Our Network Partners share our passion for driving the success of software startups through mentoring, networking, business advice, financial assistance, and peer connections. Network Partners know the startup environment and understand what it takes to succeed.
Catapult Chicago, based in Chicago, works with later-stage Startups
– or Scaleups, as Catapult refers to them – to help them prove out their
business models and take their businesses to the next level. Simerneet Singh,
entrepreneur in residence, shared his thoughts about Scaleups with us recently.
What is Catapult Chicago?
Singh: We are a collaborative community by Startups
for Startups. We recognized that early-stage businesses tend to receive
a lot of attention and help but companies in the later stages of starting
up –– tend to be overlooked.
Scaleups already have some traction but they might need help with things
like obtaining more customers, switching out technology platforms or raising
more money. Our job is to help them by providing workspace, education, mentorship,
special relationships with investors and discounts from our sponsors.
What makes Catapult different from other incubators or accelerators?
Singh: There are two key differentiators. First, we
are a 501c6 non-profit. We believe in the greater good of Startups; we want
to give CEOs a place where they don’t have to give up something to get something.
Second, we use a peer-selection process to determine who will occupy
space in our offices and become part of our network. Every single one of
our resident companies has a vote in deciding who will join Catapult. We
take companies from all over the world but in the end what matters most
is how you will contribute to our network and help the other companies within
How do Sponsors work with you?
Singh: Catapult sponsors are forward thinking, typically
bigger businesses, interested in supporting Catapult’s mission through not
only financial support, but most importantly, via contribution of human
capital – providing vital resources that entrepreneurs need in order to
focus more on scaling up their company.
Our premier sponsor is Foley & Lardner, a law firm that is highly supportive
of entrepreneurship. In fact, Foley & Lardner gave us half a floor of unused
office space so we could launch Catapult – they understand that in order
to create the next generation of great IT companies, a supporting net must
be available. They’ve willingly provided that support, as have the rest
of our sponsors.
Why do some Startups fail?
Singh: The number one reason they fail is because they
don’t have the support of people who have done this before. They don’t know
how to prioritize their decision-making process and they don’t have the
support of people who can help them grow their company.
What interested you in the BizSpark program?
Singh: The partner network is amazing. Certainly entrepreneurs
receive the free software, but once they are involved in the program there
are people who will help them in other ways, too, such as office hours and
technical guidance. BizSpark takes a business from “I need to grow’ into
“how quickly can I grow?”
For more information about Catapult Chicago, contact Simerneet at