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VentureCat 2021 Semifinalists


VentureCat 2021 was held on Wednesday, May 26. You may watch the entire Public Showcase Livestream online here, and view all of our semifinalist pitches here.


We are pleased to welcome 25 of Northwestern's most promising student-founded startups as our VentureCat 2021 semifinalists! Students will participate in a five-week Pitch Prep Program that provides access to professional graphic design services, pitch coaching and industry-specific advisors. 

On Wednesday, May 26, teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $300,000 in non-dilutive capital. First students will compete by track in private semifinals pitching their ventures to a panel of industry experts as judges. The top team in each track moves on to pitch in finals to a panel of prominent investors and entrepreneurs. Competition day ends with the finalists taking the main stage (virtually) to pitch one more time to an audience of hundreds of students, alums, and investors at the Public Showcase. The finals prizes are announced, and the audience votes for their favorite startup.


Business Products and Services

Authentic Media Ascension
Authentic Media Ascension (AMA) helps creators build communities and grow their businesses.
Jihad Esmail, Weinberg ’21; Mateo Price, Weinberg ’21; Lainey Dow, Medill ’23; Karan Agrawal, McCormick ’23; Leo Serdar, Weinberg ’24; Peyton Zona, Weinberg ’22; Lauren Huttner, Medill ’24
(undergraduate team)

Big Talk
Big Talk for Work is an ongoing, interactive program that empowers employees to move past small talk and make more meaningful connections within workplace environments.
Leigh Miron, Kellogg ’22; Mia Sobin, Kellogg ’22; Faisal Alabsi, Kellogg ’22; Drew Gannon Singh, Kellogg ’21; Sahana Rajanahally, Kellogg ’22
(graduate team)

Compoze is a cloud-based development accelerator platform that enables developers to deliver high quality applications quickly and easily. 
Paul Hilsen, Kellogg ’23
(graduate team)

Por Adela
Por Adela is the smart factoring solution for truckers that will help small and medium sized truckers grow in LATAM.
Jaime Tabachnik, Kellogg ’22
(graduate team)

Tackle provides monthly, messaging-based compliance training for startups and SMBs.
Allison Nguyen, Kellogg ’21
(graduate team)

Consumer Products and Services

Iris Education
Iris Education is a web app aiming to provide authentic, centralized and affordable insights on US college culture to international students.
Sreya Parakala, McCormick ’22; Vikas Jain, McCormick ’22; Abigail Swallow, SESP ’22; Javiera Cabezas Parra, McCormick ’23; Sydney Simmons, McCormick ’22; Emily Wong, Medill ’21; Julia Falinska, SESP ’22; Sylvia Goodman, Medill ’22; Isaac Winoto, McCormick ’24; Frank Yang, McCormick ’24; Mingyi Gong, Weinberg ’24
(undergraduate team)

Liquid Confidence
Liquid Confidence is the only spirits-based hard kombucha on the market, the perfect, great-tasting solution for mindful drinkers looking to party without compromise.
Confidence Udegbue, Kellogg ’22; Ashley Sherman, Kellogg ’22; Dennis Wong, Kellogg ’22; Catherine Lamb, Kellogg ’22
(graduate team)

LUKH is an online rental service dedicated to making South Asian fashion and culture accessible in the US. 
Karen Desai, Kellogg ’22; Katie Andrew, Kellogg ’22; Alisha Daga, Kellogg ’22
(graduate team)

Nine Times Bakery
Nine Times Bakery is a gluten-free, dairy-free baking company creating artisan-style desserts sold online, direct-to-consumer and shipped nationwide.
Emily Mohr, Kellogg ’21
(graduate team)

Rhetoric is a companion to video conferencing applications that provides real-time feedback on spoken communication. 
Raman Malik, Kellogg and McCormick ’22
(graduate team)

Energy and Sustainability

Agroco is a modular farming solution that aspires to improve global food production by bridging the gap between conventional agriculture and controlled-environment farms.
Lorenzo Hernandez, McCormick ’21; Ben Sych, McCormick ’21; Evan Gorski, McCormick ’21
(graduate team)

blip energy
blip provides a smart battery for renters that provides backup power that pays for itself.
Sophia Wennstedt, Kellogg and McCormick ’22; Thibaut Feremans, Kellogg ’21
(graduate team)

Green Materials LLC
Green Materials will manufacture and deploy low-cost marine-biodegradable products, ranging from disposables to commodity products and durable goods, where they are needed most.
Sam Woerdeman, McCormick ’21
(undergraduate team)

OurPower provides individual investors access to renewable energy development investment opportunities so they can help accelerate the transition to a sustainable future.
Ryan Klingert, Kellogg ’21; Henry Raether, Kellogg ’21; Andrew Petrie, Kellogg ’21; Kathryn Watts, Kellogg ’21
(graduate team)

Life Sciences and Medical Innovation

Agora Health, LLC
Agora Health is a digital disease management platform for patients with chronic GI conditions.
Sam Jactel, Kellogg ’21
(graduate team)

Blue Comet Medical Solutions
We are creating the only non-invasive, over-the-counter medical device that allows one to test themselves, or their kids, for Strep throat.
Sara Jandeska, Kellogg ’21; Rashmi Babtiwale, Kellogg ’21
(graduate team)

IVSee Inc.
IVSee Inc. is developing the first AI-driven, ultrasound-based wearable device for the monitoring and treatment of Congestive Heart Failure.
Kyle Tegtmeyer, Feinberg ’21; Mohan Ravi, Feinberg ’21; Ryan Bradley, Pritzker ’22
(graduate team)

Opera Bioscience
Opera Bioscience helps companies develop next generation therapeutics and sustainable consumer goods by providing a protein expression platform that reduces the time and cost of protein manufacturing.
Gerry Sapienza, Kellogg ’21
(graduate team)

Verboso is a full-stack speech therapy service providing engaging, effective and affordable therapy.
Michael Young, McCormick ’22
(PhD team)

zuri fertility
zuri fertility: your personal, digital fertility clinic.
Giuliana Zaccardelli, Feinberg and Kellogg ’22; Blair Matthews, Pritzker ’22; Michael Lichtenstein, McCormick ’21
(graduate team)

Social Impact

bekome is a web platform helping Gen-Z, millennials, and people of color find their right therapist based on personality, lifestyle and cultural fit.
Shanna Traphoner-Liu, Kellogg and McCormick ’22; Vanessa Gottlieb, Kellogg ’22; Josh Pedowitz, Kellogg and McCormick ’22; Ben Tsoi, Kellogg ’22; Soumya Jhaveri, Medill ’22
(graduate team)

Bizi is a website that helps people discover small businesses that match their values.
Benjamin Gross, Weinberg ’21; Martha Castro, Medill ’21; Alicia Lee, SoC ’21; Max Tokman, McCormick ’22
(undergraduate team)

FinLit is a software platform that teaches the basics of personal finance through short-form, animated videos. 
Adam Turville, Kellogg and Pritzker ’21
(graduate team)

springrose designs adaptive, attractive intimates for women with upper mobility and/or dexterity challenges (e.g., arthritis, stroke paralysis, nerve damage, shoulder injuries).
Nicole Cuervo, Kellogg and McCormick ’22; Natalie Coletta, Kellogg ’22; Courtney Weldon, Kellogg and McCormick ’21; Hans Rojas, Kellogg ’21
(graduate team)

The Equal Opportunity Book Box
The Equal Opportunity Book Box is a subscription service for diverse children's books that donates one book to an underserved child for every book sold.
Jacob Jordan, SESP ’20 and SPS ’21; Stephanie Shin, Medill ’21; Anthony Cruz, McCormick ’22
(graduate team)