The knock on Chicago’s startup scene for a while now has been the city’s lack of venture funding. That reality is starting to change, as $1 billion was invested into Chicago startups in 2013, three times the amount from the previous year.

But while venture investing has improved, Chicago still lags behind cities with similar, or smaller, populations. In fact, Cook County doesn’t even crack the top 10 counties with the most venture dollars invested since 2010, according to PitchBook. 


Cook ranks 11th with $3.5 billion invested since Jan. 1, 2010. PitchBook’s interactive map shows just where the venture dollars are going, and not surprisingly, California dominates the map. Seven California counties are in the top 10, along with Middlesex County in MA, New York County in NY, and King County in WA. Venture funding is so concentrated to specific areas that 28 counties account for 80 percent of venture capital investment in the entire U.S., PitchBook found.

Other Chicagoland counties with venture investments include DuPage County with $960 million, Lake County with $240 million, and Will County with $10 million. Downstate, Champaign County had $32 million, St. Clair County had $12 million, Knox County had $5 million, and Peoria County and Effingham County each had $1 million.

And when ranked by state, Illinois comes in 5th behind California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.

To increase venture funding, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is planning a VC summit in October that will bring venture capitalists from both coasts to Chicago. That will certainly help, but as Hyde Park Angels Co-Founder Jeffery Carter said at Techweek on Thursday: “I don’t think the coasts are going to come here. They are going to cherry pick the best companies. It has to be a home-grown effort.”

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