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1871 Hosts Shark Tank Event for the Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism


1871 and J. Walter Thompson showcase five travel and tourism-focused startups from Illinois as a part of this week’s Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism

CHICAGO, IL (February 4, 2015) — Digital startup incubator 1871 and J. Walter Thompson, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, will host a Shark Tank-style competition tomorrow for five travel and tourism-focused startups based at 1871. As a part of the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism, the competition will allow the participating companies to showcase new technologies in the travel and tourism industries and compete for the chance to win a $5,000 cash prize, as well as presentation coaching courtesy of J. Walter Thompson.

"1871’s primary goal is to support the new businesses that are crucial creators of job and economic growth across Illinois,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “We are excited to highlight some of the state’s most innovative companies in the travel and tourism space, and look forward to watching the ongoing growth and success of these startups.”

Much like the hit ABC reality series, a group of three judges will grill the contestants about their business models and avenues for growth. The panel of judges includes 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman, TimeZoneOne President and CEO Daniel Thomas, and J. Walter Thompson Senior Partner and Group Management Director Erin Clark. Following the company presentations and questions from the judges, conference attendees will vote to decide which startup gave the best business pitch and is deserving of the grand prize.

J. Walter Thompson is thrilled to partner with 1871 and the state of Illinois to support the startups helping to shape the travel and tourism industry,” said Erin Clark, Senior Partner and Group Management Director at J. Walter Thompson Chicago. “This event reinforces our commitment to pioneering and innovative thinking, and we are so excited at the prospect of propelling the winner of this event to the next level.”

The 1871 companies participating in the Shark Tank include:

  • Breakwater – a floating luxury entertainment venue
  • Georama – an interactive travel discovery platform
  • Options Away – a company that provides airfare price locking and travel management services
  • SiMple – a company that facilitates effortless international cell service activation
  • Trytn – an event booking gateway and online marketing presence for excursion providers

To learn more about the Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism, please visit:

About J. Walter Thompson Worldwide

  1. Walter Thompson Worldwide, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, has been making pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business for more than 150 years. Headquartered in New York, J. Walter Thompson is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals. The agency consistently ranks among the top networks in the world and continues a dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from hiring the industry's first female copywriter to developing award-winning branded content today. For more information, please visit www.jwt.comand follow us @JWT_Worldwide.

Topics: Events

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