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Freshwater Venture: Highlighting Innovation in the Midwest

Posted on October 27, 2006

I attended an event tonight put on by Eric Antonow and Keith Schacht of Freshwater Venture. Before I get into the event I should talk a bit about what Freshwater Venture is. Freshwater Venture is a site that Eric and Keith put together to profile all of the Chicago tech companies from current start-ups to established businesses. It is truly incredible to see all of the companies that have come out of Chicago and it is definitely worth a visit.

Freshwater LIVE was a way to bring the Freshwater site to life and it was a lot of fun. The basic premise was to allow established companies to pitch to the crowd as if they were just starting out and then to follow that with three companies that are just starting out. The climax of the event was a vote via text message for the best of the three new entrepreneurs with the winner receiving a suitcase of cash.

I really enjoyed the pitches from the new companies and want to congratulate the winner, They were profiled on the TECH cocktail video and in the TECH cocktail write up on TechCrunch. Those guys are building a very exciting company and I am sure we’ll hear some good things from them going forward (in fact, they announced tonight that they now have partnered with Google Local which should be huge for them). The one thing that stood out to me though was the pitch from one of the peapod founders.

I love peapod and have used them for years and never knew, until recently, that they were formed and based in Chicago. I also didn’t realize until tonight that the company actually started in 1989! The peapod pitch, which you can watch by clicking on the image below, shows how they bootstrapped in the early days and also showcases what the technology was like in the late 80s/early 90s. It is definitely worth a watch especially because they made it through the bubble when similar companies like Webvan did not. Enjoy the video!

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5 Comments so far
  1. Somewhat Frank October 27, 2006 8:52 am

    Freshwater Venture: Exposes Chicago’s Rich Entrepreneurial History…

    Freshwater Venture is an effort devoted to restating the rich Chicago entrepreneurial history by profiling the startups that have been developed in the Chicagoland area. Freshwater Venture was created by Keith Schacht and Eric Antonow as they looked to…

  2. JAW October 27, 2006 10:19 am

    Great to see the video Eric,

    And nice quality! Way go to.


  3. Keith Schacht October 27, 2006 2:17 pm

    Nice video! It’s funny because watching the video again I caught things that I didn’t hear in the flurry of the whole event. Glad you enjoyed yourself. -Keith

  4. […] Freshwater Venture: Highlighting Innovation in the Midwest—it features a video he made with his phone from my favorite presentation, the Peapod one. I recommend watching it to anyone who runs a web business or wants to. Peapod is an amazing service, which I use frequently, and recommend to anyone. Their story adds a lot of respect for them to the “respect-o-meter” because they didn’t start with a huge amount of money. They didn’t start with a corporate backing. They started the same way that midPhase did and countless other businesses did: from scratch. They added funding and all the goodies later, but they were not a heavily funded WebVan. They were more like a Domino’s for food ;-] You’ll see… Over and out! […]

  5. Mr. Chicago Real Estate October 17, 2007 7:15 pm

    Thanks for putting up the vid. It was great.