SOURCE: Illinois Technology Association (ITA)

Illinois Technology Association (ITA)

March 28, 2011 13:52 ET

Illinois Technology Association's CityLIGHTS Gala Reveals Next Technology Superstars

Award Nomination Deadline Extended to April 1, 2011

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - March 28, 2011) - In 2008, the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) CityLIGHTS Newcomer Award went to a small startup called The Point (now known as Groupon). Since then the company rocketed onto the national stage as the fastest growing company of all time. In 2011, the next generation of technology superstars will be introduced at the CityLIGHTS Awards Gala Thursday, May 12, 2011, at Union Station in Chicago. Awards nominations will be accepted through Friday, April 1, 2011.

The CityLIGHTS Awards gala is the Midwest's premier technology event recognizing outstanding technology companies and the individuals that drive them. The event attracts more than 700 people from 400 organizations including investors, legislators and policymakers. 

Did you know that since winning a CityLIGHTS Award:

  • Eight companies have been purchased for a total amount exceeding $3.5 billion,
  • Six companies have brought in more than $130 million in capital,
  • One executive winner became the longest serving mayor in Chicago's history, and
  • One CEO of the Year winner went on to become CEO of Twitter?

A panel of more than 40 judges representing the Who's Who in Illinois technology will review the nominations. Judges hail from major organizations including Microsoft, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, New World Ventures, and World Business Chicago, and newer organizations including Technori,, Marchie Enterprises, Inc., SmartSignal and midVentures.

The judging panel will name finalists April 14, and public voting runs from April 14 - 30, 2011. Winners will be determined by composite score (50 percent judges; 50 percent community voting) in all categories except the CityLIGHTS Award, which is determined solely by the ITA Board of Directors. Winners will be announced at the awards gala May 12, 2011.

"Since the CityLIGHTS Awards began in 1999, we have honored a staggeringly talented group of individuals and accomplished organizations," said ITA CEO Fred Hoch. "We are proud of our track record in recognizing innovation and excellence. Recent award winners include Redbox,, SPSS, Model Metrics, NAVTEQ and crowdSPRING. We are extremely excited to see what companies rise to the top in 2011."

Three new awards will be given out in 2011 including: Comeback Entrepreneur of the Year, New Concept Award and Best Strategic Use of Technology Award.

2011 ITA CityLIGHTS Award categories are:

  • CityLIGHTS Award: Presented to an individual or business that actively and consistently supports the growth of the Illinois technology industry.
  • CEO of the Year Award: Presented to the CEO who has led extraordinary business growth of their technology company over the past year.
  • Technologist of the Year Award: Presented to the individual whose talent has championed true technology innovation.
  • Newcomer Award: Presented to the company that has the strongest potential to emerge from its start-up phase to become a leader in the technology industry.
  • Rising Star Award: Presented to the company, which, through innovation in products, services or business approach, has grown to become a serious competitor in the marketplace.
  • Lighthouse Award: Presented to the company who has taken a leading role in the national industry while attracting national attention to the Illinois technology industry.
  • Comeback Entrepreneur of the Year: Presented to the individual who has persevered following a fruitless effort. This award celebrates the positive side of failed efforts, focused on the interminable entrepreneurial spirit.
  • New Concept Award: Presented to the company or individual regardless of size and status of the company with the best new technology-focused concept of the year.
  • Best Strategic Use of Technology Award: Presented to the non-tech organization that has leveraged technology to provide a differentiated product or service, or has transformed the norm in its industry.

Nominations can be submitted online through April 1. Information on sponsorship opportunities and table and ticket purchases is also online.

About the ITA
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a driving force behind the growth of Illinois' vibrant technology industry. We are relentless in championing the development and application of technology, from start-up companies to industry leaders, leveraging the transformative nature of technology to revolutionize industries. ITA uniquely capitalizes peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and access to experts across the breadth of business to cultivate the Illinois technology industry. The unique and powerful integration of these valuable and experienced resources differentiates the ITA as a source of accelerated growth for the technology industry of Illinois. For more information about ITA, please visit

Contact the ITA at, follow the discussion on Twitter at @itabuzz, and visit to find out more about how ITA supports the growth of the local industry.

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