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Jim: Hey gang. Happy Friday. A quick reminder as we wrap up another busy week of Chicago tech news: If you’re enjoying The Beat, be sure to send it around to your colleagues and tell them to sign up right here. The Beat is more fun with friends.
Now, let’s finish the week strong and kick a Beat…
The Big One
A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.
Jim: Chicago tech hub 1871 just got a nice recognition from a global business accelerator ranking. Katherine, break down the news for us.
Katherine: 1871 was ranked first in the world among university-affiliated business incubators for its impact among local startups and its dedication to diversity.
The list, put together by Sweden-based UBI Global, ranks business incubators based on factors like how much value they bring to their members and their overall economic impact. 1871 is the only U.S. incubator on the list of 10. Other ranked incubators are in countries, such as Portugal, the Netherlands and Turkey.
1871’s ranking is an improvement from years past. In 2015, 1871 was ranked fourth in the world, second in North America and first in the U.S.
1871, launched in 2012, has eight university partners, like Northwestern University and The University of Chicago, and is home to more than 500 startups. Affiliated companies and alumni have raised more than $280M and have created over 8,000 jobs. In many ways, 1871 has become the epicenter of Chicago’s growing tech scene.
“1871 has—once again—demonstrated that it is one of the best university-linked business incubation programs in the world,” said Holger Meyer, director of research at UBI Global. “Achieving outstanding results across all assessed impact and performance dimensions and an impressive track record of successful client and alumni startups, 1871 has become a central hub and major pillar of the Chicago entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
Read More: 1871 Ranked First in World Among University-Affiliated Incubators
Inside the people, companies and organizations making moves in Chicago.
Jim: AddStructure, a startup that’s building tools to let customers shop for things online using voice commands, has been acquired by Bazaarvoice, an Austin-based marketing tech company. Chicago-based AddStructure, which launched in 2014, uses machine learning and natural language processing to give brands intelligent digital assistants to help customers find and purchase products. It has quickly caught on with e-commerce companies, and was one of ten startups selected to the first-ever Target+Techstars retail accelerator in Minneapolis. It’s working with Target on natural language online shopping tools, and it also counts Best Buy as a customer and investor.
Katherine: ServiceNow, a Silicon Valley software company, is opening an engineering center in Chicago with plans to hire 150 workers over the next two years. Chicago beat out a handful of other cities to land ServiceNow, which was founded in 2004 and does nearly $2B in annual revenue.
Jim: Airbnb is launching a new high-end rental option called Airbnb Plus, and Chicago is one of the first 13 global cities that will offer the feature. Airbnb Plus homes will be inspected and verified in person against a 100+ point checklist covering cleanliness, comfort and design, the company said.