 100+ new startups every year. And now we have the FireStarter Fund. Wow! With nearly 30,000 people working in the digital space we have come a very long way in the last three years. It takes just one look at these infographics to see the growing momentum in the Chicago digital community. So hang on. 2012 is going to be a great year for digital innovation and entrepreneurship in Chicago.
Please visit http://www.firestarterfund.com to learn more and apply for funding.