Dan Salcedo and Jesse Pinho are running their shopping-pool-buying startup, mobcart, in Silicon Valley, but they have applied to be among the first startups to share space Chicago's new technology center, dubbed 1871, set to open this spring in the Merchandise Mart.
"We see Chicago as a huge hub for talent and it's lower-cost than in Silicon Valley," said Salcedo, who worked as a public relations spokesman in Chicago before leaving in June 2011 to start his own company in Burlingame, Calif., just south of San Francisco.
Salcedo estimates the 1871 center here would save 60 percent to 70 percent of his costs in California, including talent, space and transportation.
Meanwhile, Chicagoans can still pool their purchasing power to get wholesale prices by using the mobcart site. Salcedo, 26, and Pinho, 23, who are joined in the venture by partner and chief marketing officer David Vosburg, 25, started the site so retailers could sell more goods and shoppers could take advantage of wholesale prices.