Overview of VentureCat
VentureCat is an event and showcase celebrating Northwestern’s most promising student-founded startups. The event culminates with a pitch competition in which over $100,000 in prize money is distributed to student ventures. VentureCat is a collaborative event at Northwestern, including efforts through The Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, The Kellogg School of Management, the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center and The Garage.
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 most promising student-founded startups teams to network and pitch their ventures to an esteemed panel of judges and the broader community. Semifinal teams participate in the Four Week Semifinalist Prep Program. The program includes: pitch coaching, advice from industry experts, and professional graphic design support.
The semifinalist teams compete in industry tracks. The 1st place winner of each track takes the main stage to pitch to an audience of hundreds of students, alums, and investors at the Showcase, where results are announced and the audience gets to vote for their favorite startup.
- PreSight – The first screening tool for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) based on VEGF levels in the tears of premature infants (Watch PreSight’s pitch)
- Dindin – Dindin is changing the access to essential financial services in Brazil by facilitating financial inclusion of the unbanked and underbanked population through its B2B2C solutions (Watch Dindin’s pitch)
- LimeLight – LimeLight is advancing data to power the indoor agriculture revolution (Watch LimeLight’s pitch)
- NUMiX Materials – NUMiX Materials manufactures and supplies Northwestern University-patented materials to remove heavy metals from aqueous streams at ten times the efficiency of competing materials on a per-volume basis.
- BrewBike – BrewBike fuels college students with cold brew coffee.
- Rhaeos – Rhaeos has developed a noninvasive, wearable biosensor capable of diagnosing ventricular shunt malfunction.
- IFM (Intelligent Flying Machines) – Uses robotics, computer vison and machine learning to automate indoor data capture, with a focus on warehouse inventory tracking.
- Tiltas – a technology platform that connects the formerly incarcerated to mentors to help in the transition out of prison
- Quickpulse – a WeChat-integrated tool that allows Chinese millennials to give feedback to employers in order to improve retention
- 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
- Wise Apple – 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