Momentum Awards

1871’s 17th annual tech award show honoring the best innovators across Chicagoland happening on 9.19.24.

Nominations now extended until 6.17.24, 5 PM CST!

Event timeline

The Momentum Awards has a few phases that rely on the engagement of tech community across Chicagoland. Over the next handful of months, we will open up award nominations, hear pitches, ask the public who should win, and have an incredible night honoring our winners.


Phase 1:
Nominations

May – June


Phase 2:
Judging

July 


Phase 3:
Voting

July – August


Phase 4:
Award Show

September

Coming up:

Nominations

5.28.24 - 6.12.24
Opening soon

Current phase:
Nominations

Opening soon

5.28.24 - 6.17.24

How to nominate

1. Review the awards eligibility, criteria, and assets needed
2. Learn & ask questions at our nominations info session:
3. Choose who you will nominate & prepare
4. Create an account on our nomination platform & begin

Phases

1

Nominations

May 28th- June 12th

2

Public voting

July 29th- Aug 16th

3

Finalists announced

4

Award show

September 19th

Year 2023 Rewind

Looking back on 1871's 2023 Momentum Awards.

Our Award Categories

View our 8 awards that honor the incredible founders, leaders, and companies innovating in our tech community across Illinois. It’s time to nominate for 2024!

Rising Star Award

For an early stage tech company positioned to grow into a market leader. 

2023 winner

Rising Star Award details

This award recognizes a company that is early in its progression ($1MM+), but has a proven track record of success, has achieved significant traction in their market, makes an impact on the community and is well-positioned to grow into a leader in its market.

Award criteria
  • Company is becoming a visible and active presence in the Chicago tech and startup community.
  • Proven traction through team growth, funding, revenue, paid customers, product innovation, etc.
  • Has demonstrated rapid growth in the past 6-12 months, poises the company for future success.
  • Must be located in, or have their North American HQ based in,  Chicagoland.
Nomination assets to prepare
  • Key information about the nominee [Company, email, name, URL, handles, and range of employees]
  • Company’s revenue in the last fiscal year
  • Company’s 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year revenue growth rate
  • If external funding raised, what is the cumulative capital raised?
  • 2 sentences on why they should win
  • Paragraph demonstrating that the nominee has met the award criteria 

Momentum Award

For a growth stage tech company with the strongest potential to emerge as a market leader.

2023 winner

Momentum Award details

Presented to a growing company, ($3 to $25 million in revenue) that has the strongest potential to emerge as a leader in its market, has bootstrapped and/or received external funding and has made a substantial impact on Chicago’s tech and startup community. 

Award criteria
  • Company is visible and active in the advancement of Chicago’s tech community.
  • Displays growth through for example: securing of funding, increases in team size and presence in community.
  • Demonstrated increased traction over time (growth year-over-year, reaching profitability).
  • Must be located in, or have their North American HQ based in, Chicagoland.
Nomination assets to prepare
  • Key information about the nominee [Company, email, name, URL, handles, and range of employees]
  • Company’s revenue in the last fiscal year
  • Company’s 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year revenue growth rate
  • If external funding raised, cumulative capital raised
  • 2 sentences on why they should win
  • Paragraph demonstrating that the nominee has met the award criteria 

CityLIGHTS Award

For a late-stage tech company that is becoming a category leader.

2023 winner

CityLIGHTS Award details

Presented to the growth-stage company, (more than $25 million in revenue) that, through innovation in products, services, or business model, has grown to become a serious competitor in the marketplace and serve as a beacon to the Chicago tech community.

Award criteria
  • Industry, regional, or national reputation.
  • Proven track record of long-standing partnerships with customers, as demonstrated by customer retention that exceeds industry norms.
  • Investment in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts and commitment to advancing the STEM pipeline in Chicago.
  • Must be located in, or have their North American HQ based in, Chicagoland.
Nomination assets to prepare
  • Key information about the nominee [Company, email, name, URL, handles, and range of employees]
  • 2 sentences on why they should win
  • Paragraph demonstrating that the nominee has met the award criteria 

Outstanding Tech CEO Award

For a tech CEO w/ outstanding leadership.

2023 winner

Maria Christopoulos Katris, CEO of Built In

Outstanding Tech CEO Award details

Presented to a CEO who has successfully scaled their company through outstanding leadership, ability to attract and retain talented resources, dedication to diversity and inclusion and implementation of strategic growth opportunities.

Award criteria
  • Leads a company with growing revenue/profitability that exceeds industry averages.
  • Solid track record with focus on growth for both the company and its employees.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  • Must be an individual in a CEO role, employed by an Chicagoland-based technology business. Leadership qualities such as entrepreneurship, community involvement, and management expertise will be considered.
Nomination assets to prepare
  • Key information about the nominee [Name, email, company, URLs, handles]
  • 2 sentences on why they should win
  • Paragraph demonstrating that the nominee has met the award criteria 

Industry Disrupter Award

For a tech company that has developed a product that will disrupt their industry.

2023 winner

Industry Disrupter Award details

Presented to the company that has developed or introduced an ingenious, non-traditional, and innovative product or service that has significantly disrupted its industry.

Award criteria
  • Concept must be truly new and not a repositioning of an existing offering.
  • Must be technology-focused or technology-enabled
  • Concept must have passed initial validity testing (must be preliminarily proven as possible, not just an idea that may not be developed).
  • The company can be a newly formed or an existing company with an innovative concept.
  • The award winner can be of any annual revenue, in any state of business development.
  • Must be located in, or have their North American HQ based in, Chicagoland.
Nomination assets to prepare
  • Key information about the nominee [Company, email, name, URL, handles, range of employees, revenue, & growth details]
  • 2 sentences on why they should win
  • Paragraph demonstrating that the nominee has met the award criteria 

Social Impact Award

For a tech company that has fostered a commitment social equity & inclusion.

2023 winner

Social Impact Award details

Awarded to the technology company that has fostered an impact-oriented culture for their employees through a dedicated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, a positive contribution to the community and conscious social impact efforts or activities.  

Award criteria
  • Defined and actionable corporate responsibility (philanthropic) plan .
  • Demonstrated company commitment to fostering a culture of equity and inclusion, beginning with diverse company leadership and/or board makeup.
  • Deliberate positive social impact efforts through business operations and administration.
  • Must be located in, or have their North American HQ based in, Chicagoland.
Nomination assets to prepare
  • Key information about the nominee [Company, email, name, URL, handles, range of employees, revenue, & growth details]
  • 2 sentences on why they should win
  • Paragraph demonstrating that the nominee has met the award criteria 

Corporate Champion Award

Presented to a tech company that champions the growth of the Illinois tech industry through community-focused action. 

Closed for nominations

2023 winner

Chicagoness Award

Presented to an individual who exemplifies the values of the Chicago entrepreneurial community & empowers future innovators.

Closed for nominations

2023 winner

2024 sponsor opportunities

Support our mission, get visibility, & collaborate

When you sponsor Momentum Awards, your perks span before, during, and after the event, as well as throughout the year. As a 501c3 nonprofit, the work we do is made possible by the generous support of our community. Help us inspire, equip, & support by becoming a sponsor. Choose which benefit group is right for you.

Event Details

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Location

Morgan MFG or Virtual

Time

6:00 – 7:00 PM CST – Virtual & in-person networking, featuring live entertainment from The Jellyvision Band!

7:00 PM CST – Award program & celebration

8:15 PM CST – After party celebration with special entertainment guests

10:00 PM CST – Silent Auction & Raffle close and event concludes. We’ll see you next year!

Past winners

Rising Star

2022:  Valqari

2021:  Valqari

Momentum

Presented to a growth company with the strongest potential to emerge as a leader in its market.

2022 winner: Ocient

CityLIGHTS

Presented to a late-stage company that is becoming a category leader.

2022 winners: ActiveCampaign

Outstanding
Tech CEO

Presented to a CEO who has successfully scaled & nurtured their company through outstanding leadership.

2022 winner: Kelly Manthey, Global Chief Executive Officer of Kin + Carta 

Industry
Disrupter

Presented to a company that has developed an innovative product that has the potential to  significantly disrupt their industry.

2022 winner: Rheaply

Social Impact

Presented to a company that has fostered a commitment to DEI, community contributions, & social impact.

2022 winner: Zing Health

Corporate Champion

Presented to a company that champions the growth of the Illinois tech industry through community-focused action. 

2022 winner: Navistar

*Closed for  nominations*

Chicagoness

Presented to an individual who exemplifies the values of the Chicago entrepreneurial community & empowers future innovators.

2022 winner: James (Jim) Reynolds Jr., Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Loop Capital

*Closed for  nominations*

Reserve your ticket!

1871 Membersyou’ve got a discount code waiting for you. Check your inbox or reach out to us!

In-person

Single: $1,000

Virtual

Single: $50

5-pack: $225

10-pack: $450

Event Experience

We’re gearing up for an incredible night of fun, new connections, & celebration! In addition to cheering on today’s brightest tech founders & leaders at our award show, here is what you can expect when you purchase your ticket:

Jellyvision

Pre-show entertainment

Local tech band, The Jellyvision Band, will be performing during opening cocktail hour! Featuring nine multi talented employees of Jellyvision and performing hits of yesterday and today, this band rocks!

Support towards 1871's mission

Our array of robust silent auction packages, unforgettable experiences, and exclusive raffle items are now live on our events platform!The proceeds help contribute towards supporting our mission.

Whether you’re joining us in person at Momentum or from the comfort of your own home, browse and enter to win incredible packages & experiences like: Farmer’s Fridge FOR LIFE, Blackhawks game tickets, Spend A Day in the life with 1871’s ZEO, and so much more!

How to participate

Raffle

Purchase “entry tickets” to enter yourself into the raffle for each item you want to win. Enter as many times as you’d like! 

Silent Auction

Make a bid on each item that catches your eye. The highest bid will win!

Networking

Connect with fellow entrepreneurs & business leaders across our tech community either in-person over refreshments or through our networking feature on Hopin!

After party entertainment

The party won’t end after the last award is delivered! Stay tuned afterwards for an exciting afterparty experience featuring, local tech band, Live Stream.

Sponsorship

Want more branding opportunities to go along with your access to Momentum 2023? Contact momentum@1871.com to learn more about our wide variety of event sponsorship opportunities. 

Year 2022 Rewind

Looking back on 1871's 2022 Momentum Awards.

6 awards are now up for public nominations. Choose your top in each category today!

Thank you to our 2023 sponsors!

Momentum Awards replay

Helpful resources

We’ve pulled together some content to help you on your nomination journey!