The May Report: 6/23/2012: The May Report: 6/22/2012: [Note: This was written Friday evening, so please make time reference adjustments. “Last night” refers to Thursday evening, and yesterday refers to…

The May Report: 6/23/2012: The May Report: 6/22/2012: [Note: This was written Friday evening, so please make time reference adjustments. “Last night” refers to Thursday evening, and yesterday refers to Thursday.] And the first annual Moxie Awards went to: Best Consumer Web Startup – GiveForward; Best B2B Startup – BrightTag; Best Financial Services or Payments Startup – YCharts; Best Educational or Recruitment Startup – Code Academy; Best Mobile App – Sprout Social; Best Student Startup – Groovebug; Best Bootstrapped Startup – Code Academy; Best UX Award – Belly; Best Startup Founder or Co-Founders – Neal Sales-Griffin & Mike McGee; Best Service Provider – WunderLand Group; Best Digital Agency – Doejo; Mentor of the Year – Troy Henikoff; Angel Investor of the Year – Kevin Willer; VC of the Year – Paul Lee; Tech Woman of the Year – Desiree Vargas Wrigley; CTO of the Year – Eric Lunt; Best Beard – Dylan Richard; Best Corporate Digital Innovation – Crate & Barrel; Startup of the Year – BrightTag; CEO of the Year – Matt Maloney; Breakthrough Digital Company of the Year – GrubHub; Some of last night’s awards I could have phoned in — not even knowing the nominees! A good example would be Desiree Vargas Wrigley. As soon as I heard the category of Tech Woman of the Year, before even hearing the nominees, I said to myself ‘Desiree Vargas Wrigley’ — and I was right. (Here’s something intriguing. Maybe Desiree was single, but in 2009, her card did not have the name Wrigley on it. Her hubby was there last night, and he told me he’s a distant relative of the famous Wrigleys.) Another no-brainer was that GrubHub would get multiple awards; and that Doejo would win, not because they’re necessarily the best, but they have the best publicity machine and the biggest name recognition in the tech world — proof of point is that I’ve never even heard of their competitors AKTA, VOKAL Interactive, Lyons Consulting, Ora Interactive — they’re not D-listers, but maybe C-list agencies; After three very engaging and information rich events in the last two days, I’m physically exhausted, and I do want to get down to the first day of Techweek, even if for only an hour or two — hey, that didn’t happen. Last night was the inaugural Moxie Awards put on by Built In Chicago with attendance of, by estimates I heard from folks who work there, about 800, and even though Amina Elahi at Built In Chicago states that the Park West theater was a great music venue where bands like The Rolling Stones played, the building goes back to 1925 and was also a p**n theater in the 1950s. It appears that a good time was had by all but I found the four tiers inside the theater to be hard on my wheelchair. It did have a party hardy atmosphere, and reminded me of those gatherings in the high school gym to vote for cheerleaders, and you could predict winners by the amount of applause nominees got when their names were announced; At every major event, there are generally one (or two) conversations that stand out in my mind, and last night, there were two such conversations: On March 28, 2012, I enthusiastically headed down to 1871 for their inaugural event which was also dubbed Demo Day for Code Academy (their graduation). I got off the elevator on 12 with four or five other people and they dashed right in but a guy at the desk came over to me and said, “Are you Mr. May?” to which of course I replied “Yes.” He responded, “You’re not allowed in.” He then proceeded to take me downstairs and he told me that I had done nothing wrong, but it was what I was about to do that was the problem, he added that trouble seems to follow me and that I should consider it Karma (an ironic term considering a notable conversation I had last night with Matt McCall). He refused to give me his name even though he had said he would, and he just told me he was security, but with no gun, uniform or badge; he did say that the person who had told him not to let me in was “Neal.” That would be Neal Sales-Griffin, co-founder of Code Academy. I was bewildered and perplexed. I didn’t even know Neal, and we had interacted from some distance for about 10 seconds in December at the CEC’s year-end event as he was running up the stairs. I was upset of course, and certainly wanted to write about it, but then I had my tour of 1871 on Friday, March 30th with Kevin Willer. Willer said he was sorry this had happened, but he told me he does not control the event organizers. I also looked up Neal on LinkedIn and found out that he was only 24 years old, and he had assisted Troy Henikoff at Northwestern. Ah-ha! I figured that Troy must have turned Neal against me. Over the last 85 days, I have certainly not forgotten the incident or stopped being bugged by it, but for the most part, I have moved on. This was not the first time, and it surely won’t be the last, I figured. So last night, I was sitting at the Moxie Awards, and a guy with sunglasses came up to me, and shook my hand. He said, “Hi Ron, I’m Neal Sales-Griffin.” Needless to say, I was surprised. We chatted and of course I asked him why. He told me that he’s been reading TMR for 6 years, and he said it was a mistake on his part to ban me, and he invited me to the next Demo Day — he just had one this Tuesday. He said “I’m not the same person I was 6 years ago and neither is Troy.” He never gave me a reason for banning me, but we agreed to let bygones be bygones and start over. But he did tell me this: the person who spoke to him in my favor was Jason Fried of 37Signals, He said that Jason told him he likes me and TMR because I’m “real.” I’d basically agree, and thanks Jason for the vote of confidence, but first you have to get past the schtick. Neal and Code Academy won three awards at the Moxies and Neal left with an entourage in a car (looks like a limo) provided by Uber That is a story I have not written, and one person who convinced me not to was my own mother. I told her what had happened back in March, and while she was sympathetic, she spoke the truth. She said, “Ron, you’ve stepped on so many toes over the years, you can’t be surprised or upset when someone does it to you.” That is why I held off and frankly, there was such a sense of good feeling I had after my tour of 1871 with Kevin Willer, just 42 hours after the Code Academy incident, and a general atmosphere of good feeling associated with the opening of 1871. I told Neal last night that I’m concerned that all the adulation will go to Kevin’s head, as I fear it has possibly already gone to Troy’s head. BTW, Willer was not even there last night to receive his award for best angel of the year, never mind how they figured that he deserved that award, but Kevin was over at Ernst & Young at another award ceremony where he was heading up a table, and I heard something about how he and Paul Lee were trading places (I hope I heard correctly). There is a moral to the story here: for me, it’s that sometimes patience and not escalating a conflict pays off, and for Neal Sales-Griffin, it’s that you’re never locked in, and don’t stop growing. Neal really showed maturity here and more importantly, the ability to mature and learn from mistakes. Contrast Neal to Weinstein, Hoch, Howerton, Dan Miller, Tom Kuczmarski, Dave Miller, Len Bland and David Carman and many others who have banned me. Would they have ever had the maturity to apologize and admit a mistake that Neal has shown? But the real moral is embodied in Neal’s comment about how he’s not the same person he was 6 years ago. Hey, I’m pretty much the same person I was 6 years ago. What Neal is saying is effectively “never stop growing and don’t get wedded to one way of being.” (btw, I hate being defined by the usual terms “rumor monger” or “gossip columnist.” The marketing folks call that branding.) The other conversation of note last night was with Matt McCall, but more on that later. David Carman just returned my call. He would have attended FFF, but he had other things, as did Terry Flanagan. But as usual, Carman is an avid reader and he mentioned The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley, by Victor W. Hwang, Carman’s question to me was: What is the culture at 1871, Catapult, VentureSHOT by which he meant how much collaboration and synergy — we have the ingredients here, but are people really helping each other, and are the insiders reaching out to non-insiders? David Carman, the best evidence of a change in the way things work around here may be right in front of our faces in this headline. When was the last time someone apologized for banning me, and invited me to attend his next event? Answer: I can’t recall that ever happening. It my not be a tectonic shift, but something is surely happening that appears to be different. But why is David Culver with 4 funding conferences under his belt still being basically ignored?; Have we really dispensed with silos, fiefdoms and territoriality? What percentage of the small firms nominated for the Moxies are located at Catapult, 600 W. Chicago or 1871?; Tonight on the Channel 5 News at 6pm, they showed Rahm at Techweek, Iain Shovlin in his heavily stripped suit, an interview with my wheelchair driver, Zhu Song Mei of (btw, I gave you wrong info. on them when I wrote that they use Go To Meeting — actually they use their own version of it), a couple of other entrepreneurs, and they specifically showed Julian Pretto’s Chicago Micro as the provider of the wi-fi and internet connections for Techweek, and on Chicago week in review, they talked about Google taking 4 floors at the Mart for the folks at Motorola Mobility; but getting back to the secret sauce of Silicon Valley, synergy and collaboration, Matt McCall who has developed a much more spiritual side in recent years (I’ve noticed), we ended our conversation with Matt talking about different layers starting with Karma followed on the next level by community, and then after that you get down to the level of companies, profits, etc.; just to put some meat on this bone, Eric Lunt and is a good example since Eric comes out of a firm Matt seed funded,, and Matt says he’d like to see all those guys come home one day, and of course we talked about more practical issues like the decimation of regional VC firms, how 80% of the capital raised in the VC industry is with 8 firms, the consolidation of the industry and the value of evergreen firms like Bessemer and New World Ventures which don’t have to follow the usual lifecycle of a fund. Much more to come on Foley & Lardner, Perkins Coie, Linda Darragh, and a conversation with Illinois state senator Dan Duffy
Editor and publisher: Ron May, ron@,,www., 773-525-3944.

If you missed an article, go here:

The Scoop section:

— Techweek Chicago. (June 22, 2012), By Wailin Wong, Tribune staff reporter
— Two Moxie links you may want to look at
— A Summary of the Moxies and the winners, by Amina Elahi
— Moxie award finalists
— Funding Feeding Frenzy Wrap-up
— Party schedule for Techweek
The Scoop section:
Techweek Chicago. (June 22, 2012), By Wailin Wong, Tribune staff reporter

Techweek Chicago. (June 22, 2012)
By Wailin Wong
Tribune staff reporter
10:05 a.m. CDT, June 22, 2012
Chicago should be known as much for its startups as its large corporate headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel told a crowd of entrepreneurs on Friday.
Emanuel gave the opening keynote at Techweek, a five-day startup conference at the Merchandise Mart that is expected to draw 5,000 attendees through Tuesday.
Chicago is known as the Second City, but “three years from now it’ll be known as the startup city if we do everything right,” Emanuel said.
The mayor said his administration was working to improve the quality of life in Chicago so young companies will have an easier time hiring fresh talent. He also said World Business Chicago is planning a venture investor summit to showcase the city’s startups to potential investors.
“In the past, let’s be honest, what was missing was financing,” he said, noting that venture capital flows to local companies have improved in recent years. “We are going to be the digital mecca of the Midwest.”=
Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune
Two Moxie links you may want to look at
Chicago Entrepreneur Pops The Question at Moxie Awards
A Summary of the Moxies and the winners, by Amina Elahi
Posted by Amina Elahi
Perhaps it’s appropriate that the Moxie Awards took place at Park West, one of Chicago’s oldest music venues. Tech entrepreneurs are, after all, rock stars in their own right. Like musicians, they represent a variety of genres and, within those, their own personal styles. But when these people come together, it’s not to create a soothing symphony but rather an unparalleled concert of ideas and talent that would melt your face off.
Doors opened at 6:30 p.m., and people began streaming in, slowly at first and then in hordes. Those whose companies had reserved tables made their way to their seats (after a pit stop at the bar), while others found places to perch on the main level or on stools in the balcony. The noise level soon rose to a din, with voices mingling with the thumping music. All this was set against a dramatic backdrop of red and black, sophisticated and edgy in its celebration of all that is the Chicago tech world.

With two white knights keeping watch, the crowd took their seats as Built In Chicago President Maria Katris welcomed 900 attendees. Matt Moog, founder and chairman of Built In Chicago, who co-hosted the event with New World Ventures, also gave some opening remarks.

Soon enough, Chicago’s own Mayor Rahm Emanuel took the stage. He of f-bomb fame kept his talk clean (although the same cannot be said of others who followed) and focused on the importance of digital entrepreneurship for Chicago’s economic success.

“This has got to be, as a goal, the digital capital of not just the Midwest—I want this to be the digital capital of the country,” he said. Excitement, dynamics, energy: These were all things Mayor Emanuel promised to provide to Chicago’s tech entrepreneurs in order to help them attract talent from anywhere. “We’ll make this a place where you can recruit the talent, start a business and succeed.”

Cheers erupted when Mayor Emanuel ended by saying, “We will be your partner, not your problem,” alluding to a past when starting a business in Chicago was a messy and difficult task. Now, according to J.B. Pritzker of New World Ventures, a new digital company starts in Chicago every 60 hours.

“Chicago is on pace to create more digital startups than New York City,” Pritzker said.

Moog spoke to the strength of growth of Chicago’s tech community, noting that its 40,000 members would be enough to fill Wrigley Field, and that tech entrepreneurs have a lot in common with Cubs fans. “We are optimistic. We are loyal. And we like beer!”

With such demonstrated and projected growth, now may be the perfect time for this celebration of Chicago’s growth and success in the tech world. Mentor of the Year winner Troy Henikoff of Excelerate Labs likened the success of Silicon Valley to a flywheel, whose momentum picked up several years ago and continues to recycle into more success for new companies.

“It took Chicago a long time to get the flywheel going,” Henikoff said, but now it’s on a roll as investors continue to sink money back into Chicago’s new companies. “I think it’s a combination of the capital, the mentorship, the support that’s all finally coming together and gathering momentum.”

That momentum is inspiring to many local entrepreneurs, some of whom eloquently extolled its virtues last night.

“This is f—ing incredible,” Matt Maloney said as he accepted the award for CEO of the year. “When Mike [Evans] and I started GrubHub back in 2004, this community didn’t exist. The community, though it was nascent when we started, has grown and amplified over the years and it’s been really exciting to watch it grow.” GrubHub also won Breakthrough Digital Company.

John Seebeck, Vice President of ecommerce at Crate & Barrel, said, “We have to be plugged in to what’s in the mind of young people, young companies.” Seebeck finds this important both for discovering ideas for his own customers, as well as for finding services that would help his own business. “We think we can be potential customers for a lot of young companies. We want to help young organizations.”

After the final awards were handed out and speeches concluded, the majority of the crowd hung around to mingle, celebrate and connect—or perhaps reconnect. The laughter and palpable excitement exemplified the soul of the event. The Moxie Awards, this communal celebration of progress, propelled this community out of fledgling status into hyper drive as Chicago races to cement its place among the great tech cities in America.

For a full list of Moxie Awards Winners, click here.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the inaugural Moxie Awards last evening! We would like to congratulate the following winners:

Best Consumer Web Startup – GiveForward
Best B2B Startup – BrightTag

Best Financial Services or Payments Startup – YCharts

Best Educational or Recruitment Startup – Code Academy

Best Mobile App – Sprout Social

Best Student Startup – Groovebug
Best Bootstrapped Startup – Code Academy

Best UX Award – Belly

Best Startup Founder or Co-Founders – Neal Sales-Griffin & Mike McGee

Best Service Provider – WunderLand Group

Best Digital Agency – Doejo

Mentor of the Year – Troy Henikoff

Angel Investor of the Year – Kevin Willer
VC of the Year – Paul Lee

Tech Woman of the Year – Desiree Vargas Wrigley

CTO of the Year – Eric Lunt

Best Beard – Dylan Richard

Best Corporate Digital Innovation – Crate & Barrel

Startup of the Year – BrightTag

CEO of the Year – Matt Maloney

Breakthrough Digital Company of the Year – GrubHub

Congratulations to all of our amazing winners!
Moxie award finalists

Voting is now closed. The winners will be announced live at The Moxie Awards on June 21st at Park West.

Startup Awards
Best Consumer Web Startup





Best B2B Startup

Sprout Social


Narrative Science

Future Simple

Best Financial Services or Payment Startup





Best Education or Recruitment Startup
Code Academy

Bench Prep

Mentor Mob


Mobile App of the Year

Sprout Social





Student Startup of the Year





Best Bootstrapped Startup






Best UX Award

Sprout Social


Lost Crates


Best Startup Founder/Co-Founders
Logan Lahive (Belly)

Neal Sales-Griffin & Mike McGee (Code Academy)

Marc Kiven, Mike Sands & Eric Lunt (BrightTag)

Seyi Fabode & Phil Nevels (Power2Switch)

Jeff Hyman (Retrofit)

Supporting Awards
Best Service Provider
Wunderland Group


Tandem HR

Instant Technology

Marengo Hampshire Partners

Digital Agency of the Year


VOKAL Interactive

Lyons Consulting

Ora Interactive


Individual Awards
Mentor of the Year
Troy Henikoff

Mark Achler

Mike Boush

Daniel X. O’Neil

George Deeb
Best Angel or Seed Investor
Kevin Willer

Guy Turner

Brian Hand

Steve Farsht

Stuart Larkins

VC of the Year
Paul Lee (Lightbank)

Matt McCall (New World Ventures)

Adam Koopersmith (New World Ventures)

Lon Chow (Apex Venture Partners)

Jim Dugan (OCA Ventures)

Tech Woman of the Year
Katy Lynch (SocialKaty)

Desiree Vargas Wrigley (GiveForward)

Elisa All (30SecondMom)

Amanda Lannert (The Jellyvision Lab)

Rona Borre (Instant Technology)
CTO of the Year
Harper Reed (Obama for America)

Eric Lunt (BrightTag)

David Dahl (Total Attorneys)

Fred Lee (Enova Financial)

Tracey Wiedmeyer (InContext Solutions)

Best Beard
Logan Lahive

Dylan Richard

Sean Alexander

Seth Kravitz

Matt Pulley

Headline Awards
Best Corporate Digital Innovation
Quick Prints (Walgreens)

3D Room Design (Crate & Barrel)

iPhone & Android Apps (Redbox)

iOS Apps (Encyclopedia Britannica)

MoveTools (State Farm)
Startup of the Year

Code Academy

Sprout Social


Trunk Club
Breakthrough Digital Company of the Year



Mu Sigma

Total Attorneys
CEO of the Year
Matt Maloney (GrubHub)

Dan Jauernig (Classified Ventures–,,

Shawn Riegsecker (Centro)

Talia Mashiach (Eved)

Michael Alter (SurePayroll)
Funding Feeding Frenzy Wrap-up

Subject: FUNDING FEEDING FRENZY Post Event Followup
Date: 6/22/2012 1:12:33 P.M. Central Daylight Time

The Funding Feeding Frenzy Team would like to take this time to thank all of you who attended the Main Event as well as to all the awesome Presenting and Demo Companies, Great Job!

The three winners are:

DRIFT is a socially conscious, designer and manufacturer of premium optical eyewear based in Chicago, IL

Design. Source. Make. DRIFT manages the entire process from concept to distribution. Operating as a design and manufacturing house, DRIFT is one of the most dynamic and forward thinking brands in the optical industry.

Launched in March 2011, DRIFT is sold in 62 optical retailers in 5 countries.


Wink is an online social game that connects people all over the world, based on interests and personality by ‘gamifying’ the connection process.

By melding the synergistic components of social gaming and online dating, Wink fills the whitespace between the two social spheres, creating a category of its own.


PaletteApp is a new digital design tool developed to help designers, architects, contractors and manufacturers facilitate the design and sample ordering process.

By accessing a vast library with thousands of products and options, design palettes can be created in mere minutes. Simply Powerful.

Be sure register for the November 7th 2012 Funding Feeding Frenzy Event.
By using the PROMO CODE: “junefff” you will get a 50% discount for any Attendee Ticket and/or Demo Table.
This offer will not last long, ends Saturday June 23, 2012 at 5pm. Don’t delay…

The Funding Feeding Frenzy Team
Chicago’s High Energy Entrepreneur Center
744 N. Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Located on Wells St. / River North neighborhood.
Only 1 Block from the Chicago Brown Line Stop.
Join our MeetUp Group and plan on attending some outstanding VentureSHOT Events!
For more information about VentureSHOT, please be sure to contact:
David Culver
Party schedule for Techweek

Subject: Hiring Fair Tomorrow! // Techweek Opening Day Recap
Date: 6/22/2012 4:03:55 P.M. Central Daylight Time
Techweek Opening Day Recap
This morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivered an address to the Techweek main stage audience thanking the crowd for the work that they have started in the technology sector. He focused on jobs and making Chicago a Startup City. Techweek Expo opened up with a bang as thousands gathered to enjoy lounges, Bar Techweek and the Video Gamer’s Lounge.
See all of our exhibitors →
NOTE: Expo does not open until 11:00am, Check-in for Expo begins at 10:45am.

Stefan Weitz Sneak Peak

Sneak Peak with Bing
Get ready for Stefan Weitz, Director of Search at Microsoft. He’ll be talking about the intersection of search and mobile and other intuitive technology that will make up the future of search. Watch this video presented by Uber to get a sneak peak of his exciting session.
Techweek on Fox News
Bootleggers Ball Tonight

When: TONIGHT, 9pm – Late
Where: Untitled, 111 W. Kinzie St.
Who: Conference Badge holders and VIP Badge holders
What: Attendees will enjoy visiting a range of themed rooms, DJ’s, Bourbon tasting, swing dancing and actors playing some famous “entrepreneurs” from Chicago’s past. Entry is exclusive to Techweek 2012 badge holders.

Cheeky Party Tomorrow

When: June 23, 8pm-11pm
Where: Crimson Lounge, Hotel Sax
Who: Conference Badge holders and VIP Badge holders
What: Zappaca Cocktail stations serving the “his” manhattan and the “hers” Dark and Stormy. Voli Vodka stations serving low-calorie Cosmopolitans and Screwdrivers. Naked Grape wines will be offering Pino Grigio and a Red Harvest Blend. Miller Lite, Peroni and Blue Moon will be on hand. A VIP “GLO Lounge” sponsored by Smartwater/VitaminWater with a special Voli/Vitaminwater fusion cocktail exclusively served in the VIP area. DJ Megan Taylor of Fig Media spinning until late.

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