August 12, 2014

Governor Quinn, Mayor Emanuel and MATTER Founders Announce Health Innovation Technology Hub Buildout and Opening of Membership Applications

Executive Leadership Named: Steven Collens Appointed CEO, Patrick Flavin, Executive Director, Partnerships

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Matter Rendering #1 Matter Rendering #2

Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, ChicagoNEXT Chairman J.B. Pritzker and the founders of MATTER, the new entrepreneurship hub for next-generation health IT, medical device and biopharma companies, today announced MATTER’s executive leadership team and opened applications for prospective members.

Steven Collens was named MATTER chief executive officer and Patrick Flavin was named executive director, partnerships. MATTER will open in early 2015 in the Merchandise Mart, next to the 1871 digital hub. New renderings of the center were also released today.

“Like 1871 before it, MATTER will spark innovation, create jobs and drive economic growth across the state,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois is making a comeback, and this new life sciences hub will be an important part of it by empowering entrepreneurs and boosting Illinois’ role as a national leader in healthcare innovation.”

“MATTER is an important investment in the future of Chicago’s economy, serving as a hub for business innovation in the high-growth fields of medical and healthcare technology, and bringing together innovators, academia and industry to create the next generation of Chicago businesses,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The companies that locate at MATTER will have incomparable access to the diverse and deep pool of talent in Chicago as well as corporate partners across the industry to grow new companies, create new jobs and provide an economic engine for our city for years to come.”

As senior vice president at Pritzker Group, the investment firm of J.B. and Tony Pritzker, Steven Collens spearheaded development and launch of 1871, the successful co-working hub for digital entrepreneurs that opened in May 2012. Prior to his role at Pritzker Group, Collens spent a decade at Abbott in product marketing, public affairs and policy positions.

“1871 has quickly become a global model for successful startup communities and that success is in no small measure thanks to Steve’s leadership,” said Jeffrey Aronin, chairman and chief executive officer of Marathon Pharmaceuticals and co-chairman of the MATTER board of directors. “That leadership combined with his background in healthcare makes Steve the ideal candidate to help MATTER become the region’s leading hub for health technology entrepreneurship.”

Pritzker Group Managing Director, 1871 Founder and ChicagoNEXT Chairman J.B. Pritzker added, “Steve is exceptional at bringing disparate elements of the community together to drive one purpose, which will be critically important at MATTER. He did a tremendous job at Pritzker Group and 1871 and I am confident he will excel in this new role.”

In his new position, Mr. Flavin will focus on building strategic relationships with established corporations, research institutions and medical associations.

“Pat has been critically important in driving MATTER forward,” said Timothy Walbert, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Horizon Pharma and co-chairman of the MATTER board of directors. “In his new role he will capitalize on his experience in the life sciences industry to elevate MATTER’s relationships across the community.”

MATTER is a not-for-profit organization that has been developed by a team of entrepreneurs and industry leaders. The state supported MATTER’s creation with a $2.5 million grant and a $1.5 million loan that will be leveraged to secure additional funding from corporate sources. Governor Quinn made the support a priority in his 2014 State of the State address in January.

ChicagoNEXT, Mayor Emanuel’s council on technology and innovation, has been a key partner in developing MATTER.

Slated to open in early 2015, MATTER is a cornerstone of the State’s and City’s efforts to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in the rapidly expanding healthcare, medical and biotechnology fields. Chicago’s $50.4 billion Med Tech industry comprises 91 hospitals, six medical schools, over 500,000 med-tech-related jobs, and colleges and universities that enroll nearly 60,000 students. In 2012, universities across metro Chicago invested a collective $1.17 billion in life sciences R&D, 70 percent of the metro’s total academic R&D expenditures.

In addition, the Chicago area is home to a strong pharma and medical equipment manufacturing community that includes leading companies Abbott Laboratories, AbbVie, GE Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare, and Takeda, among others, and major federal research labs at Argonne and Fermilab. MATTER will serve as a community center to tie this ecosystem together and fuel the growth of next generation healthcare businesses.

MATTER is now accepting membership applications at Membership rates start at $150 per month and include access to MATTER’s mentor network, classes and events designed to help entrepreneurs and innovators accelerate the growth of their companies. MATTER will also feature venture capital firms, research universities, healthcare providers and established companies helping to build the health technology community in Chicago.

“Chicago has a dynamic startup community and world-leading healthcare companies, research institutions and medical associations,” said Steven Collens, MATTER’s new CEO. “MATTER will bring this community together to fuel greater collaboration and accelerate the development of next-generation health technology businesses.”

The vision for the center was also unveiled today with the release of the new renderings. Led by the architectural firm Gensler, the design process included significant research into other co-working hubs and research centers around the country as well as workshops and one-on-one sessions with hundreds of individuals from Chicago’s healthcare technology community. The design reflects the true vision of the community and supports MATTER’s mission to create a central hub that will foster collaboration and drive healthcare innovation.

“The future of MATTER is in great hands,” added Timothy Walbert. “With our leadership team, help from Governor Quinn, Mayor Emanuel and the architects at Gensler, we will change the face of health technology innovation in Chicago.”


MATTER is a community of healthcare entrepreneurs and industry leaders working together in a shared space to individually and collectively fuel the future of healthcare innovation. MATTER’s mission is to proactively connect and promote collaboration between entrepreneurs, scientists, physicians and industry partners in order to bring next-generation products and services to market that improve the quality of care and save lives. For more information, visit