Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot & World Business Chicago Announce the Inaugural Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food

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More than 600 founders, Fortune 500 leaders, and investors are attending Chicago’s flagship food innovation conference hosted by World Business Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today welcomes more than 600 venture capitalists & investors, founders, innovators, and corporate executives for a sold-out Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food, the city’s new flagship food innovation conference led by World Business Chicago. The two-day conference concludes today at 167 Green in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. The Chicago Venture Summit series is led by World Business Chicago, with the support of 40 sponsors.

“Our local food innovation and startup ecosystem is core to our city’s economic progress and future prosperity,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “As the global capital for food innovation with the largest concentration of food and beverage Fortune 500s, I’m honored to welcome more than 600 founders, innovators and investors for our first-ever Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food.”

According to Pitchbook data, Chicago food innovation companies raised $732 million in venture capital in 2021 alone, a 508 percent increase over 2019. In Q1 2022, local companies raised $111 million in venture capital. 

“Our first-ever Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food is part of our expanded summit series focused on driving growth for our city’s most important sectors” said Mark Tebbe, Chair of World Business Chicago’s Innovation & Venture Council. “As our city’s flagship founders and investors conference, our first-ever sector-focused summit continues to lead as one of the nation’s premier startup and venture events”

Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food 2022 (the “Summit”) kicked off on May 25 with a series of innovation showcases led by Chicago’s leading food innovation hubs and investors: Food Foundry, Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, and Cleveland Avenue. Of the more than 600 registered for the sold-out Summit, this year’s event includes representation from 80+ VC/investment firms, 14+ Fortune 500s, 20 Consul Generals and trade offices, and 110+ local startups. The majority of startups in the Summit startup portfolio are led by either a female and/or founder of color. Today’s program includes the following:

  • Keynotes by Don Thompson – CEO & Founder, Cleveland Avenue; and Tracey Warner Halama – CEO, Vital Proteins;
  • Corporate Innovation Panel featuring Accenture, Ferrero, Ingredion, JLL, Kraft Heinz, and Mondelez;
  • Founders Panel featuring AYO Foods, Hazel Technologies, Nature’s Fynd, Science on Call, and The Planting Hope Company;
  • Investors Panel featuring Bluestein Ventures, Listen Ventures, Sandbox Sustainability Ventures, S2G Ventures, and Supply Change Capital. 

“Growth across all industries and sectors in Chicago is being enabled through tech and innovation,” says Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago; and, Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago. “Today Chicago’s food, beverages, and agriculture sector is the nation’s largest, generating over nine billion annually and employing over 65 thousand people; where over 2800 companies located here are actively participating and contributing to the city’s vibrant startup and venture ecosystem.”

Aligned with World Business Chicago’s mission to drive equitable and inclusive growth, the Summit will donate a portion of the event’s proceeds to various non-profits: the Children First Fund (The Chicago Public Schools Foundation), the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Hatchery Chicago, and Urban Growers Collective.
To learn more about the Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Food agenda, startup portfolio, and speakers, please visit

Source: World Business Chicago

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