VentureCat 2017: Meet the Semifinalists

VentureCat is Northwestern’s annual student startup competition showcasing and celebrating the best of the best student founded ventures. The event culminates with a pitch competition, where more than $100,000 in prize money will be distributed by an esteemed panel of judges. After reviewing submissions, the team behind VentureCat has selected 25 teams to advance to the semi-finals!

VentureCat is an evolution of the Northwestern University Venture Challenge (NUVC), which was originally introduced in 2007. From inception, NUVC has distinguished itself from other pitch competitions around the globe by organizing competitors in industry-specific tracks, which leverages the rich expertise of distinct schools from across the university in both graduate and undergraduate programs, and awarding top teams with non-dilutive capital.

Kicking off on Monday, April 24, the 25 semifinalist teams will participate in a four week Semifinalist Pitch Prep Program, supporting the teams with pitch coaching, advice from industry experts, and professional graphic design support.

On May 24, those 25 teams will compete in one of six tracks: Business Products and Services, Consumer Products and Services, Green Energy and Sustainability, Life Sciences and Medical Innovations, Social Enterprises and Nonprofit, and Transportation and Mobility. The 1st place winner of each track will take the main stage to compete for the grand prize at the Finals. Be sure to grab your spot for the event and check out the list of the semifinalists below.

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Business Products and Services (B to B)

Dotbound: The habits of golfers have changed, but golf instructors haven’t adapted. Golfers are looking to find and purchase golf lessons online, yet no good solution has enabled instructors to meet this need. Dotbound is a website and marketing platform for golf instructors providing the tools and services golf instructors need to sell more golf lessons online.

Tadpole: The only platform for pre-launch apps to gather user generated content. Using Tadpole’s web platform, publishes define their target market, outline the content they need, deploy projects, monitor progress and gather data-driven insights. The mobile application gathers demographic and behavioral information about the “tadpoles,” and sends targeted, contextual push notifications to users. Tadpole is a current Resident Team of The Garage.

Quickpulse: Despite spending 40 billion dollars on development programs every year, turnover has increased in China’s service industries as millennial crave meaningful work, recognition, and development. Corporations in China lack the right systems to listen and respond to these needs. Quickpulse is the answer: because every person matters.

Zcruit: At Zcruit, the team realized that there is more to football recruiting than scouting and evaluating talent alone. That is why they have developed statistical solutions to help university programs target the right players at the right time, ultimately improving the identification and decision making processes. Zcruit is a current Resident Team of The Garage and a participant in the Wildfire Pre-Accelerator Program.

 

Consumer Products and Services (B to C)

eRetirements: eRetirements.com is a website that helps baby boomers determine their ideal retirement destination and provide resources to help them successfully relocate utilizing a unique, data-backed algorithm to recommend three ideal locations based on an individual’s interests and needs. eRetirements is currently a Resident Team of The Garage.

JitsLab: JitsLab is a personal sports analytics platform that shows athletes stats about themselves for any sport or activity. Using information provided, Jitslab can tell how long an athlete’s stamina lasts before dropping, what moves have the highest success rate from the athlete, and what the normal pattern of behavior from an athlete is.

RE-Bucha: Unleash the power of kombucha to improve your wellbeing and the health of the world around you. Each bottle of RE-BUCHA brings to the table a premium kombucha that you would expect while also recovering and re-harvesting imperfect produce streams. So, sit back, enjoy your kombucha, and do so in knowing that you are making a difference. RE-Bucha is a current Resident Team of The Garage.

The Right Hook: The Right Hook is redefining the bra shopping experience. Why shouldn’t women be able to shop for bras from the comfort of their home? The Right Hook’s comprehensive measurement system and personal stylists allow the customer to feel confident they are getting a personalized service and the best fit, without stepping foot out of the house. The Right Hook is currently a Resident Team of The Garage.

Welltended: Welltended is the houseplant selection & delivery service for city-dwellers. The user selects a gorgeous houseplant & beautiful, modern planter, and then Welltended will pair it with potting soil, plant it, and deliver it. Welltended provides easy-to-follow care instructions, taking the hassle and stress out of tending well to houseplants. Welltended is a current Resident Team of The Garage.

 

Energy and Sustainability

Aerospec Technologies: Aerospec’s unmanned aerial system (UAS) efficiently identify, analyze, and predict equipment failures to maximize asset performance in the renewable energy industry.

Gibbs Lighting: Gibbs provides energy efficient LED lights at no cost to commercial and industrial buildings in exchange for a portion of energy savings. This eliminates barriers to installing efficient technology, lowers energy consumption, and saves money.

PedalCell: PedalCell harnesses a wheel’s rotational energy into usable electricity and is designed for the bike share market. PedalCell utilizes the most advanced charging technologies provided by Qualcomm and the USB standard; ensuring consumers that, no matter the phone, their device will charge at blistering speeds. Furthermore, our wheel-hub generator is complemented by a phone mount that’s placed on a bicycle’s handlebars.

Rezilncy: We’re on the brink of a clean energy revolution. All the technology for solar, batteries, and microgrid controls are there, but the know-how required to use it lags behind. Rezilncy is a team of microgrid systems integrators—enabling the clean energy revolution.

 

Life Sciences and Medical Innovations

ActiWit, LLC: ActiWit is a wearable biofeedback device that delivers a personalized behavioral treatment plan for children. We share the concern of many adults who are on the frontline of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) treatment: too much ADD information is “out there,” and yet too little is known about how to choose effective, customized treatments for children.

Actualize Therapy: Our treatment solution will offer university counseling services another option to address the behavioral health of their student population by specifically targeting depression and anxiety in a way that is most convenient to students aged 18-26.

LifeMotion Technologies, LLC: LifeMotion Technologies LLC has designed an

ergonomic “headphone” device with a series of motors to actuate the jaw. These motors contain sensors, which also collect position, velocity, and force measurements for oral-cancer and stroke survivors. LifeMotion Technologies is currently a Resident Team at The Garage.

 

Social Impact and Nonprofit

Kheyti: Kheyti designs, adapts and implements low-cost farming solutions that help small farmers increase yield and predictability of produce. They combine these technologies with end-to-end support to give farmers a seamless path towards income increase. Kheyti has developed a “Greenhouse-in-a-box” – an affordable, modular greenhouse bundled with full stack services that uses 90% less water, grows 7 times more food and gives farmers a steady dependable income.

Sidekick: Sidekick is a digital assistant that makes it easy for high school teachers to turn current company problems into engaging in class projects their students will love and learn from. Sidekick is currently a Resident Team of The Garage.

Spring Slam: Spring Slam brings its signature basketball tournament and outreach efforts to college campuses across the country with the mission of fighting cancer while bringing communities together through sport. Spring Slam is currently a Resident Team of The Garage.

Tiltas: Tiltas is a web-based platform aimed at easing the re-entry process for returning citizens and reducing recidivism. Tiltas has a two staged proposal to reach this goal. First, Tiltas serves as a social network and online resource for returning citizens. Second, Tiltas connects returning citizens with employment opportunities. Tiltas is currently a Resident Team of The Garage.

 

Transportation and Mobility

EaseDrive: EaseDrive is committed to empowering a new way to use the car by providing to the drivers the opportunity to enhance their health while driving.

Intelligent Flying Machines, Inc.: IFM is a Data Analytics Company that uses Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Robotics to automate indoor data capture. With corporate partners such as BMW, NVIDIA, SAP, Honeywell, and Here, as well as customers spanning the leaders of automotive manufacturing and logistics providers, IFM uses its technology to improve the operational efficiency of enterprises and unleash productivity in the workforce. IFM is currently a Resident Team of The Garage.

SHURPA: SHURPA solves the last mile of parcel delivery by serving ecommerce partners from order to delivery. SHURPA targets small, medium, and large online retailers that sell tangible goods, with an estimated total addressable market of nearly $6 billion.

TravDel LLC: A shipping company that uses travelers to deliver products. With 15 million people taking international flights every day, people can beat Fedex with both speed and price offering a cheaper way to ship and an opportunity for travelers to make money.

 

Currently, these 25 teams are working hard in the Semifinalist Pitch Prep Program. Want to see how it all goes down at the finals? 

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