How a $200 million investment in a high-tech incubator can help create the next generation of startup leaders
The $200m investment in Nighthawk, a tech incubator in Chicago, is the latest in a series of initiatives to support entrepreneurs that are focused on growing the sector.
Nighthawks founder David Hodge, who founded the company in 2010, says it is “a great place to start” in Chicago.
“The city’s entrepreneurial scene is very vibrant, and we have an incredibly high demand for people who can bring ideas to life,” Hodge said.
“We’re seeing a lot of great ideas coming out of the Chicago area, and Nighthaws mission is to bring those ideas to fruition.”
In 2015, Nighthaw was the first Chicago-based incubator to receive $100m in venture capital, and it’s now one of the city’s largest incubators.
Ninthaw was founded by Hodge and two other Chicago entrepreneurs, Paul DeFries and Ryan Wylie.
The startup aims to help entrepreneurs who have been unsuccessful at starting their own companies find a place to work and raise funds.
In 2018, the incubator raised $7.2m in private funding.
“Nighthawk is about helping founders and entrepreneurs who are new to the industry find an innovative and innovative way to build their business,” said Hodge.
“This incubator is part of that process.”
Hodge has also launched a podcast, a podcast app, and a blog, as well as launched a new online hub for entrepreneurs, called The Next Big Thing.
In addition to helping entrepreneurs, Ninthaws incubator has also partnered with a range of Chicago-area charities.
Last year, the company partnered with the Chicago Public Library to offer a free day of school for the first time in over 20 years.
Hodge says that with the $200mn investment, Nthaws aims to give Chicagoans a better sense of how the Chicago market can support tech start-ups.
“In Chicago, the entrepreneurial community has been doing a fantastic job,” Hinkle said.
In 2017, the Chicago Economic Development Corp (CEDC) helped to raise $3.3m for Chicago-born start-up Zappos, which has now hired a full-time CEO.
“Our focus is on bringing new and innovative technology companies to Chicago,” said CEDC director Jennifer Tumulty.
“It’s a great time to be a Chicagoan in the tech industry.”