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Guest Blog: How to Tell Your Story With Video

Posted by: 1871 on 5/20/20 5:23 PM

Guest Author: Lisa Weiss, CEO, Storybeat Studio

If you’re among the hundreds of millions participating in Zoom or other video conference calls while working from home, video is likely a large part of your day. Despite so-called “Zoom fatigue,” more than 25% of the tech sector now wants permanent remote work, and that means more video calls and content in the future.

Entrepreneurs have an opportunity to elevate the quality of their video content while sharing their areas of expertise with a more engaged audience. This blog primarily focuses on inspiring entrepreneurs to create original video content on their own at home, but some of these tips and insights will also help improve the quality and composition of your video conference calls.

Guest Blog: Your Customers' Problems Are Your Problems

Posted by: 1871 on 5/13/20 10:08 AM

Guest Author: Kelly Bertog, Marketing Manager, Future Founders


“Founders often hold too tightly onto solutions and too loosely onto problems.”

-Michael Seibel, CEO of Y Combinator

During these trying times, how can startups ensure they weather the storm? I recommend focusing intensely on solving customer problems, and I argue that your customers' pain-points are more important than ever.

Boldly Growing the Good: Women in Fintech

Members, Women, BMO Harris Bank
Posted by: 1871 on 5/6/20 4:47 PM

Guest Author: Ben Schack, Head of Digital Partnerships at BMO Harris Bank

On April 27th, we announced the launch of WMNFINtech: A Women in FINtech Initiative by 1871 and BMO Harris Bank. This is the fourth collaboration for BMO Harris and 1871, and the first time we have focused exclusively on US-based companies with a woman founder or cofounder.

Guest Blog: 3 Considerations While Selecting Cybersecurity Coverage

Posted by: 1871 on 4/29/20 11:42 AM

Guest Author: Aon

As entrepreneurial and growth-stage business communities grapple with the virtual workplace and remote work styles, connectivity has become necessary lifelines for business to continue in a pandemic environment. The heightened reliance upon technology escalates cyber security considerations and brings increased focus on the scope of cyber insurance and professional liability coverages in a dynamic global insurance market.

Guest Blog: Find Your Obsession, The World Needs It

Posted by: 1871 on 4/22/20 11:34 AM

Guest Author: Travis Claytor, President & Owner, TC Strategic Communications

It’s safe to say that although we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the way that we operate and how we accomplish even the simplest of tasks has been forever changed. Our lives are changing, business is evolving, and the way we connect with people across the globe will never be the same. Most people are working from home, balancing a crazy schedule as personal and professional lines blur.

1871 COVID-19 Update: 03.16.20

With the growing concerns of COVID-19, we want you to know that we are committed to doing our part to keep both our members, guests, staff, and community healthy. We are continuing to monitor the situation and are keeping a close eye on official information, including the Chicago, Illinois, and U.S. Departments of Public Health and guidance published by the CDC.

Effective immediately, access to 1871 is members-only. Everyone who enters must have their own badge: no public or visitor access will be permitted.

1871 Events COVID-19 Update

Our 1871
Posted by: 1871 on 3/12/20 10:15 AM

Given the varying levels of uncertainty in regards to hosting public events due to the progression of COVID-19, your health and safety are our top priority at 1871. 

The Unanticipated Upside of Meeting Widely and Giving Unconditionally

Food Foundry
Posted by: 1871 on 10/15/19 3:27 PM

The Food Foundry is a Chicago-based accelerator program by Relish Works designed to support, connect, and propel innovative startups who are rethinking the food industry. 86 Repairs was a member of Cohort 1.

Top 5 Tips for Maximizing your Time in a Start-up Accelerator

1871, Food Foundry
Posted by: 1871 on 10/1/19 10:14 AM

From those who went through one. 

The Food Foundry is a Chicago-based accelerator program by Relish Works designed to support, connect, and propel innovative startups who are rethinking the food industry. Participants of Cohort 1 provided valuable advice for those looking to take the leap into an accelerator. 

GUEST AUTHOR: Mandy TahvonenManaging Director of Relish Works

Last year, Relish Works launched our accelerator program, The Food Foundry, built in partnership with Gordon Food Service and 1871. For three months, our team searched the globe to find the top startups who were disrupting the broader food industry. Suffice to say, we met a ton of great folks, all-star entrepreneurs and mentors, and learned a lot along the way. 

Are you an entrepreneur who’s considering joining an accelerator? Have you already been accepted into a program and are just counting down the days until you can hit the ground running? 

We talked to the folks who participated in our first Food Foundry cohort to gather their best pieces of advice that they would give to the next group of entrepreneurs entering or considering an accelerator program.

Here’s what they had to say:

Food Foundry Cohort 1 Demo Showcase

1.) Start by Finding the Right Fit 

With so many programs out there, how do you really know which accelerator is the best for you and your business?  

The answer comes in three parts. Find a program that fits a.) your lifestyle, b.) your business, and c.) the network you’re looking to be a part of. 

For example, can you take the time away from your business to be a part of an accelerator that meets 5 days a week, or do you need the flexibility of a program that only meets once per week, or once per month? Because our startups were coming from all over the country, The Food Foundry met one week each month for 16 weeks. 

“Stay in town on the weekends whenever possible. Plan time outside of the regular scheduled program to be in Chicago (or whatever city you’re in) for at least 1-2 weeks to explore the city, get to know folks and better engrain yourself in the industry as a whole.” 

Know that when the program ends, it’s not really over. So pick a network that you’re excited to be a part of and support for the long run.  

“There were folks that I met through the program that I still talk to every week. It’s a community for life and I love that I’m a part of it.” 

2.) Network, network, network 

Across the board, this was the #1 piece of advice from the cohort that they would give to future program participants. 

“Network all the time...The actual work started after 5:00pm.” 

One of the best parts of being in an accelerator program is opportunity you'll have to tap into the incredible community of experts, mentors, VC’s, industry thought leaders, and general community supporters who are dedicating their time and resources to make sure your business is successful. This also includes access to new customers that you may not have ever had the chance to meet had it not been for that one special connection. 

Treat everyone you meet like they’re about to hand you your future, but also remember that networking goes both ways.

“The informal conversations at external networking events, accelerator hosted events, general meet-and-greets, etc. were the highlight for me. I now have a large group of people that I can call upon for advice at any time, and who I will gladly return the favor if ever in need.” 

Help your fellow startups out and hopefully they’ll do the same for you. These relationships are lasting - even after demo day - so make ‘em count. 

3.) You Get Out What You Put In 

You have a business to build, and while some companies may think they’ve gotten there and are fine, there’s always room to check yourself, pivot, and/or perfect. 

“There are some amazing learnings that you’ll get to experience on topics that may be new to you (or that you think you knew, but really didn’t), such as how to maximize Google Analytics, KPI exercises, business modeling and the finance related programming. All of these workshops were valuable and forced us to re-look at our priorities.” 

You’re about to walk into a series of classes and programming where you’ll have the undivided attention of experts in the field coaching you every step of the way to help you grow your business and develop certain skills along the way. Show up on time, put your phone on silent for an hour or two, and make a point to be as present as possible. 

4.) Ask and Give Feedback 

Ask the facilitator for any specific help that you need for you and your business from the get-go. If there’s something distinct that you really want to get out of a certain track, such as specific questions about hiring processes or equity sharing, be vocal about this. 

Constructive criticism can also be immensely helpful for those facilitating the program. The feedback throughout our first cohort helped us to pivot and perfect the details in order to maximize the experience for participants. 

“Tell your facilitator what you want right at the beginning and don’t be afraid to share feedback along the way. If you want something, say something!” 

5.) Be a Little Selfish

You're about to go through an intense experience that requires your focus and dedication. This may mean that you won’t be as available as you would normally be for your friends, family and significant others. 

The Advantages of Hyper Local Food

Posted by: 1871 on 9/4/19 1:16 PM

There are many problems with the American diet. According to the AMA, almost 40% of Americans are considered obese. Although the reasons for that are numerous and complex, one way to begin to address the problem is with healthier eating habits. Growing produce at home makes people more likely to cook healthful meals, allows them to eat local food and if there are children at home, can help parents instill healthy habits. Exposing children to fresh produce at an early age also has a big impact. In this guest blog post, Hank Adams, Founder and CEO of Rise Gardens, takes a look at the advantages of hyper local food.

Read the 1871 Blog for news about the Chicago technology and entrepreneurship community, as well as helpful tips, guides, and insights into the startup and investment world.

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