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Press Release: 1871 and Catapult Join Forces to Drive Collective Acceleration for Experienced, Early stage Founders

1871 and Catapult join forces to drive collective acceleration for experienced, early stage founders.

CHICAGO (February 17th) -- 1871 and Catapult Chicago are excited to announce today that they have entered into a binding agreement pursuant to which Catapult’s intellectual property assets and programs will be acquired by and integrated into 1871. 

Founded in 2012, 1871 and Catapult share a similar history, mission, and vision of driving economic growth in Chicago and across the region by supporting entrepreneurs building extraordinary businesses. As long-time, dedicated partners in the city’s tech community, many successful start-ups have participated in the programming of both organizations. Unified by the goal of increasing the probability of success for businesses and shortening the time frame to reach that success, this integration will elevate the experience for all members, alumni, and partners. 

As a result of today’s announcement, members of both organizations will join together under the 1871 name. Catapult members will have the opportunity to benefit from 1871’s resources and scale. Additionally, 1871 will incorporate Catapult’s peer-selected and community-driven structure into the “Grow” stage of its PYROS program, which will be renamed “Catapult.” This structure will emphasize peer-to-peer interactions, introducing a tight-knit community where experienced, early stage members can support one another as they scale their businesses.  

“Catapult has long served as an important partner in the Chicago tech community. Their unique model of peer-selection and founder-focused programming will be a welcome addition to our 1871 community and our world-class offerings,” said Larry Eppley, Chairman of 1871 and Managing Partner of Sheppard Mullin’s Chicago office. “1871 is proud to be joining forces with Catapult and carrying on its legacy as we continue to inspire, equip and support our members.”

Catapult’s capabilities will strengthen 1871’s holistic approach to the founder experience by creating greater opportunities to deliver targeted resources, experiences, and connections. In February 2020, 1871 added the growth-stage programming of the Illinois Technology Association (ITA), and today’s agreement further adds to this momentum by building a new and necessary bridge between early stage businesses and growth-stage companies. 

“Both nonprofit organizations launched around the same time, playing a central role in growing and shaping Chicago's startup community. By coming together with 1871, Catapult's membership, both current and alumni, will act as a force multiplier for 1871's well-established, diverse, and extensive ecosystem. We anticipate the enhanced access to experienced other founders and increased number of educational opportunities offered by strategic partners will elevate and expedite our startups' growth trajectory exponentially," says Josh Berman, Catapult Board Member and Executive Director.

Guided by the ethos that a diverse and supportive community of peers can create collective success, Catapult has fostered a well-known legacy of spurring growth in the Chicago tech sector. Together, its members have raised more than $410 million in funding during the organization’s nine years of operation. 1871 is proud to carry on the Catapult model of cross-company collaboration and amplify its members’ reach and resonance across a wider network. 

“Catapult was founded by founders for founders. Our goal has always been to provide a supportive and accessible environment for innovative startups to grow and learn from each other. Integrating Catapult's community into 1871 is an extremely exciting next step for the organization,” added Ryan Leavitt, Catapult Founder and Board President. “The effects of COVID-19 require a new way for founders to build and nurture relationships. I am confident the coming together of our two leading organizations will serve our Catapult Community and the greater startup universe in extraordinary ways.” 

“Organizations such as Catapult and the work they do for early stage businesses are what make Chicago one of the best places to build a business,” said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “Following the power of “and” is an important aspect of our vision, so we firmly believe that through this acquisition and integration, we can better serve members throughout every stage of their development and expand our collective reach in Chicago, Illinois, and across the Midwest.”




About 1871

1871 is Chicago’s technology hub and the #1 ranked private business incubator in the world. It exists to inspire, equip, and support early stage, growth scalers and innovators in building extraordinary businesses. 1871 is home to ~450 technology startups, ~400+ growth stage companies, and ~1,500 members, and is supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The member experience includes virtual and in person access to workshops, events, mentorship, and more. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its members, alongside access to more than 100 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 650 alumni companies are currently still active, have created over 11,000 jobs, and have raised more than $1.65 billion in follow-on capital.

About Catapult Chicago

Designed for a flexible work environment, Catapult’s boutique setting goes beyond our Class A+ office to initiate powerful connections and sleeves-rolled-up programming for start-up founders and their leadership teams. Our unique peer-to-peer membership pitch program ensures a diverse and supportive group of high-growth companies function like a board of advisors. Established in 2012, our companies have scaled raising ~ $410 million in capital. 




Topics: News, Community, 1871

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