There are many sources of funding available to students working on entrepreneurial projects at The Garage. These include special programs that provide awards and other forms of non-dilutive capital, as well as the university’s seed investment fund for student startups.

Scoots at the 2019 VentureCat competition at Northwestern University on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.


The Garage oversees multiple programs that offer awards and prize money to students working on entrepreneurial ventures.


Up to $1,000 award


Up to $5,000 award


$10,000 award + $10,000 prize pool at Demo Day


VentureCat is an annual event and showcase celebrating Northwestern’s most promising student-founded startups. The event culminates with a pitch competition in which over $300,000 in non-dilutive prize money is distributed to student ventures. VentureCat is a collaborative event at Northwestern, including efforts through the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, The Kellogg School of Management, the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center and The Garage. To learn more about VentureCat, click here.


NUseeds is Northwestern’s $4M pre-seed/seed investment fund for student startups. The funding comes from philanthropic donations and is intended to accelerate the successful launch of innovations from Northwestern students and finance the most promising early-stage student ventures. To be eligible, ventures must have participated in The Garage Residency program and have an institutional investor participating in the investment round. NUseeds writes checks in the $10,000 – $100,000 range in exchange for equity.

Application Requirements

  • Applicants must have participated in The Garage Residency program.
  • Applicants must have established a product-market fit. 
  • Applicants must have entered the growth phase of their startup.
  • A pitch deck
  • Financial details including a cap table and other participating investors
  • A timeline of the round and when it’s expected to close

NUseeds applicants are vetted by the NUseeds External Investment Committee:

Peter Boyce

General catalyst + rough draft ventures

Ezra Galston

Starting Line

Danielle Lay

NEA + Weinberg ’16

Tom Loverro

IVP Partners + Kellogg ’11

Rick Zullo

Equal Ventures

Featured NUseeds Recipients

Amper, co-founded by three Northwestern students as undergraduates, helps factory managers improve their operations by providing real-time data on critical manufacturing metrics, which helps reduce lead times and waste. Amper is currently operating out of Chicago’s west loop.

BrewBike, a student-run coffee venture was founded in 2016 by Lucas Philips ’19, began as a bike serving cold brew coffee in high traffic areas across Northwestern’s campus. BrewBike has expanded to include two additional retail locations on the Evanston campus in addition to launching at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Miami, and Texas State University.


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