Catapult Chicago Launches a New Spin on Startup Incubators

March 20, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

Catapult Chicago (Catapult), a new collaborative community for startup companies, is pleased to announce it has taken up residence at 321 North Clark Street and opened its doors to Chicago-based entrepreneurs leading high potential startups in the technology space. Catapult is an independent non-profit incubator. Its mission is to find and nurture Chicago’s next generation of phenomenal technology businesses. Catapult provides residents with a resource rich environment which, together with their peer companies and entrepreneurs, fosters the serendipity necessary for Chicago’s next runaway success.

Catapult puts a new spin on the incubator concept; Catapult is “run by startups, for startups” – including critical admission decisions.  New entrants are selected by the heads of each resident company.  Decisions are based on strength of team, current traction, future success, and above all, how they add to Catapult’s collaborative environment. Catapult refers to this as “peer sourcing” and they are already seeing fantastic results.  Catapult is focused on technology startups that have already demonstrated business traction and it anticipates that residency will be up to 18 months. Resident companies do not give up equity in their business in order to be part of Catapult. Catapult’s space as fantastic as its resources; residents enjoy more than 12,000 square feet of space, private offices as well as collaborative space, premier views of downtown Chicago from the 25th floor, direct access to a network of local and coastal venture capitalists, invite-only special events, and, most importantly, unparalleled peer proximity.

Catapult is supported through corporate sponsors who donate not only capital but services and time to resident companies, ensuring that the entrepreneurs have access to the knowledge, tools, and resources needed to scale their businesses. Current sponsors include Foley & Lardner LLP (the founding sponsor), Blackman Kallick, SS|PR, EmpowerHR, Seneca Global, and a collaboration between Henricksen and Allsteel for the layout, design, and furnishing of the facility.

Ryan Leavitt, President of Catapult, co-founded Catapult with Vishal Shah, co-founder of VLinks Media, and Kris Chinosorn, co-founder of MentorMob. Having been startup entrepreneurs, they, along with Foley attorneys Chris Cain and Galen Mason, came up with the initial concept behind Catapult to address a lack of premier resources for Chicago’s growing technology startup ecosystem. “Foley’s involvement with Catapult shows our commitment to matching the efforts of entrepreneurs that have led to the Chicago technology market’s explosive growth.  We bring large firm resources to the Chicago market – realistic fee deferral packages and a venture fund, among other things – that have been common large law firm offerings on the coasts for some time,” said Galen Mason.

“We are excited to be part of the technology movement here in Chicago,” said Ryan Leavitt, co-founder and President of Catapult. “Chicago’s business and entrepreneurial community have truly embraced Catapult and the generous level of support has allowed us to hit the ground running and offer resources that are entirely unique to Chicago. We think the city will see some remarkable things from Catapult.”

Catapult’s current resident companies include VLinks Media, MentorMob, StyleSeek, 5Degrees, and Tech.li. Tech start-ups interested in joining Catapult are encouraged to submit an application online. To be part of the Catapult community, the prospective organization must have a results focused team and strong references. New Catapult residents are admitted by a vote from the current residents. To apply to become a Catapult resident or for information regarding sponsorship opportunities, please visit the Catapult Web site: www.catapultchicago.com.

About Catapult

Catapult Chicago is an independent collaborative community for startup companies with demonstrated business traction. It is a place where the most talented people behind the most promising startups can learn, grow and excel together. Catapult is built upon the vision of entrepreneurs themselves – people who not only “talk the talk” but “walk the walk.”

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