Water purification startup NUMiX Materials wins VentureCat

Panoramic photograph of winning teams at VentureCat 2018.
VentureCat event at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

Northwestern’s annual student startup competition, VentureCat, brought together 29 of the best and brightest teams from across the University in a battle for $100,000 in non-dilutive prize money.

The semifinalist teams represented almost every school at Northwestern and featured graduate and undergraduate students. After a long day of pitching May 23 at the Kellogg Global Hub — and in front of an audience of hundreds and a panel of judges — three teams stood out.


Third place: Rhaeos, a life sciences and medical innovations startup, has developed a noninvasive, wearable biosensor capable of diagnosing ventricular shunt malfunction.

Second place: Food and beverage competitor BrewBike fuels college students with cold brew coffee.

First place: NUMiX Materials leverages Northwestern-patented ion exchange technology from the lab of Mercouri Kanatzidis to remove toxic metals from water more efficiently than current technology.

NUMiX Materials

“It’s exciting to be working with passionate, smart people committed to doing something that can have a quantitative environmental and social impact, and that can also have a tangible impact on customers’ bottom lines,” said Katie Kollhoff, CEO of NUMiX and a graduate student in the McCormick School of Engineering.

“Among many highlights of the VentureCat competition, the other companies’ compelling pitches, passion for and dedication to their work, and support of each other were so impressive to see. The entrepreneurial ecosystem at Northwestern is truly an amazing asset to any startup.”

NUMiX launched earlier this year during a NUvention course in the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. It will use its $35,000 VentureCat prize to scale up production of its platform.

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