Past Meetup

HomeGrown Chicago: Raising a Company in the Windy City (Sponsored by Microsoft)

This Meetup is past

423 people went


With the startup scene having officially exploded in Chicago, Tech in Motion ( thought it would be interesting (and useful) to hear from some companies that have “made it” and have moved past the startup stage. We often focus on the creation of companies, their ideas, their business models, but what happens next?

Maria Katris, the CEO of Built In, will be moderating the event and asking our panelists about the struggles of growing a company in Chicago. We want to hear what worked for them, and what didn’t, and if choosing to headquarter in Chicago played into their success, or hindered it. We’re welcoming panelists from Belly (, BenchPrep (, GiveForward (, and Jellyvision (

About our Moderator, Maria ( of Built In Chicago

Maria Christopoulos Katris is the CEO of Built In, a network of hyperlocal platforms which enable startups to connect, share and grow. The company currently operates three sites in Chicago (, Los Angeles ( and Denver (, and is headquartered in Chicago.

About Craig ( from Belly (

Craig Ulliott is a British-born serial technologist and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Belly Inc., a Chicago-based start-up that is digitally reinventing the loyalty process for small businesses around the country.

In August of 2010 he partnered with Katy Lynch to found SocialKaty Inc, a full service social media agency. Still currently Executive Chairman, Ulliott bootstrapped the business until April 2012 then raised investment from the Chicago VC group Lightbank.

About Amanda ( from Jellyvision (

Amanda Lannert is the Chief Executive Officer of The Jellyvision Lab and has been a key figure in driving the company’s direction since its founding in 2001. Her focus at Jellyvision is on furthering the company’s digital strategy, improving processes to better scale operations, and client acquisition to continue fueling the company’s growth.

About Ujjwal ( from BenchPrep (

Ujjwal Gupta is Founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of BenchPrep. In his day-to-day activities, he leads product and growth related initiatives. Since 2010, Ujjwal has helped built BenchPrep, an online test preparation platform that is the first and only platform to sync across your computer, phone, and tablet. As co-founder, Ujjwal helped secure over $8 million in funding from some of the biggest venture capital funds in the US, including NEA, Lightbank, and Revolution. Ujjwal has launched partnerships with top education publishers like McGraw-Hill and Pearson.

About Desiree ( from GiveForward (

Born in Costa Rica, Desiree Wrigley was raised in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. Desiree graduated from Yale University with B.A. in Latin American Studies. Prior to launching GiveForward, she worked as a specialist in collegiate entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation and as an independent consultant for Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors. Desiree is passionate about philanthropy and the role that young and small-scale donors can have on our communities. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family.


6:00-6:30 Networking

6:30 Panel Presentations Begin

7:15 Panel Opens for Audience Q&A

7:30-8:00 Networking

Food and Drink

Ale Syndicate ( and DryHop Brewers (, 2 local Chicago breweries, will be onsite sampling some of their beer at no cost to our members!

5411 Empanadas ( will be selling their delicious pastries for $2.75 each. They take both cash and credit.

A heartfelt thank you to our sponsors, Workbridge Associates (, Jobspring Partners (, and Microsoft ( for their generous financial support.

Learn About our Headline Sponsor:

OneDrive ( - One place for everything in your life.

Easily store and share photos, videos, documents, and more – anywhere, on any device, free. Plus, get 7GB (and up to 15GB more!) free once you get started. From Microsoft to Apple to Google devices, your OneDrive is there for you, making sure you can always access your content, regardless of what computer, tablet, or phone you use. With OneDrive, you also have peace of mind that your files and memories are safely and automatically backed up. And of course, your files are private unless you want to share them with others.

#MeetOneDrive (, and you’ll never be without the files that matter to you.

Interested in sponsoring an event? Please contact Justin Miller ( )