Mexico City startups eye Chicago as U.S. tech hub

May 23, 2014

Flickr/Sohum Gokhale

Chicago could be further expanding its tech reach with help from Latin America.

Last fall, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mexico City Mayor Miguel Mancera signed an economic partnership that includes joint trade initiatives and strengthening overall global competitiveness. As part of that agreement, a delegation from Mexico City this week got a first-hand look at Chicago’s economic strategy.

It’s part of an experimental exchange initiated by the Brookings Institution.

The group learned about Chicago’s restaurant business, its tourism efforts and tech scene.

Felipe Lara was part of the delegation. He was particularly interested in learning more about Chicago’s startup environment. He founded a company called Conoce in Mexico City. It uses camera and algorithm technologies to track shopper behavior. He’s hoping to find partners in Chicago to help sell his product in the U.S.

WBEZ's Susie An spoke with Lara and Greg Stevens from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Lara explained why international startups might choose Chicago over Silicon Valley.

Susie An is a business reporter for WBEZ. Follow her @soosieon.