Pat Ryan is digital and social entrepreneur who lives in Chicago with his wife Lydia and their three children. Check out his insights and interviews with Chicago’s most successful founders on his blog, Cooler by the Lake, or on Twitter @PatRyanChicago.

Tech Entrepreneur

Pat has founded two high growth B2B cloud software companies each of which was ranked as one of the four fastest growing software companies in the U.S. in Inc Magazines Inc 500 rankings (#4: 2008) (#3: 2014).

Pat is currently the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs Group, his holding company and incubator for creating new technology companies.

Pat is also actively engaged in Chicago’s tech community as:

  • Co-Chair of ChicagoNEXT, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s leadership initiative to grow and support Chicago’s tech ecosystem
  • A member of the Executive Committee member of 1871 (, Chicago’s new digital start up hub
  • Host of the monthly Chicago Founders’ Stories series @1871

Pat is also an active Angel/Venture Investor in his role as co-lead investor and Chairman of Chicago Ventures ( investment committee. CV is Chicago’s leading early stage venture capital fund ($40 million).

Social Entrepreneur

Pat started his career as a teacher on Chicago’s West Side and has been a social entrepreneur in education for over twenty years. He was awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Northwestern’s Kellogg School for his pioneering work in transforming urban education. Pat’s first social entrepreneurial venture, the Inner-City Teaching Corps (ICTC), pioneered alternative paths to teacher certification in Illinois leading to the landmark legislation that opened up Chicago to national teaching organizations like Teach for America.  Pat also founded:

  • Alain Locke Charter School—Located in the heart of Chicago’s West Side, Alain Locke Charter School achieved the #1 test score gains in the history of Illinois’ ISAT standard test and was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 7 charter schools in the United States best “Closing the Achievement Gap”. The school serves as a laboratory as well as a demonstration site to train emerging school leaders in “achievement accelerating” school leadership.
  • The Accelerate Institute—A partnership with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Accelerate is the first urban principal training program to develop “achievement accelerating” school leaders. Accelerate has prepared leaders for schools in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, San Jose, Washington, D.C., Memphis, New Orleans and Houston.

Pat was awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Northwestern’s Kellogg School for his pioneering work in transforming urban education.

Law Enforcement

Prior to his entrepreneurial business and civic endeavors, Pat attended the Chicago Police Academy where his classmates elected him “Outstanding Recruit.”. Pat’s work in law enforcement included work as a narcotics investigator focused on major gang narcotics activity in the inner-city of Chicago; in this role he received a commendation for leading a $1.1 million cocaine seizure.


Pat is a graduate of Georgetown University, earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and a Juris Doctor cum laude from the Northwestern University School of Law.


Pat is the Chairman of YPO Chicago, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations as well as the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. He is a Trustee of Northwestern University and a member of its Executive Committee, as well as a Director and Executive Committee member of World Business Chicago. Pat was a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute as well as a Global Leader for Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Pat is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Penske Corporation, a $25 billion diversified global transportation holding company.