Want to watch all of the Wildfire 2020 pitches? Click here.
For the first year ever, Wildfire was conducted completely virtually – including Demo Day! (one of our favorite days of the year!) In case you missed it, catch the entire livestream below.
Wildfire, despite being conducted in a virtual format, was still an intensive and busy 10 weeks for our student founded startups participating. We were absolutely committed to ensuring the experience online was a valuable one, so we packed the summer with superstar content providers. Students participating in the program were also able to take advantage of one-on-one mentorship to guide them through Wildfire and perfect their pitches in preparation for a (virtual) Demo Day!
To read up on more of what we did this summer, check out our Wildfire Check-In article here.
Although we weren’t able to gather our audience in person at The Garage this year, we were excited to welcome hundreds of attendees online for our (Virtual) Demo Day livestream on August 26! Our audience included friends and family of the Wildfire students, Northwestern students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and investors and friends of The Garage from all over the country! Just like in past years, students were pitching for a prize pool of $10,000 of non-dilutive capital – including an audience favorite award of $1,000!
Before we could start the livestream, however, our 10 student teams pitched in closed Zoom sessions to our panel of judges, who selected the top five pitches, including first, second, and third place. Our judges line up this year was nothing short of impressive, with some friendly faces (and previous Wildfire participants!) like Collin Pham, McCormick ’18 and Lucas Pasch, Kellogg ’19. We also welcomed The Garage’s former associate director, Hayes Ferguson; BFF of The Garage and entrepreneurial superstar Neal Sales-Griffin; and expert in all things mobile retail, Sonia Nagar. To read more about our judges, check out our virtual program at thegarage.nu/demodayprogram
We kicked off the livestream portion of (Virtual) Demo Day with a brief introduction and welcome from The Garage’s executive director, Melissa Kaufman (who has undoubtedly become the best livestream emcee) and heard more about the program from our Wildfire coordinator, Heather Aranyi. To keep things quick and engaging, we trimmed down the number of pitches our live audience sees to the top five, as decided by our panel of esteemed judges earlier in the day.
Our top five teams, in alphabetical order, are:
- Alva: Alva is your online personal jeweler.
- Amasu: Founded by a clinical pharmacist and practitioners, Amasu offers natural herbal wellness products designed to be integrated seamlessly into daily routines to prolong a healthy life.
- FinLit: FinLit is a personal finance education platform that enables organizations to deliver an easily-digestible, video-based curriculum to individuals and effectively measure comprehension.
- Innovestments: Empowering everyday people to become investors in residential real estate through innovative financing.
- Qade: Qade lets gamers compete on the grand stage with automatic stat tracking and personalized gaming recaps.
After the pitches wrapped, we asked the audience to grab their phones and text in to vote for their favorite pitch! We were so excited to share the results with our audience!
In third place, taking home a check for $2,000 is Alva!
In second place, winning $3,000 is Innovestments!
Our audience favorite award, and $1,000, also goes to Innovestments!
And finally, first place of Wildfire 2020 (Virtual) Wildfire Demo Day is Qade!
Congratulations to ALL of the teams that pitched, and all of our hard working Wildfire 2020 participants. To see all of the student pitches, click here.