Plug and Play Seeks Chicago Startups for Bridge to Silicon Valley

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Applications are now open for Chicago Startups to Participate in Plug and Play's Startup Accelerator for Summer 2014's Cohort.

Plug and Play, the global startup accelerator and investment fund behind PayPal, Dropbox, Lending Club and Zoosk, has announced the launch of Plug and Play Chicago. The application deadline is May 25th and Selection Day in Chicago will be held May 29th. Apply to the program by visiting:

Startups will receive $25,000 - $100,000 in funding and will be part of a 10-week program of workshops, mentoring and streamlined access to Plug and Play’s daily venture capital and corporate partner deal-flow sessions. Plug and Play enables the bridge from around the world to Silicon Valley, where over 50% of all venture capital is located. With exceptional mentors, service partners, corporate deal-flow and VC relationships, startups gain access to one of the most qualified and extensive support networks available.

In Chicago, Plug and Play has partnered with Steve Olechowski, co-founder of Feedburner (acquired by Google) and Michael Marasco, Professor and Director of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Northwestern University.

Steve says of the partnership:

"I've built four startups in Chicago and even though the startup ecosystem has never been stronger, I have always felt it was extremely important for my technology companies to have a strong connection to Silicon Valley. Feedburner would not have been successful without that strong relationship to the Valley."

"With this in mind, and after working with Saeed Amidi, CEO and Founder of Plug and Play in Spain, Berlin and Sunnyvale, I saw the perfect opportunity to bring Plug and Play's unique take on startup acceleration to the community in Chicago."

Professor Marasco describes the program’s value as a platform:

"As an active angel investor and educator at a global institution, I recognize the value of a network that is not tied to one geography. My former students have participated in Plug and Play's accelerator where they have built priceless connections through their experiences and as a result, their businesses would not be as far developed today. Plug and Play really understands this bridging dynamic and has institutionalized it within their facilities, network and capital resources."

Robin Ardeshir, Plug and Play Chicago's Program Director, states: “We believe it is important for startups to visit and learn from Silicon Valley early on into their startup journey. Be around the energy, learn from the best and start building relationships. We encourage startups to grow their teams and business at home, using Plug and Play as a platform or gateway to raise further funding and meet the right people at the larger corporate players.”

Two Chicago startups that have been through the Plug and Play program also emphasize Plug and Play’s network. Dan Roberts, CEO, Scout says “Whether we need connections to the venture world, or are exploring strategic partnerships, the team at Plug and Play makes the connection and helps us grow". Riley Scott, CEO, Aisle50 says "Having a Silicon Valley connection has been important because many technology decision-makers and investors are there.”

The Plug and Play Chicago team, along with local venture and corporate partners, will make up the selection panel on May 29th. Chicago is the latest Plug and Play city, an addition to Plug and Play’s US activities and engagements in 25 international locations.


Application deadline: May 25th
Selection Day in Chicago: May 29th
Program start: June 23rd
Program Location: Sunnyvale, California

About Plug and Play:

Plug and Play Tech Center is a global accelerator that specializes in growing tech startups. Headquartered in Sunnyvale California, Plug and Play’s network includes over 300 tech startups, 180 investors and a community of leading Universities and Corporate partners.


For media or press inquiries about Plug and Play Chicago, please contact Mirjana Shasha via email, Shasha(at)plugandplaytechcenter(dot)com, or via phone: (408) 524-1439.

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Mirjana Shasha
since: 11/2008
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