About Us

Nearly a decade of experience in a very young industry

TechNexus was founded in Chicago in 2007, although the exact date is a bit fuzzy.

You see, we started as an informal gathering place for technologists from a variety of industries and company types. These were the days before many workspaces existed to facilitate such get-togethers; we did it because we were entrepreneurs ourselves, and it just made sense to help people get together for a few beers, and share their ideas about fixing problems and grabbing opportunities.

Over time, the conversations got more serious, as folks started trading jobs, or quitting them outright so they could start new companies. People wanted someplace to work, so we rented more space across from Willis Tower. As word spread of the opportunity we offered to folks who wanted to incubate their business ideas with the help and mentorship of others, more people rented offices, or bought a “key” to what we called our “clubhouse.”

Eventually, over 200 companies were born or grew there, raising $225 million while on the floor and creating thousands of paying jobs. A new industry of tech-focused companies emerged in our state, so we created an association to represent them — the Illinois Technology Association — which now boasts 700 members (one of our founders runs it).

A new approach to an old idea

We’ve learned a lot about what makes tech innovation work, especially how established companies can disrupt their own businesses by engagement in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. But the model for doing so is broken.

“Shopping” for innovation rarely works. Entrepreneurs don’t often have visibility into the real problems businesses need to fix. Established companies’ concerns about IP, investment and project management make it hard for them to be agile enough to succeed. The likelihood that an incubator or accelerator can “sell” a truly strategic and successful solution within this context is low, at best. The process of shopping their offerings is downright medieval.

And, all the while, technology disruption comes faster, easier and at a lower cost than ever before, and entire industries are being redefined by entrepreneurs and engineers operating “outside” the Innovation Status Quo. There are endless players in the space now — especially incubators and accelerators dependent on government funding or integrated into academic institutions — and yet the innovation challenge for most American businesses remains unmet.

Our approach to solving this challenge is distinctly private sector, because that’s where we’ve always worked and lived. We offer proven approaches and tools for established companies and entrepreneurs to align on shared goals and outcomes. Then, we use the latest technologies and resources to deliver on an old idea: Generate revenue. We don’t make money unless our clients make money by selling things better, faster, more often, and more profitably.

Meet our founders

Fred Hoch

Fred Hoch is the CEO of the ITA – a next generation trade organization with over 700 member companies with a focus on being a strategic development arm for its members. Fostering collaboration and peer counsel from leaders in the technology industry, ITA uniquely integrates powerful and experienced resources to power the growth of Illinois technology. Fred is also the co-founder of TechNexus.

Terry Howerton

Terry Howerton is the founder and Chief Executive of TechNexus, a venture development firm built on collaboration between leading corporations and a global entrepreneurial ecosystem. TechNexus also operates a start-up incubator from its headquarters in Chicago. To date, more than 350 startup ventures have grown with TechNexus.
Terry is an active national influence on innovation and issues important to the technology industry.

Contact Us

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