J Blaszczykiewicz

Director of Marketing, 1871

[email protected]

1871 signs a new lease with theMART to extend the relationship through February 2030. 

CHICAGO (June 15, 2021) — 1871 and theMART announced today that 1871 has signed a new lease agreement, which will extend the two organizations’ relationship through February 2030.

Since its founding in 2012, 1871 has been proud to call theMART home. As one of the world’s leading commercial buildings, wholesale design centers and the preeminent international business location in the city, theMART continues to serve as the epicenter of business innovation and the ideal address for 1871, Chicago’s central tech address. The lease extension further cements this storied legacy and creates new opportunities to further 1871’s mission of driving economic growth across the region. 

Today’s announcement follows a number of recent moves that have seen 1871’s community considerably grow. 1871 recently marked the one year anniversary of the acquisition of the Illinois Technology Association (ITA), which added growth stage programming and expanded 1871’s network of support across the entire business maturity curve, from idea to Fortune 50 and every step in between. In February 2021, 1871 joined forces with Catapult Chicago to incorporate its peer-selected structure into the PYROS program, which introduced a tight-knit community where experienced, early stage members can support one another as they scale their businesses. theMART serves as a headquarters in the heart of Chicago for many in this wide-reaching, engaged, and supportive community. 

“At 1871, we believe that we can build an extraordinary future when our community of innovators comes together,” said Larry Eppley, Chairman of 1871 and Managing Partner of Sheppard Mullin’s Chicago office. “theMART shares our mission and vision of building a stronger, more equitable Chicago for founders and start-ups, and we’re proud to call them our trusted partner and our home.”

“Vornado Realty Trust and theMART are proud to continue our ten year partnership with 1871 into the next decade,” said Myron Maurer, COO of theMART. “Our long-standing relationship is a unique collaboration between tenant and landlord; one that allows for growth and expansion on an innovative level. 1871’s commitment to theMART distinctively positions us as Chicago’s hub of creative thinking and technological advancement.”

“While 1871 is a comprehensive experience with members, mentors, and partners that span the globe, pride of place remains important for us,” said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “theMART is and continues to be home for 1871 and our community of early stage businesses, growth stage companies, and corporate innovators. There’s an unmatched vibrancy to this space, and we’re excited for the day when we can once again welcome hundreds of innovative leaders back into our home.” 


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.

About theMART 

theMART (formerly The Merchandise Mart), located in the center of the sought-after River North submarket, is interwoven into the fabric of Chicago as an innovator in business, technology, culture, art, media and more. As the largest privately owned commercial building in the United States, it is also one of the world’s leading commercial buildings, wholesale design centers and the preeminent international business location in Chicago. Offering continuous innovation and creativity from leading manufacturers and design-forward showrooms, theMART serves as the home to Chicago’s most creative and technologically innovative companies including Motorola Mobility, 1871, Yelp, PayPal and MATTER, as well as Fortune 500 companies ConAgra, Allstate, Kellogg, Beam Suntory and Grainger. For more information, visit

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