Investors’ hopes of creating a new Silicon Valley in Chicago have met with scepticism from analysts.
Andrew Filipowski, Platinum Technology’s former founder and chief executive, plans to invest $20 million in the scheme personally and has also raised more than $500 million to build the new Silicon Valley via his new company, Divine Interventures.
He also expects Computer Associates, and Charles Wang, its chief executive, to invest through his venture fund, JK&B Capital, along with William Wrigley, the chewing gum magnate, and Credit Suisse First Boston.
Divine Interventures plans to build a network of companies to provide funding, marketing, Web design services, recruitment and even office space to Internet start-ups and spin-offs from brick and mortar companies.
Several operating companies such as Habitat Divine, which will house the start-ups, are still being set up, but others currently in place include Buzz Divine, a joint venture with Cunningham Communications to supply public relations, Web Divine, which will provide web design services, and Sales Divine, which will furnish sales strategies.
Rob Enderle, analyst at Giga Information Group, was sceptical of the initiative, however, because he said geography was generally more important than funding.
"It's a wonderful idea, but Chicago?" he said, pointing out that similar efforts had failed in both Boston and Houston, Texas.
"The state of Washington made a play, but Microsoft seems to be the only popular company there and New York and Chicago don't hold the level of attracting people that the cities on the west coast have. Internationally, investors in Malaysia are trying to do this, but, so far, only Singapore has done a reasonable job of it," he explained.
He added: "If you were going to build another Silicon Valley, San Diego is creating a lot of technology interest. Gateway moved its headquarters there recently and San Diego is a place people would like to live."
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