This Year’s Best of Tech in Greater Chicago

Want to help us recognize the best in tech but don’t know where to start?

Each year at the Momentum Awards, we honor the innovators & leaders across the business maturity curve with 8 awards representing key areas of achievement—with 6 that are open to public nomination & vote! 

Nominations for the 15th Annual Momentum Awards are open until 6.17! 

We know that it can be hard to know where to start with so many incredible community members, so we put together a helpful list of resources you can reference before you cast your nominations:

Fast 50: Chicago’s Fastest-Growing Companies 2022

By Sophie Rodgers, Crain’s Business Chicago

Meet 30 Companies in Chicago Pushing the City to New Heights

By Matthew Urwin, Built In Chicago

Top Chicago Startups to Watch in 2022

By Lauren Zyber, Purpose Jobs

The 25 Best Tech Companies in Chicago to Work for in 2021

By Tiffany Webb, Flatiron School

Best of SaaS: The Top Tech Companies in Chicago

By Brittany K. King, Learn Hub

These 5 Chicago Companies Ranked on Forbes’ Best Startup Employers List

By Abel Rodriguez, Built In Chicago

Top Startups in Illinois

Startup Ranking

2022 Best Tech Startups in Chicago

The Tech Tribune

230 Illinois Companies Make Fastest-Growing List: Inc. 

By J. Ryne Danielson, Patch

Nominations will be accepted from Wednesday, June 1, 9AM CST through Friday, June 17, 11:59PM CST via Reviewr.

Want to learn more? We are hosting two introductory webinars on the categories and process. Register for them here: June 8 @ 10am CST | June 9 @ 1pm CST.

For 15 years, the Momentum Awards have annually celebrated tech innovation & impact across greater Chicago and beyond. But what makes them so special? 

This award program  is our premier event, bringing together our full community of innovators, leaders, supporters, & partners to make the largest celebration of tech in Chicago!

Here’s your primer on everything you need to know about the Momentum Awards, its history and evolution, & the impact it has on the work we do for our community!

View 2021’s recap here.

About the event 

Each year, the Momentum Awards honor the top tech innovators and leaders that are disrupting their industries, building up their communities, & shaping the future.

Our 8 awards represent key areas of achievement across the entire business maturity curve, from idea all the way to Fortune 50. Together, our award ceremony recognizes the strength of our community and the ingenuity that emerges when innovators are connected with the necessary resources, mentorship, & support system.

The Momentum Awards supports our mission 

As a 501c3, the work we do is made possible by the generous support of our community. The Momentum Awards is our most important fundraising event of the year, so you can help us continue to inspire, equip, & support innovators and leaders across the entire maturity curve for years to come by making a contribution, becoming a sponsor, or attending the event!

You can also help us recognize the best in tech by nominating yourself, your company, or your peers across our award categories. Nominations open each year during the summer, and your participation will help determine which innovators and leaders make our esteemed group of finalists!

Finally, you can support us by celebrating with our community at the event itself! Just reserve your ticket and join us in-person or virtually for the big day. 

The story of the awards

The Momentum Awards actually predate 1871 itself!

The Chicago Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) first introduced the awards in 2007 as a way to bring attention to the people who were building businesses and growing the community at a time when not many viewed Chicago as a top tech startup destination. 

A lot has changed in 15 years! Since our first event, we’ve seen incredible growth in our local tech industry in large part because of the strength of our community. Every day, founders are creating important solutions, building new businesses, and scaling their companies, and our annual gathering has evolved as well to reflect these developments. The Momentum Awards serves as the largest tech networking event and celebration of innovation in Chicago!

In 2020, we welcomed our community of growth stage companies following the acquisition of the Illinois Technology Association (ITA, which expanded our event to include winners from across the entire business maturity curve. With awards recognizing early stage startups, growth stage companies, and corporate innovators, the Momentum Awards celebrates outstanding individuals and companies now matter where they are at in their business journey!

The Momentum Awards impact

Not only is it one of the best places to connect with some of the brightest stars in tech, the Momentum Awards also has a long history of recognizing startups that have become leading disruptors in their industries. You’re sure to recognize many of our past winners, including Cameo, tastytrade, Discover, Rheaply, and ShipBob just to name a few.  In fact, it wouldn’t be the first time one of our award recipients became Chicago’s next unicorn! 

As an attendee, you’ll also see the density and diversity of our community on full display. The Momentum Awards brings together our full community of members, mentors, corporate sponsors, community & university partners, VCs, alumni, & policy makers for an unforgettable night of celebration and highlights what makes 1871 special—the energy that comes from every fortunate collision with supporters that share your passion for innovation!

For any questions about Momentum contact [email protected]

Many businesses have been adversely affected by a change in the tax treatment of research and experimentation (R&E) expenses that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. Instead of having the option to currently deduct R&E expenses, businesses will need to begin amortizing Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 174 R&E expenditures — over five years for U.S.-based expenses and over 15 years for foreign research expenses. The law applies to a broad range of costs typically associated with research and development, as well as “any amount paid or incurred for the development of any software.” This change can result in a significant reduction in deductible expenses for 2022 and, in turn, higher taxable income. Some businesses are already feeling the pinch of this change in their estimated tax calculations for the first and second quarters of 2022.

For many taxpayers, the first step in complying with these new rules is creating an accounting process that accurately tracks the costs that must be amortized.

Read more from Plante Moran’s tax credit experts here.

We’re proud to announce the 30 finalists of this year’s 15th Annual Momentum Awards, and share that our voting period is now open until 8.19

Our finalists were chosen from one of our most impressive pools of nominees to date. After a difficult deliberation, our judges have selected an incredible group of founders, innovators, & businesses that are leading the way in their industries and communities. 

The six award categories include: Rising Star Award, Momentum Award, CityLIGHTS Award, Outstanding Tech CEO Award, Industry Disrupter Award, and our new Social Impact Award

“The 2022  Momentum Awards finalists exemplify the spirit of innovation and creativity that makes Chicago the best place to build and grow a business,” said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “We’re proud to honor the achievements of these innovators & leaders that are advancing the world forward and shaping a brighter future for the communities they serve.”

Reminder, the voting period closes on 8.19.2022, so dig into the details of our finalists and let us know who you think should win!

The Momentum Awards will be held on  September 22, 2022, both in-person and virtually, where  we publicly celebrate these incredible innovators & leaders by unveiling the winners on stage! Stay tuned for details on tickets, and see below for this year’s finalists.

Rising Star Award

Presented to an early stage company that is positioned to grow into a leader in its market.

CASH DROP | 💸 Start an online store from your phone in minutes. Zero commissions. Zero monthly fees.

Homethrive | Homethrive is a technology-enabled healthcare service company that reduces work, worry and stress for unpaid family caregivers, their loved ones and their employers. Our family caregiving platform, Dari, uniquely integrates our digital assistant for coaching, navigation and resources with expert personal interaction and service coordination to help ease the difficult and stressful responsibility of supporting loved ones who are aging or have special needs. Family, or unpaid caregivers, and their loved ones get the support they need to confidently maneuver the aging, eldercare, and special needs journeys.

Valqari | Valqari has developed a patented, intelligent mailbox that is compatible with traditional and future delivery modes.

Honest Game | As the industry leading on-demand academic compliance solution, we empower student-athletes with a plan that provides guidance on the classes, grades and test scores they need to meet NCAA academic eligibility status. We leverage a passion for sports as a motivation for learning.

Bonfire | Bonfire is a unique talent development accelerator helping employers attract, develop and retain diverse talent. We help companies build a strong leadership pipeline by empowering women to realize their own potential and change the rules of the modern workforce.

Momentum Award