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1871 is Virtual!

The 1871 team is sending our very best wishes to you across Chicago, Illinois, and beyond. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an upheaval of daily life for most everyone across the world and we’re all in this together.

Particularly affected are the small businesses, founders, and growing companies that make up our 1871 community. We want you to know that we at 1871 are all-in on our commitment to supporting, equipping, and inspiring you - our founders, growth-scalers, and innovators - while you weather this storm and build extraordinary businesses.

From our perspective, the most important tool during times of crisis is our mindset. We at 1871, like all of you, gravitate to entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology because we thrive on solving problems, especially the hard ones. We believe that sweeping change and major impact can be accomplished within any constraint.

We want to share three broad updates with all of you. The first is what you can do right now to make a difference, the second describes our work to fight COVID-19 and the third highlights how to engage with us virtually.

Stay at Home

1871 is an organization that has thrived on social engagement through physical proximity to create vital, fortunate collisions amongst its community, members, and partners. But right now, essential employees across our state, from healthcare workers to those keeping up supply chains, need our communities’ help to #flattenthecurve. If we stay at home, we actively prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and save lives. We can’t wait to see your faces again and these actions are how we make sure that happens.

Chicago Proactive Response: COVID-19

The 1871 community has jumped feet first into efforts to help during this difficult time. Businesses are pivoting, creating new offerings, and doing their part to make change: we are at the center of the problem-solving in Chicago. If you are a founder/team member of a startup/growth stage company and want to be included in updates regarding funding opportunities, please sign up here. 

On March 19th, we announced that 1871 is working in partnership with mHUB, MATTER, The Connectory, the local hospitals, the city and the county to identify existing innovators and experts who may be working on things directly supportive and/or things that could be adapted to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We already have more than 200 submissions highlighting innovations and talents that can help. 

We are collectively working with the city, state, and federal leaders and decision-makers to ensure that the collective impact from all of you can scale. Learn more here about the efforts of the Chicago Proactive Response: COVID-19.

1871 Virtual 

For all of us, the COVID-19 crisis has altered our paths.  Offering virtual learning experiences has been a 2020 target for us and I am very proud of my team to have accelerated that shift to ensure that our IRL social engagement experience can now be delivered from a distance. 


Many of you engage with us primarily through our events programming, which is vital to the 1871 Experience in bringing together our diverse and vibrant technology and innovation communities in Chicago for networking and knowledge. 

We’re working hard to translate these efforts into shared experiences for our communities during this time. Keep an eye out on for more information. Starting next week there will be public opportunities for you to engage and we look forward to seeing your smiling faces on your computer screens! 

Founder Experience 

If you are a founder or are interested in becoming a founder, our full-membership experience has gone virtual including our mentors, programming, events, and digital tools. We are leaning hard into our digital tech-stack and are now happy to share that the goods are there and basically unaltered, except for the fact that you can now wear slippers to work without shame. To learn more about our resources please schedule time with our team.

Growth Stage Experience

If you are a growth-stage leader and are looking for opportunities to engage your team and be part of a robust network of peers, please reach out to to find out more how we can best support you.


The best part about 1871 is our resourceful, compassionate, and innovative community. Luckily for us, we have a thriving virtual community already!

Both our founder and growth stage member portals are also a great place to go to find workshops, mentors, and fellow peers.

Our 1871 Community Slack Network is chock full of channels for everyone regardless of background, industry, business model, role, or technology type. Here are some of our favorite channels:

  • #blockchain
  • #fin-tech
  • #member-opportunities
  • #mentor-hours
  • #zeo (hear directly from 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler)

Get Virtual Access Today

With the goal of serving all current and future members virtually, we’re ensuring that we are here for our community. We have plenty of upcoming opportunities to flex our virtual event muscles with plans around Zoom-powered fireside chats, happy hours, support groups, and more on the horizon! 

A couple of quick action steps for you: 

  • If you’re an 1871 member and want access to PYROS digital workshops, email or send our Director of Membership Deena Siegel a message on Slack to begin the process.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about joining 1871 as a Founder and accessing our resources virtually, visit our Join page or sign up for a membership 1:1 here.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a growth-stage member and accessing our resources virtually, visit the ITA’s website.
  • If you’d like to attend a public virtual event, visit our event calendar.
  • If you’d like to host an event through 1871’s virtual event space, email or visit our Hosting page to submit a request.
  • If you’d like to sign up as a mentor fill out this form.

We look forward to navigating these waters just ahead of the curve and being the guiding light for those dedicated to building something extraordinary.

Topics: Community

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