J Blaszczykiewicz

Director of Marketing, 1871

1871’s first hybrid Momentum Awards honors seven distinguished individuals and companies for their contributions and commitment to the Chicago technology and innovation community.

CHICAGO (September 23, 2021) — 1871 honored seven award winners at The 14th Annual Momentum Awards on September 23, 2021. Presented for the first time in a hybrid format (both in-person and virtual), the ceremony celebrated the past year in innovation across Chicago and beyond and recognized the brightest leaders and companies in tech today. 

Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, this year’s Momentum Awards highlighted how today’s innovators are spurring economic and job growth reminiscent of the city’s great rebuilding period. Among the many milestones recognized, 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler congratulated the 13 new unicorns minted in Chicago in this past year, 9 of which are 1871 members and alumni. Hosted by Val Warner, Emmy Award winner and former host of Windy City Live, the awards ceremony also featured recorded remarks from both Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. 

The winners of the Corporate Champion and the Chicagoness Award—Abbott and Ellen Carnahan, respectively—were announced in advance, but were officially recognized during the program. The following 5 awards were also presented live during the ceremony: Outstanding Tech CEO Award, Industry Disrupter Award, Rising Star Award, Momentum Award, and CityLIGHTS Award.

“The past year has been utterly remarkable for 1871, and at this year’s Momentum Awards we celebrated the success, resiliency and perseverance of our community.  Last night’s events, attended both in person and virtually, signified that our mission marches on and has never been stronger,” said Larry Eppley, Chairman of 1871 and Managing Partner of Sheppard Mullin’s Chicago office. “Our 2021 award winners highlight the strength of Chicago tech today, and we’re proud to recognize their incredible achievements and bright futures.”

“Chicago tech is on fire right now, and the 14th Annual Momentum Awards perfectly showcased how our expansive and engaged community of innovators are playing a crucial role in spurring Chicago’s economic recovery and job growth,” said 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler. “Our group of finalists and winners this year are creating necessary solutions every day that are building a better future in their communities, and it was our honor to come together both in-person and virtually from around the world to celebrate their wonderful achievements.” 

Here are the seven winners from the 14th Annual Momentum Awards:

2021 Corporate Champion Award: Abbott

The Corporate Champion Award was presented to dedicated advocate and partner Abbott for their innovation in creating 12 COVID-19 tests that provided life-saving answers and clarity in our communities when we needed it the most.

Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Our 109,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries.

The 2020 Corporate Champion Award went to AON.

2021 Chicagoness Award: Ellen Carnahan 

The Chicagoness Award was presented to Ellen Carnahan, Principal of Machrie Enterprises LLC, for her long-time work as a pioneer in the movement to make the city leader in the tech world by investing in Chicago tech companies. 

The 2020 Chicagoness Award winner was Israel Idonije, Founder of FBRK Impact House.

2021 Outstanding Tech CEO Award: Stan Chia of Vivid Seats

The Outstanding Tech CEO Award was presented to Stan Chia, CEO of Vivid Seats

Stan Chia is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vivid Seats, the largest and most trusted independent ticket marketplace in North America. Mr. Chia has previously held leadership roles at GrubHub, Amazon, Cisco, and GE. Mr. Chia was born in Singapore and was named to Crain’s “40 Under 40”.

The 2020 Outstanding Tech CEO Award winner was Matt Elenjickal, Founder and CEO of FourKites.

2021 Industry Disrupter Award: Mycocycle

The Industry Disrupter Award was presented to Mycocycle, LLC.

Mycocycle is a waste-to-resource process that uses fungi via mycoremediation to remove toxins out of waste resulting in material reuse and a more circular process. Joanne Rodriguez, Mycocycle’s Founder and CEO, has more than 30 years of industry experience and has been a national leader in issues related to sustainability in the built environment.

The 2020 Industry Disrupter Award went to Storybolt.

2021 Rising Star Award: 86 Repairs

The Rising Star Award was presented to 86 Repairs.

86 Repairs is a subscription service that manages the entire repair process for restaurant groups. Restaurant operators count on them to handle their repairs so they can focus their time, money, and energy on what they do best – elevating the guest experience. 

The 2020 Rising Star Award went to Chowbus

2021 Momentum Award: Farmer’s Fridge

The Momentum Award was presented to Farmer’s Fridge.

Farmer’s Fridge makes it simple for everyone to eat well. The company operates hundreds of automated smart Fridges, offers a direct-to-consumer delivery program spanning 35 markets, and partners with leading retailers including Target and Jewel-Osco. Since 2013, the company has sold more than 5 million meals.

The 2020 Momentum Award went to The Mom Project.

The CityLIGHTS Award was presented to ShipBob

ShipBob is the leading cloud-based logistics platform for ecommerce businesses. As an end-to-end global fulfillment solution, ShipBob helps deliver packages in 1-3 business days. The ShipBob dashboard integrates with top ecommerce platforms and enables brands to manage inventory, orders, and shipments, and leverage analytics to run their business.

The 2020 CityLIGHTS Award went to Livongo.

About The Momentum Awards

The Momentum Awards, now in its 14th year, is an annual celebration of tech innovation across Chicago and beyond, attended by 1871’s full community of innovators, leaders, and civic supporters and partners. It is the largest gathering of the tech community and the primary fundraiser for 1871.

Finalists in all seven categories were selected from a competitive and impressive pool of ~200 nominees. Nominees were generated through public nomination and then deliberated on by 100+ judges who span Chicago’s business and innovation sectors. Winners were determined by a combination of public vote and vote by the 1871 Board of Directors. 

Sponsors this year include Abbott, AON, and Discover.

The 15th Annual Momentum Awards will take place on September 22nd, 2022! 


 About 1871

1871 is Chicago’s technology hub and the #1 ranked private business incubator in the world. It exists to inspire, equip, and support early stage, growth scalers and innovators in building extraordinary businesses. 1871 is home to ~450 technology startups, ~300 growth stage companies, and ~60 corporates and enterprises, and is supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The member experience includes virtual and in person access to workshops, events, mentorship, and more. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its members, alongside access to more than 100 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 650 alumni companies are currently still active, have created over 11,000 jobs, and have raised more than $1.65 billion in follow-on capital.

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