The startup culture is building momentum in Illinois. The state had 241 companies on the Inc. 5000 list in 2015, including four of the top 100 fastest-growing companies. In Chicago, more than 275 digital firms launch each year. The city is home to 11 companies on Deloitte’s most recent Technology Fast 500 list, including advertising software developer Signal and Sprout Social, which produces software to help businesses grow and enhance their social media presence. In 2014, Illinois ranked among the top 10 U.S. states for tech exits, with 43 acquisitions in Chicago alone.
In 2015, IBM acquired Cleversafe, a developer and maker of object-based storage software and appliances, and UPS acquired third-party logistics provider Coyote Logistics for $1.8 billion. Other recent acquisitions include the more than $1 billion purchase of cloud-based vendor management system provider Fieldglass by German-based enterprise software provider SAP. Leading online and mobile food ordering company GrubHub recently launched an IPO valued at more than $2.6 billion. The rise in tech exits is making Illinois more attractive for drawing venture capital because it raises the comfort level for investors and increases their potential payout for investing in these startups early on.