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The non-profit group Built In Chicago analyzed data from 2011 and found that it was a big, big year for web-based startups in the city.
128 new companies launched last year, and the total amount of new capital raised by web-based companies in Chicago was up 431 percent. A hefty chunk of that increase came from Groupon. But even excluding the coupon giant, funding of Chicago’s web startups was up 75.8 percent.
UPDATE: Maria Katris, Executive Director of Built In Chicago, estimates in an email to us that the the 128 businesses launched last year created 700-1,000 jobs. And the digital sector as a whole is responsible for 25,000 – 30,000+ jobs for the Chicago area. Built In Chicago also looks at the top 50 digital companies in the Windy City and finds that they’ve created more than 11,500 jobs.
And there are signs that Chicagoans are preparing for some long-term growth in this area. We told you last month about 1871, a new 50,000 square foot startup tech center in Chicago. And companies from other parts of the country are starting to take notice of Chicago’s tech talent, particularly in the sales and marketing world.
Katris says she expects further growth in the coming years. She tells us:
In 2011, a new startup launched every third day. We predict you will see a new startup launching every other day in 2012, and every day in 2013.
Venture Capitalist, entrepreneur and blogger Brad Feld highlighted Chicago’s startup activity in a blog post yesterday.
Feld said what’s happening in Chicago “is a great example of what happens when entrepreneurs take a long term view to building their startup community.”