When reimagining what’s possible, there is no one right path.

1871 inspires, equips, and supports digital technology innovators and leaders  building extraordinary businesses, from idea to Fortune 50. We know that great solutions and products can come from anyone and anywhere, but far too often opportunity is not equally distributed. Creating an inclusive community with a goal of belonging and thriving requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. It’s one of our core values—what we call embracing the power of “and.” 

The power of “and” simply means that we seek a path forward that invites everyone to participate by rejecting industry binaries & breaking the mold of the ordinary. It also means activating our network of supporters & partners to work together toward a brighter future for our members & the world. The density & diversity of our 1871 community is our strength, & together we can make a real, measured difference. 

Here are a few ways we bring the power of “and” into the 1871 experience: 

We are a community where everyone can find the belonging & support they need to thrive. 

We believe that our  member environment should embody the varying experiences, backgrounds, and ideas in our communities. As part of this ongoing commitment, our affinity offerings—including WMNtech, BLKtech, & LTNtech—provide tailored resources and support that help founders & leaders embrace their unique strengths and break down the barriers they face in tech. Ranging from tailored & regular programming, mentorship, pitch competitions, & more, our affinity programs serve professionals from across the entire maturity curve and empowers them to succeed in every step of their business journey.

To date, we’ve welcomed:

  • 10 cohorts of LTNtech Founders (fka LatinX)
  • 14 cohorts of WMNtech Founders (fka WISTEM)
  • 9 cohorts of WMNtech Leaders (fka Women Leadership Accelerator)
  • 3 cohorts of BLKtech Founders

These efforts are working, and we’re excited to continue to foster a culture of belonging in 1871 as we continue to expand our affinity offerings & initiatives. Our goal is to represent the whole of our communities, raising up & highlighting the ingenuity present in Chicagoland & beyond. 

We adopt a growth mindset from the outside in.

Innovation has no final destination, and at 1871 we’re always open to new ways to better serve our community. Throughout our first ten years, we had the opportunity to join forces with a number of organizations that expanded our expertise & resources to better empower our members. 

In 2020, we acquired the Illinois Technology Association (ITA), which welcomed our incredible community growth stage companies and extended our offerings to become one of the only organizations that supports the entire maturity curve. One year later, we announced the acquisitions of Catapult Chicago & hub88, which respectively brought together our communities, expanded our physical footprint in Chicago’s Western suburbs, & deepened our expertise in emerging tech. 

We’re honored to continue on these organizations’ core missions and come together to accelerate our members’ journeys. 

Our community is stronger when we work together

In her opening address at the 2021 Momentum Awards, our CEO Betsy Ziegler said “Chicagoland is the best place to build and grow a business” because of the unmatched network of supporters dedicated to creating a brighter future. 

1871 is one of the only organizations in the country that brings together educators, VCs, angel investors, innovators, tech hubs, & neighborhood partners into a single, unified community. We’re proud to work closely with organizations including but not limited to P33, MHUB, MATTER, & Chicago Connectory, as well as city partners & chambers including World Business Chicago, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, add many others across Chicago neighborhoods partners.

Our members are driving the real, necessary change, and our job is to help them build where they live. As we continue to build our core offerings, we’ll seek new ways to cultivate a community where every innovator can find the support, resources, & allies they need to thrive—with “and” as our compass for the road ahead. 

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