Silicon Valley and New York City, but there's a whole lot of land between the east and west coast. Smack dab in the middle of the country is Chicago, and not long ago we told you about a demo contest hosted by venture consulting firm midVentures that brought a bit of TechCrunch50 flair to the Windy City. This September, the firm is hosting another event in Chicago that looks to be the largest startup conference in the Midwest.The two largest startup ecosystems within the United States are arguably
The two day event, midVenturesLAUNCH, begins on Monday September 27th and consists of breakout sessions, keynote addresses and - of course - a startup competition. The main events take place during the afternoon and evening to allow for Chicagoans to attend while still maintaining their work schedules, though an exhibition floor of startups will run during the days.
Startups can apply to be selected to either exhibit their products on the floor or to compete head-to-head against other companies in a demo contest with a prize worth $100,000 in cash and services. Expo tables will run you $2500, but are free for those accepted to compete in the demo contest.
Providing the keynote speech is Brad Keywell, director and co-founder of Chicago's darling success story, Groupon. Other notable attendees participating in judging and panels include OkCupid founder Sam Yagan, OCA Ventures CEO Jim Dugan and OpenTable founder Chuck Templeton.
Chicago, like most cities, has it's own unique approach to startups, and it's encouraging to see this culture continue to grow. As companies like FeedBurner and Groupon have showed us, succeeding in the startup world doesn't depend on your proximity to the Valley or New York City. For early stage startups and entrepreneurs in the Midwest, events like midVenturesLAUNCH could be a great place to get some exposure to experts and learn from peers in the area.