VentureCat is an annual collaboration among the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Kellogg School of Management, the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center and The Garage hosted on May 31, 2023 the Kellogg Global Hub. The all-day event was streamed online while students pitched solutions for a variety of global problems ranging from online safety to cancer treatment. Teams pitched to judges in their industry tracks behind closed doors early in the day before the selected few moved onto the public showcase, the final round.
The competition selected 25 of the University’s most promising startup teams from five different tracks to compete in semi-finals for more than $325,000 in prize money, including:
- First Place ($150,000): Cue the Curves, an online platform designed to support and build community for plus-size women and clothing brands
- Second Place ($50,000): Zeestr, a fundraising platform for nonprofits
- Third Place ($25,000): BMImmune, a company working to treat triple-negative breast cancer, took home third place and $25,000. Hundreds of text votes indicated that The Neuron, a media company that educates professionals about AI, would take home the Audience Favorite Prize of $2,000.
Students from competing teams represented the Kellogg School of Management; the School of Communication; Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; McCormick; the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Pritzker School of Law.
Originally called the Northwestern University Venture Challenge (NUVC), VentureCat was introduced in 2007. The 2023 VentureCat season was supported by volunteers who aided in coaching, advising and judging. The Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice co-sponsored the event with Lanny and Sharon Martin. Lanny Martin, a life trustee, and former chairman of the board of trustees at Northwestern, received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from Northwestern. Mike Raab, executive director of The Garage, and Hayes Ferguson, director of the Farley Center, hosted the event.
For more information on winners and semifinalists, visit The Garage’s results page.