Passport to Possibilities Gala, Chicago

Passport to Possibilities Gala, Chicago
chicago gala poster

2017 Passport to Possibilities Gala


October 12, 2017
6:00-11:00 p.m.


Venue One Lofts
1655 West Walnut Street


Outstanding Leadership Award

Sam Yagan
CEO, ShopRunner, Inc.


Sam Yagan serves as the Chief Executive Officer of ShopRunner, Inc., which provides its members with free two-day shipping at over 150 leading online retailers. Sam also serves as the Vice-Chairman of Match Group (Nasdaq: MTCH), a position he assumed after leading the company as Chief Executive Officer through a period of explosive growth that culminated in its IPO in 2015.

Sam’s prior entrepreneurial ventures in the consumer internet sector include SparkNotes (founded in 1999), still the dominant brand of study guides and eDonkey (founded in 2002), once the largest peer-to-peer filesharing network in the world. He sold SparkNotes to iTurf, Inc. and then to Barnes & Noble, Inc., where he served as Vice-President and Publisher and oversaw the expansion of the all-digital brand into an expansive multi-platform media business.

Outside of work, Sam devotes himself to mentoring technology entrepreneurs. In 2009, he co-founded Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago), a leading start-up accelerator, and served as its first Chief Executive Officer. In 2014, Sam founded Corazon Capital, an early-stage venture fund with over $50m under management; he sits on the board of several start-ups, including ShiftGig, SpotHero, & Brilliant. He also advises several venture capital funds, including Hyde Park Venture Partners and the FireStarter Fund, which he cofounded. He serves on the Stanford Graduate School of Business Management Board, the Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy Fund Board, and previously served on Target Corp’s Digital Advisory Council. He also sits on the boards of non-profits The Ounce and Leaders in Tech.

Sam has earned recognition on TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” Crain’s Chicago “40 Under 40”, Billboard Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” Crain’s “Tech 25,” D Magazine’s “Dallas 500” and ranked #19 on Silicon Alley Insider’s “Most Inspiring and Influential People.” He has received the Chicago Innovation Awards’ “Visionary of the Year Award,” IMSA’s “Distinguished Leadership Award,” and the DCIA’s “Pioneer’s Award.” Sam has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and has spoken at the CATO Institute, Digital Hollywood, IRCE, the Federal Trade Commission, and numerous other industry events.

Sam has a BA with honors in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he earned distinction as a Siebel Scholar, an Arjay Miller Scholar, and the Henry Ford Scholar, the award granted to each class’s valedictorian. Sam lives in Chicago with his wife, Jessica, and three kids, Maggie, Jack, and Max.

Event Registration

This event is sold out! If you are looking for sponsorships or tickets, please reach out to Favin Gebremariam (312)-431-1923 ext. 508 or

Thank you!