Chicago minted no fewer than 8 unicorn startups already in 2021, and the year is only half over, easily doubling last year’s count. Why is the Windy City suddenly a center of Midwest tech funding? The reasons are numerous why the Midwest, and Chicago in particular, is experiencing long overdue growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, but the basics boil down to this:
Chicago has been minting unicorn companies, or startups valued at over $1 billion, at a brisk rate in 2021. New unicorn G2 is the fifth of the year. The B2B enterprise software marketplace and review platform startup just raised $157 million in a Series D round led by Permira, a London-based private equity firm. So far, G2 has raised over $250 million in total.
If you’re in tech, you know something special has been happening in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the last few years. First cybersecurity startup Duo Security was acquired by Cisco for $2.3 billion, alongside 3 other Southeastern Michigan companies that became the region’s first unicorn startups, or tech startups valued at over $1 billion. Ann Arbor, with its solid tech talent pipeline from the University of Michigan and local business hubs that are home to now hundreds of software, life science and biotech, and security startups, has been ranked as an emerging tech hub by national outlets. Then the Duo team present for the exit got the startup itch. Now Blumira, founded in 2018 by tech alum of Duo Security, Censys and the NSA, just raised $2.6 million in seed round funding, is doubling its staff, and is disrupting the security SIEM (Security Incident and Event Monitoring) market to offer streamlined security services to small businesses.