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Tribune announces the class of 2012


Tech incubator Excelerate names class of 2012
By Wailin WongTribune reporter5:00 a.m. CDT, April 25, 2012

Chicago-based business incubator Excelerate Labs unveiled its third class of startups on Wednesday, announcing a slate of 10 companies that includes international participants.
The incubator also said it is moving its three-month program to 1871, the flexible office space for digital companies that opens next month on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart. Excelerate will be an anchor tenant at 1871, which can house about 400 entrepreneurs and has space for seminars and networking events.

Each of the 10 startups will receive $25,000 from Excelerate in exchange for a 6 percent equity stake. Local investment firm New World Ventures also kicks in $50,000 in convertible debt for each participant. The program brings in more than 100 mentors to help the companies build their businesses, improve technology, raise capital and in other areas. The three months culminate in a “Demo Day” at the end of August, when the startups give presentations to fellow entrepreneurs, investors and members of the local technology community.

Excelerate CEO Troy Henikoff said the program saw a 50 percent increase in applications from 2011. Many graduates of the previous two classes have gone on to raise additional funding, expand their staff or …

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