by Charlotte Oxnam, McCormick ’23
A startup is only as great as its team. Growing that team can be a challenge for a student founder with little or no recruitment experience. A quarterly event, Startup Matchmaking, is led by The Garage at the beginning of each quarter to help student-founded startups find excited team members. The popular event, which used to be held in-person at The Garage, has moved to an innovative virtual live format. Not only does the event help connect startups to students looking to join a startup team, it also plays a role in introducing students from all corners of campus to the startup ecosystem at Northwestern. The event is always open to all Northwestern students, regardless of school of level of study.
Previous matches made at Startup Matchmaking have proven invaluable to student founders working on their ventures. In the last quarter’s event, Anna Lise Ericson, SoC ’22 pitched her startup, Cerer. Cerer is an e-commerce store dedicated to make the fashion industry more sustainable, one outfit at a time. Anna Lise said she “found it super welcoming and straightforward, despite being online.” She also shared, “I was able to talk to several interested students and was able to find the best fit for our team, none of which would have been possible without Startup Matchmaking!”
On April 15, 26 student-founded startups incubating in the Residency program at The Garage gave 60-second pitches live on Zoom. In addition to sharing more about their ventures, students also talked about what type of roles they were looking to fill. Many student founders were seeking app or website development, while others were seeking extra help with marketing and social media. Over 50 excited students looking to join a venture tuned in to watch the pitches and connect directly with the teams they were interested in joining. Teams that pitched are working on a variety of diverse projects, ranging from high-tech neural device startup Neu App to Pivot, an incubator for chefs to test new restaurant concepts.
Startups that pitched at the spring 2021 edition of Startup Matchmaking included:
Inferno Guard: A wildfire detection and prevention device.
Palette: Palette aims to be the DryBar for makeup services, which provides women a way to feel like the most confident version of themselves by offering a makeup service that is dependable, inclusive and convenient.
Rhetoric: For the aspiring leader, Rhetoric is an application that provides real-time feedback on spoken communication to develop into a more confident, empathetic, and persuasive communicator. Our mission is to enable personal growth, unlock efficiency, and promote powerful habits through “companion artificial intelligence”.
Cue the Curves: Cue the Curves is an online platform for plus-size women to find and discuss clothing brands.
Xenah Developers: A student run coding solutions consultancy focused on giving our employees real world project experience while working with our clients to bring their ideas to life.
You can learn more about all of the teams that pitched in the event’s full roster here and watch the recording of the live pitches below.
Joining an existing startup can give students at Northwestern unparalleled learning opportunities, access to useful resources through The Garage, and a chance to get real work experience outside of the classroom. It can also spark an excitement for a new idea! Many of the current Resident teams at The Garage are founded by students who began their entrepreneurial journeys by joining a team during a previous Startup Matchmaking event!
Jihad Esmail and Mateo Price, co-founders of AMA (Authentic Media Ascension) have participated in multiple Startup Matchmaking events, both in person and online. Each time, they’ve been excited to share what they’re up to and have welcomed multiple new team members as a result of the event.
Startup Matchmaking is a quarterly event, and while participating students must be a Tinkerer or Resident at The Garage to pitch their startup and recruit, any student from the Northwestern community can attend to learn more about dozens of student startups and learn how to get involved with The Garage and the Northwestern entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Keep up with all of our upcoming events on The Garage Events page!