APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
VentureCat, Northwestern’s student startup competition, will be held on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 on the Evanston Campus at the Kellogg Global Hub. Twenty five of Northwestern’s most promising student-founded startups will participate in a day-long showcase and celebration and compete for over $100,000 in prize money.
Teams must consist of at least one current Northwestern University student. Teams can be of any size and ventures can cover any industry. Teams that have previously placed and won prize money in the NUVC final round are precluded from participating. Semifinalists must be committed to fully participating in the Four Week Semifinalist Prep Program from April 24 – May 19.
2017 VentureCat Tracks:
1.Business products and services (B to B)
2.Consumer products and services (B to C)
3.Energy & Sustainability
4.Life Sciences & Medical Innovations
5.Social Impact & Nonprofit
6.Transportation and Mobility
How to Apply:
Applications closed on Sunday, April 16th at 11:59 pm CT. Semifinalists will be announced on Monday, April 24th.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do applications open and close?
Applications opened on March 27, 2017, the first day of spring classes. Applications closed on Sunday, April 16 at 11:59 pm CT.
Where can I learn more about VentureCat?
An information session was held on February 15th at 5:15 pm at The Garage.
Do winners give up an equity stake in their startups?
No. The prize money is non-dilutive capital and there is no exchange for equity with Northwestern or any of our sponsors.
How much can I win?
Prizes money is dependent on fundraising. In 2016, the 1st place track winners received $15,000 and the 2nd place track winners received $10,000. The Grand Prizes, distributed at finals were 1st place $25,000, 2nd place $15,000 and 3rd place $10,000. Therefore, a team that won their track and the 1st place Grand Prize could win $15,000 + $25,000 = $40,000.
Who is eligible to participate?
Teams must consist of at least one current Northwestern University student enrolled in a 2016-17 academic program (undergrad, grad or PhD). Teams can be of any size and ventures can cover any industry. Teams that have previously placed and won prize money in the NUVC final round are precluded from participating. Teams that won prize money in the NUVC semifinal round are eligible to apply.
Am I eligible to participate if I graduated earlier this year?
Students who participated in an academic program (full-time or part-time) in academic year 2016-17 are eligible to apply.
When will semifinalists be announced?
Semifinalists will be notified via email on April 24, 2017.
Can alumni participate?
There must be at least one current student who is an integral member of the team. Only current students are allowed to present at semifinals and finals.
Does my startup need to be a registered corporation to apply?
Your startup does not need to be a registered corporation to apply; however, prize money will be distributed via a check made out to your registered business name. We recommend that all semifinalist teams incorporate before finals on May 24th.
Can I apply in more than one track?
No. You can only apply to one of the tracks that is more appropriate for your startup.
How far along should my startup be?
VentureCat is a startup competition, not a business idea competition. Entries should be a viable startup that the team is actively working on. The startup should have some traction. We expect that most entries will be pre-revenue. We discourage startups with more than $2M in revenue from applying.