Where am I off to this week?
Since I was already in Chicago, I did not have far to go to get to 1871 in Upper River, Chicago, Illinois.
Where is it?
So why did I choose 1871?
I have been reading about 1871 for years. They are known for being the hub and a driver of Chicago’s startup and tech life.
Of course I had to visit.
1871 is located on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart, a building once owned by the Kennedys, in downtown Chicago.
I met with Kat Rokhlin when I first arrived at 1871. Kat is incredibly nice and we had a great conversation about the space, the community, and how she came to work there. 1871 is so much more than a place to work.
As I explored the space, I could feel the strength of the connections and support system this organization has developed in order grow the community!
They strive to help each coworker and member of the community get connected to the right person at the right time. They actively work to help people find mentors or mentees because they know that it might only take one connection to help a person or company succeed. This desire and drive also ties into why 1871 was started. The city and community wanted to retain and attract the best tech talent. Success begets success. Talent attracts talent.
1871 has had quite a bit of support from the city and sponsoring companies. They have several sponsored areas — from Microsoft to Toyota to UPS. Many companies are looking to be involved and support this hub of innovation. The space even has a podcast room which was especially cool because I have been playing around with the idea of making my own Cowork 22 podcasts.
I worked at 1871 for only a day when there were a lot of people working throughout the office. The open coworking space, offices, reserved desks, and event spaces were full of people and the energy was palpable. We were here to be productive, achieve our goals, and take our companies to the next level.
It’s success, scale, and growth has also been a catalyst to attract more businesses to this area and further grow Chicago’s startup / tech community.
One company, Braintree Payments, a payment processor that I have used is even based out of this building. For all of you startups out there, they provide the first $50K in credit card transactions free!
I definitely enjoyed working out of 1871. It is a vibrant, growing, and striving community of people working to help more companies succeed. This is the goal of many coworking spaces, incubators, and accelerators around the world, and 1871 is noticeably succeeding.
I noticed that people I’ve met who had no idea about coworking or accelerators, knew about 1871. It’s well known not only around Chicago but throughout the world.
1871 exists to help build successful organizations, however, they are also focused on improving themselves to continue to be at the forefront of innovation and tech growth.