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September 27, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Theme of collaboration espoused by accelerator program leaders during yesterday’s “Deep Tech Showcase”

The fifth annual “Chicago Venture Summit” kicked-off its three-day run yesterday with a sold-out crowd of more than 450 participants including investors, start-up founders, corporate executives, and start-up ecosystem leaders.

So, why are we posting something about the first day? The answer would be for several reasons, starting with the fact that yesterday afternoon’s 90-minute session showcased how the Chicago ecosystem is collaborating across multiple players. Under the branding of “Deep Tech Showcase,” we saw start-ups from:

The pitches came about 10 days before participants in ORNL’s IC Cohort 4 will provide similar pitches during a showcase at 11 a.m. October 7 that is part of “Innov865 Week.” Details, including a link to registration, can be found here.

Haven Allen

There was also another tie to the region via Haven Allen, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of mHUB. His organization is a partner along with the Clean Energy TrustCentrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University, and the University of Tennessee’s (UT) Spark Innovation Center in an initiative named the “Midwest Regional Innovation Partnership” (MRIP). As noted in this June article, MRIP was awarded a $900,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy, and a portion of the funding will enable Spark, housed at and managed by the UT Research Park, to offer an annual “Spark Cleantech Accelerator” beginning in mid-2022 in conjunction with TVA and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council.

“Deep tech is what the Chicago ecosystem is all about,” Allen told viewers of the virtual event. “We have a very strong history in private equity . . . and an integrated ecosystem and very strong partnerships.”

Other key participants included John Carlisle, Director of “Chain Reaction Innovations,” and Melissa Bryn, Director of Innovation Programs for the Polsky Center. Both underscored Allen’s theme of the collaboration that is occurring across the ecosystem.


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