Last month, we announced the 150 finalists for 50 on Fire, our annual awards show celebrating the individuals and companies that are heating up their respective industries. On 11/16, we’ll be revealing the final 50 live at the big event via an action-packed, 15-minute video. If you’ve seen the impressive list of 150 finalists, I’m sure you’re all wondering the same thing – “how the heck are they going to pick just 50?

To select the final 50, we assign a handful of judges a category or two each and send them a comprehensive packet complete with submission info and other details. We’ve also carefully hand-picked our judges, making sure that each category is being determined by industry experts, veterans, and thought-leaders. In other words, 50 on Fire is always judged by people that are, themselves, on fire.

And we ask our judges one question – who do you think is on fire.

Obviously, that can be interpreted a number of different ways, but that’s why we’ve assembled an eclectic group that are all experts in this space and valued members of the tech community. A promising first-time founder can be on fire, same with an established serial entrepreneur and executive. A fast-growing student-run startup can be on fire; so can a 20+ year Fortune 500 business. Yes, that makes it a little harder to pick, but that’s why we think 50 on Fire is unique and special. We want this list to be a reflection of the entire ecosystem, from professors to non-profits to executives to founders to VCs to co-working spaces – you name it. You just can’t do that with a list of companies ranked by head-count, or revenue, or yearly growth.

Below are the 2017 judges for 50 on Fire!

  • Cayman Wills, Managing Director, J.P. Morgan Private Bank
  • Constance Freedman, Moderne Ventures
  • Gerri Kahnweiler, InvestHER
  • James Carlin, Executive Director, Technology Middle Market Banking, J.P. Morgan
  • Jim Dallke, Associate Editor at Chicago Inno
  • Katherine Davis, Staff Writer at Chicago Inno
  • Kristi Dula, Pritzker Group
  • Patrick J. Murphy, Ph.D, DePaul University
  • Taylor Golden, General Assembly
  • Victor Gutwein, M25 Group
  • Will Flanagan, AmericanInno


Thank you to our event sponsors!