From Chicago Tech to Global Success: PTP’s Journey as a Premier Recruiting Firm

by Pranav Ramesh
December 07, 2022

“Chicago is constantly auditioning for the world, determined that one day, on the streets of Barcelona, in Berlin’s cabarets, in the coffee shops of Istanbul, people will know and love us in our multidimensional glory, dream of us the way they dream of San Francisco and New York.” 

— Mary Schmich, Pulitzer-Prize-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune 

 

Incorporated in 1833 with a population of only two hundred, Chicago has grown to become the third-largest US city in population, trailing only New York and Los Angeles. Its location in the heart of America makes it an ideal destination for national and international businesses. This is especially true for the technology sector.  

It’s not surprising that Chicago is one of the nation’s leading tech hubs, and its nearly two-century history is rich with innovations and firsts. There are nearly 6,000 tech companies in Chicago, showcasing all types of organizations- from those with a notable consumer presence to those that focus on B2B solutions.  

With the explosion in growth of Chicago’s tech sector came the need to fill jobs. Quickly and efficiently.  

Enter founder and CEO of PTP, Nick Shah.  

Nick understood what impact the tech boom would have on Chicago and the opportunities that would come with it. Founded in 1997 in Chicago Peterson Technology Partners started as a small recruiting start-up named Solutions 2000. Since then, the company rebranded to become Petersons Technology Partners (PTP) in 2003 and has since expanded to have a global footprint in both the recruiting and consulting industries.  

As PTP celebrates its 25th Anniversary this December, we’re taking walk down memory lane to highlight the parallels between the tech sector in Chicago and PTP’s journey from local startup to global recruitment and consulting leader.  

Growing with the Chicago IT scene 

The rise of computers and the ever-increasing reach of the internet brought a paradigm shift to tech startups in the early 21st century. E-commerce and internet-driven companies began to explode with Chicago leading the way. Both Grubhub and Groupon, founded in 2004 and 2008, respectively, would go on to become industry leaders in their field and post billions in revenue. Today, they combine to employ over 8,000 employees.  

Home to the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE; a financial derivative market) and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT; commodities market), Chicago would also become a fintech leader. Braintree, a web payment service founded in 2007, was an innovator in web payment services. It would go on to buy Venmo in 2012 for $26 million, before being bought by PayPal in 2013 for a staggering $800 million.  

These changes were matched by evolution within PTP as well, with Nick deciding to rebrand his small recruiting firm to Peterson Technology Partners, in homage to our original home on West Peterson Avenue. The tech boom which hit Chicago at this time meant that IT companies experienced continued growth, and PTP grew as well.  

By 2006, PTP had netted our first billion-dollar client—not bad for a small start-up that, at that time, was less than a decade old. By 2012, PTP had started to expand beyond Chicago, with 250 employee