How Big Is Chicago's Startup Scene? About SOMA-Sized, Actually

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A comparative map to help lost Bay Area residents find their bearings

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For you Bay Area types who may be wondering about the scale of Chicago's startup scene, here's a quick comparison. Using this map of the Windy City's startup ecosystem, I cut out the section that's the heart of the industry here. It encompasses the 600 West Chicago (i.e. Groupon HQ) area to the north all the way down to TechNexus in the south. Then, I rotated it along the axis of Market Street in San Francisco so you could get a sense of its relative size. 

As you can see, the tech corridor extends about the width of SOMA from Embarcadero to 8th Street, with the Merchandise Mart's 1871 co-working space smack in the middle near what would be 4th in San Francisco. (Which is where we're headed now.)

Oh, and here's the Photoshop file, if you want to play with the layers yourself.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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