Chicago: VCs Invest, State Pushes Tech Development

Chicago SkylineMore VC Action in Chicago: Venture-capital funding here took off in the second quarter, nearly doubling from a year earlier to $215 million. The number of deals was unchanged. The overall volume of venture deals is up 57 percent from a year ago to 33 investments in the first half of 2011. The number of deals has been in double digits for three straight quarters for the first time since 2005. Chicago dramatically outpaced the nation, but because the number of deals is relatively small, such wide swings are common. Crain’s

Quinn Signs Bill To Boost Tech Sector: Gov. Pat Quinn signed two pieces of legislation to bolster Illinois’ tech sector and encourage startup companies. One bill creates the second Treasurer’s Technology Development Fund, a $75 million pool that funnels state investments into new Illinois companies. Its aimed at addressing the lack of early-stage venture capital sources available in the state. The other legislation establishes technology centers at each Illinois public university campus to provide resources for students hoping to form startups. The Chicago Tribune

How to Fill the Tech Talent Gap: The talent gap in Illinois is limiting the area’s economic recovery, so the Illinois Technology Association has created a Fall Challenge to educate the region’s college students about the robust and growing technology companies that call the state home. The 2011 ITA Fall Challenge will visit a total of 10 universities, inviting students to take a test and sending those on top to the Final Challenge. There, they’ll compete for atop prize of $5,000. They’ll also be introduced to the local technology community, including the opportunity to interview with sponsoring companies. ITA via Marketwire

More Local IPOs Coming: Horizon Pharma, which is developing new drugs for arthritis and pain, is offering 5.5 million shares that are expected to be priced between $10 to $12 each. The offering is part of a spurt of local companies planning to go public this year, including Chicago-based banking-security software provider Trustwave, bicycle-components maker Sram International and Groupon. Crain’s

Will A New Tall Tower Symbolize Post-Recession Chicago? International Property Developers announced a $3.5 billion office, residential hotel, and retail project in downtown Chicago, including a 120- story tower that would be the tallest in the U.S. At about 2,000 feet, the tower would be taller than the 1,729-foot Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). The project, planned for 20 acres on the banks of the Chicago River in the southwest area of downtown, would be built in phases over 10 years. Bloomberg