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Yeah, that’s the Governor, hanging out at Excelerate… No big deal…

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Actually, it was a pretty big deal. We were honored to have Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and his team announce the first investments for the state’s new Invest Illinois Venture Fund at Excelerate on January 31st.

A company from Excelerate’s 2011 class, Buzz Referrals, was one of the first two investments. The other was Evanston-based AuraSense Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company.

Troy kicked it off (pictured above), talking about how the startup community in Chicago, and Illinois more broadly, has grown and matured over the past 3 years. Then, Governor Quinn explained that he was excited about the new fund because it would promote jobs in Illinois. Jordan Linville, Buzz Referrals’ CEO, told us about how this investment, plus the rest of his $600K round, will help them grow. We love growth, so we are thrilled to see his team’s progress!

If you have a startup in Illinois, you may want to learn more about the Invest Illinois Venture Fund (IIVF) and the Illinois Angel Investment Tax Credit. IIVF is part of a larger program called Advantage Illinois, which is $78M in federal funding towards new businesses.

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