Illinois: Chicago’s diverse economy remains its chief strength as a startup hub. In 2015, Chicago startups raised $1.7 billion
The city is home to a good number of Fortune 500 companies in industries from transportation/logistics to manufacturing, insurance, finance, retail, publishing and food processing.
Compared to the coasts, Chicago companies and investors tend to place a bigger emphasis on business fundamentals and stretching resources further — a goal aided by the city’s relatively low cost of rent. As for the companies that do take outside funding, Chicago boasts the highest investor returns in the country, according to a recent study.