Chicago companies are seen as safer bets
Most Chicago tech organizations focus on serving businesses instead of building the "Next Big Thing" for consumers. It isn’t sexy or disruptive, but investors see this practical Midwestern mentality as more reliable. However, this risk-averse approach means most of the dollars coming into the city are going towards bigger, safer bets like Expedia's $1.3bn acquisition of Orbitz, instead of new startups, says Emile Cambry, Founder and CEO of incubator BLUE1647.
“It takes an investor to say ‘alright, we’re not going to make money for three to four years,’ and you don’t tend to see those types of investments in Chicago,” Cambry said.
It’s much cheaper to live here
The low cost of living in Chicago makes it a better option for would-be entrepreneurs than many major cities. For instance, the average overall rent for apartments in San Francisco is $3,770 and in New York it’s $3,519, compared to $1,989 in Chicago, according to Rent Jungle. So employees can do more with lower wages. Additionally, WalletHub ranks Chicago in the middle nationally when it comes to the cost of running a business. Taken together, these lower costs are appealing to new startups and big operations alike.