Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center's Momentum Awards Honor the Chicago Startup Scene

Groupon Co-Founders Honored as Entrepreneurial Champions; GrubHub Receives Merrick Momentum Award for Success and Growth Potential

Oct 07, 2011, 02:41 ET from Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center

CHICAGO, Oct. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its ongoing efforts to promote and grow the startup community in Chicago, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) held its fourth annual Momentum Awards Dinner on October 6th at the Hilton Chicago and raised more than $1 million.  

This year's event brought together 950 leaders from Chicago's vast business ecosystem, including entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 CEOs, mid-market executives, academic innovators and investors, to celebrate the present energy and enthusiasm in the Chicago startup community.

During the event, Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, Co-Founders of Groupon, Inc., received the Entrepreneurial Champion Award sponsored by BMO Harris Bank for being prominent members of the business and entrepreneurial community who not only are successful in their own business ventures, but also invested in the success of their surrounding community. GrubHub was recognized with the Merrick Momentum Award to acknowledge this high-growth, startup business based in Chicago.

"As the 'central address for entrepreneurship' in Chicago, the CEC supports and celebrates successful entrepreneurs from our city," said Kevin Willer, CEO of the CEC. "It is in that spirit that we recognize Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky as true entrepreneurial champions and celebrate companies like Groupon and GrubHub for bringing national and global attention to our city and giving Chicago, its startups, and its people the momentum to grow."

The 2011 Entrepreneurial Champions, Keywell and Lefkofsky, co-founded Groupon (along with Groupon CEO Andrew Mason) in October 2008. Groupon now has more than 9,600 employees with operations in 175 North American markets and 45 countries, selling 3.2 million Groupons in the second quarter of 2011.

Keywell and Lefkofsky are also founders of several other successful companies, including InnerWorkings, Echo Global Logistics and MediaBank, and the Lightbank venture capital fund, and are deeply involved in the Chicago community, both serving as adjunct professors at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and on the boards of several major Chicago-based organizations.

"We are honored to receive the CEC's Entrepreneurial Champion Award and hope to continue to be a part of building the entrepreneurial spirit in Chicago," said Lefkofsky. "Chicago is one of the world's great cities, and our vibrant culture of innovation deserves global recognition."

The CEC Board of Directors selected GrubHub for the 2011 Merrick Momentum Award from a field of other prominent startup companies with strong growth potential including Ifbyphone and Viewpoints Network.

"The Merrick Momentum Award recognizes startup companies that have shown a solid business track record and will continue to experience tremendous growth," said Michael Ferro, Chairman and CEO of Merrick Ventures and CEC board member. "Our board saw the remarkable potential in GrubHub and believes they are deserving of this honor not only for past success, but also for their opportunity to be a dynamic, flourishing company in Chicago."

GrubHub, an internet startup that connects consumers with restaurants that deliver to their neighborhoods, recently expanded in 50 new markets across the county and has expansion plans to increase one market per week. The company's growth is expanding on the diner's side, restaurant side and the market side, increasing restaurateurs business by 10-20 percent.

"Receiving the Merrick Momentum Award is an incredible honor for GrubHub and reinforces that our company is positioned for continued growth and success," said Co-Founders Matt Maloney and Mike Evans. "We are very proud to be rooted in a city that is so open-minded, supportive and responsive to new ideas and concepts and to be honored the same night as Brad and Eric."

The Momentum Awards Dinner was made possible by our generous supporters including Ernst & Young and the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation.  The event was co-chaired by CEC Board members Leslie Anderson, Senior VP, District Market Manager, BMO Harris Bank and Dean DeBiase, Chairman and CEO,

About the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center

The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) promotes and grows the startup community in Chicago. The CEC works with innovative and high-growth tech and consumer products companies from startup to growth stage through business advisory services and events that facilitate relationship development and ideas exchange. Between 2003 and 2010, the CEC has helped entrepreneurs secure $270 million in revenue, raise $160 million in financing, and create or retain 6,350 jobs. In turn, CEC clients fuel the entrepreneurial ecosystem of our city by mentoring young talent, advising their peers, and joining the CEC "movement" to inspire entrepreneurship in Chicagoland. To learn more visit

Contact: Nicole Minadeo 312-768-4744

SOURCE Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center