FUND Chicago 2019

FUND hosted its’ fifth consecutive conference in the Windy City in 2019 and had the most impressive group of exhibiting startups in FUND history.

We were joined by some outstanding speakers in both our FUND EDU and FUND Summit programs. Some of them include Brad Feld, 

Check out the statistics about the exhibiting startups below:

1 K
Avg 2018 Revenue
1 M
Total Capital Raised
Avg Team Size

FUND Chicago 2019 Conference Schedule

July 17th, 2019

Day One Morning: FUND EDU

7:00 - 8:00 AM

Registration & Open Networking

8:00 - 8:05 AM

Opening Remarks presented by Polsinelli Law

Presented by Mary Clare Bonaccorsi, board member, shareholder, and Chicago Mangaging Partner at Polsinelli.

8:05 - 8:30 AM

Ask a Lawyer Session

Powered by Polsinelli Law Firm, an AmLaw 100 leading firm, located here in Chicago.

Presented By: Brad Crawford, Michael Rosenthal

You’ve got questions about legal? Polsinelli has you covered with everything from startup to sale. In this informative interactive session, Brad and Michael, will answer questions about startup documents, term sheets, intellectual property and founder agreements just to name a few. So, go ahead and ask away!

8:30 - 9:00 AM

3 PR Trends that Drive Growth

Presented by: Drew Mauck (CEO of 3 Points Communication’s), Josh Inglis (Propllr PR)

Earned media is becoming an increasingly important element of PR for startups that are trying to gain traction, awareness and credibility. In this FUND Edu session, Drew and Josh will discuss best practices for media relations that founders can use to jumpstart their DIY PR efforts.

9:00 - 9:30 AM

Running the Books for Your Emerging Growth Company

Presented By: Jeff Bronswick (Bronswick Benjamin)

Understand the value drivers in your business. What do you need to do to identify the key performance indicators that align with those value triggers? How do you stay focused on the items that make the greatest impact in building your value? Your accounting creates the financial reports that tell your story. It sounds so basic, but the story gets confusing if the right accounting is not in place.

9:30 - 10:00 AM

VC 101: Picking the Right VC For Your Business

Presented By: JD WeinsteinOracle for Startups, North America

Getting funded is about more than nailing your pitch and cashing a check. For longer-term success, align with investors who understand your company values and bring more than monetary value to your business.

10:00 - 10:30 AM

Talent Retention as a Competitive Strategy

Presented By: Insperity (Jennifer Morris-Boyd)  

In this session we will discuss the evolving definition of capital, why the employee experience matters, the power of first impressions and the importance of understanding the unique needs of your workforce. 

10:30 - 11:00 AM

Top 5 Cap Table Errors That Founders Need to Avoid

Presented By: Certent (Eric Deen)

The cap table is one of the startup’s most important documents, yet it is often riddled with mistakes and not kept up to date especially when it needs to be reviewed by prospective investors, attorneys, accountants or partners. Learn from Certent’s cap table expert, Eric Deen, on how to avoid early mistakes that will turn into costly fixes later.

11:00 - 11:30 AM

Fine Tuning Your Investor Pitch

Presented By: Lee ReevesOracle for Startups, North America 

You know your tech inside and out, but can you pitch it in a way that will make investors sit up and take notice? Join us to learn how to craft a pitch that will hit a home run with the right investors at the right time in your startup’s evolution. 

11:30 - 12:00 PM

Entrepreneurship 101: Your Blueprint for a Successful Startup

Hear from Jeff Cain, Director of the Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator, and their portfolio company, Peanut Butter (David Aronson), to discuss the essentials to building a successful startup. 

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July 17th, 2019

Day One Afternoon: Demo Day

12:00 - 1 :00 PM


Don’t worry about going anywhere to grab food. We’ve got you taken care of for lunch.

1:00 - 2:30 PM

Demo Day

Selected with the help of investor attendees, 6 of the most impressive exhibitors will be given the opportunity to present live demos in front of the FUND audience. 

Companies: HOMI, US Food & Pharmaceuticals, IGY Life Sciences, Net Thunder, Knowbella, MAG Optics

2:30 - 4:00 PM

FUND Founder Face-off (Triple F)

Judges: Vic Pascucci (Lightbank),  Cayla Chambers (InvestHER Ventures), JD Weinstein (Oracle), Kirby Atwell (Bunker Labs)

MCMichael Norton (Houlihan Capital)

Companies: Matt Strauss (Solve), Kaben Clauson (Truepublic), Carson Goodale (FanFood), Brian Fox (Trusted Herd)

Most investors will tell you that a startup is only as strong as their founder, thus, how do you determine what makes a strong founder? introducing, FUND Founder Face-off. A tournament style Q&A challenge where we have brought together founders from 4 up-and-coming companies to battle it out head-to-head in front of a panel of judges for bragging rights as the Fund Founder Face-off Champion.

4:00 PM

FUND Kickoff Party

Make sure you stick around to enjoy the Kickoff Party with us. No need to worry about going anywhere either. The party is right here at Polsinelli.

July 18th, 2019

Day Two Morning: Summit

7:00 - 8:00 AM

Registration & Open Networking & Exhibitor Set-Up

Check in for the day, and if you’re an exhibitor , it’s time to set up your table in the Launch Hall

8:00 - 8:30 AM

Growing Your Organization's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Description: How do you build workplace inclusion, and how do we know when we reach “full” inclusion? 

Speakers: Chandra Simmons (WVOM), Ahmed Flex Omar (Co-Founder MALA), Kevin Davenport (The Ideal Candidate), Holly Weckler (Yodlee)

8:30 - 9:00 AM

The Scaling Playbook

Description: What are the single most important things in scaling a company? Hear from these experts on what they’ve done, obstacles they’ve overcome, and what they would advise on scaling. 

Speakers: Tom Smith (Co-Founder of Truss), Jeremie Bacon (Imagineer Technology Group), Nicole Yeary (Ms. Tech), Glenn Gottfried (South Branch Capital Partners)

9:00 - 9:30 AM

Take Care of Your People: An Entrepreneur's Journey, by Paul Sarvadi, CEO of Insperity

“Take care of your people. Get that part of the business right and everything else will fall into place,” Paul Sarvadi.

In 1986 Insperity started with two people, two desks and one phone. Today Insperity has grown into a multibillion dollar company. For Paul Sarvadi, Co-Founder and CEO the essence of his entrepreneurial journey was born out of his passion to help his heroes-you, fellow business owners and entrepreneurs. Hear Paul’s journey from startup to $5.0 Billion Market Cap Public Company. 

9:30 - 10:00 AM

Navigating the Fast-Changing VC Landscape

This panel is powered by Oracle. 

Description: The influx of interest and dollars into the funding ecosystem has made it easier than ever for startups to find funding at virtually every stage of their journey. But navigating the fast-changing, ever-crowded VC landscape can be quite challenging. Three industry experts give advice on how to determine the right funding strategy sp you don’t paint yourself into a financial corner by working with the wrong investors. This trifecta will also give their take on the companies, technologies, and industries they believe are the best positioned for major disruption. 

Speakers: JD Weinstein of Oracle for Startups, Ty Findley, Vice President of Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Peter Christman (Principal at Chicago Ventures).

10:00 - 10:30 AM

Fireside Chat: How we built this...

Description: How to raise up to $1M with Reg CF crowdfunding and what you should know about equity crowdfunding.

Speakers: Albie Manzo (TV Host & Entrepreneur) and Mark Zanders (CEO of FundIt), RJ Pahura (Founder & Chairman of FUND)

10:30 - 11:00 AM

Strategies for Building a Successful Office

Description: The amount of flexible office solutions available in Chicago seems to be countless in 2019. Real estate is one of the biggest expenses most companies face and entering into a bad real estate deal can hurt your company for years. Let’s talk about what you need to be aware of before you turn the lights on in your new office.

Moderator: Robert Sevim, Co-Head Chicago Region, Savills

Speakers: Brynn Michelich (Jellyvision), Andy Christensen (Partners by Design), Lisa Davidson (Savills)  

11:00 - 11:45 AM

Fireside Chat with Brad Feld, CEO of the Foundry Group, and Troy Henikoff of MATH Ventures

Brad Feld and Troy Henikoff will touch on mental health in entrepreneurship, building startup communities, and how to manage your successes & failures. 

July 18th, 2019

Day Two Afternoon: Launch Hall

11:45 - 12:15 PM

Exhibitor Pitches

You don’t want to miss the opportunity to see the FUND entrepreneurs pitch their businesses. This is known as one of the most exciting portions of FUND Conference.

12:15 - 1:00 PM

Lunch + Grand EXPO Opening

Don’t worry about going anywhere to grab food. We’ve got you taken care of for lunch.

1:00 - 3:45 PM

Launch Hall

All of the exhibitors are ready to present their businesses to everyone. Gather into the Launch Hall and chat with all of the rising entrepreneurs in Chicago. This is a perfect time to connect with founders who are looking to scale their businesses and most of which are preparing for a Series A funding round. 

3:45 - 4:00 PM

Pitch Awards

Based on the Exhibitor pitches earlier in the afternoon, we’ll award the top 10 Awards to the best pitches given by entrepreneurs.

4:00 PM

End of Show

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