Overview of VentureCat

NUVC competition

VentureCat is a day-long showcase and celebration of Northwestern’s most promising student-founded startups. The event culminates with a pitch competition, in which over $100,000 in prize money will be distributed to student ventures.

VentureCat is an evolution of the Northwestern University Venture Challenge (NUVC), which was originally introduced in 2007. From inception, NUVC has distinguished itself from other pitch competitions around the globe by organizing competitors in industry-specific tracks, which leverages the rich expertise of distinct schools from across the university in both graduate and undergraduate programs, and awarding top teams with non-dilutive capital.

VentureCat is an experience for Northwestern’s 25 most promising student-founded startups teams to network and pitch their ventures to an esteemed panel of judges and the broader community. New this year, semifinal teams will participate in the Four Week Semifinalist Prep Program. The program will include: pitch coaching, advice from industry experts, and professional graphic design support .

On May 24, 2017, those 25 teams will compete in one of six tracks: Business Products and Services, Consumer Products and Services, Green Energy and Sustainability, Life Sciences and Medical Innovations, Social Enterprises and Nonprofit, and Transportation and Mobility. The 1st place winner of each track will take the main stage to compete for the grand prize at the Finals.

VentureCat 2017 Semifinalists

Business Products and Services (B to B)

Consumer Products and Services (B to C)
The Right Hook

Energy and Sustainability
Aerospec Technologies
Gibbs Lighting

Life Sciences and Medical Innovations
ActiWit, LLC
Actualize Therapy
LifeMotion Technologies, LLC

Social Impact and Nonprofit
Spring Slam

Transportation and Mobility
Intelligent Flying Machines, Inc.
TravDel LLC

2017 Finals Judges

Past Winners


  • The Graide Network – connecting middle and high school teachers with qualified teaching assistants to grade and provide feedback on student work
  • Surgical Innovation Associates – an early stage medical and surgical device company focused on soft tissue repair
  • Eat Pakd – delivering customized, healthy lunches to your door


  • Opticent Health – positively impacting healthcare monitoring and delivery through the commercialization of next generation patient-specific technologies that address unmet needs for diseases across a range of medical practices


  • Page Vault – providing software and services that deliver an accurate PDF of the webpage that is admissible in the court of law
  • Innoblative – a medical device company whose mission is to develop specialized electrosurgical devices that innovate multiple surgical procedures