Six Students Join Forbes 30 Under 30 Chicago: Innovating Across Industries

Four teams incubating at The Garage recognized for their entrepreneurial endeavors
The Garage
Aug 9, 2023
Graphic depicting the headshots of six highlighted students with the Forbes logo. Text on the image reflects the post title.

Four teams incubating at The Garage recognized for their entrepreneurial endeavors

By: Dani Savin

In a testament to the rising entrepreneurial spirit within the city, this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Chicago list boasts six remarkable student founders incubating at The Garage at Northwestern University. These young visionaries are not only pushing boundaries but rewriting the rules in their respective fields. Learn more about each founder below!

Alexis Chan & Izzy Mokotoff: Empowering Parkinson’s Patients

The tale of Alexis Chan, McCormick ’24, and Izzy Mokotoff, Medill ’24, brings innovation to a deeply personal realm. Fueled by the desire to preserve her cherished tradition of handwritten letters with her grandfather, Mokotoff teamed up with biomedical engineering student Alexis Chan in The Garage’s Residency, Propel, and Jumpstart programs. Their brainchild, SteadyScrib, aims to serve the 10 million people worldwide affected by Parkinson’s tremors. The ingenious pen design employs magnetic technology to stabilize writing, offering a lifeline of communication and connection. With a waitlist exceeding 2,000, SteadyScrib anticipates a transformative launch in late 2023 or early 2024, backed by substantial funding.

Charlotte Oxnam: Revolutionizing Plus-Size Fashion

At just 21 years old, Charlotte Oxnam, McCormick ’23, has disrupted the fashion industry with her brainchild, Cue The Curves. What started as a personal blog addressing the fashion needs of plus-size women blossomed into a full-fledged mobile app connecting users with over 250 brands through her participation in numerous programs at The Garage including Residency and Jumpstart. She also led the Propel program and took first place at this year’s VentureCat Student Startup Competition, winning over $150,000. Oxnam’s platform operates on a unique sales model, earning a 10% commission through affiliate marketing and retaining 35% from exclusive drops. Cue The Curves also champions a vibrant community for plus-size content creators, shaping a more inclusive fashion landscape.

Steven Jiang & Aspen Buckingham: Gamifying Music Practice

For Steven Jiang, Weinberg ’24, and Aspen Buckingham, Weinberg ’23, music and gaming converge in a harmonious symphony. Jiang’s lifelong musical journey merged with Buckingham’s passion for composition, leading to the birth of Overture Games – developed in The Garage’s Residency, Jumpstart, X-Factor and LJV programs. Their debut creation, Intervallic, presents a novel approach to learning instruments by blending Duolingo’s interactive dynamics with Guitar Hero’s allure. Players engage with real-time music practice through a character-avatar interface, a concept that has already garnered a beta user base exceeding 350. Overture Games injects an invigorating pulse into music education, making artistic mastery an immersive adventure.

Kevin Kasper: Pioneering Wildfire Defense

InfernoGuard, co-founded by Kevin Kasper, McCormick ’24, is a climate tech marvel born from personal encounters with the effects of wildfires. The startup quickly evolved from a high school project into a nationally recognized venture. InfernoGaurd revolutionizes wildfire risk assessment, employing cutting-edge tree-mounted hardware for real-time threat monitoring. Working through numerous programs at The Garage including Residency, LJV, X-Factor, Jumpstart, and a first place finish at VentureCat 2022, Kevin Kaspar leads InfernoGuard’s charge – propelling us into a safer environmental future.

The Forbes 30 Under 30 Chicago accolade doesn’t merely acknowledge these trailblazers’ achievements; it illuminates their potential to reshape industries, foster connections, and fuel progress. As the Windy City continues to incubate audacious innovators, these four teams stand as beacons of inspiration, catalyzing change and propelling us into a future where disruption knows no bounds.

Dani is an incoming freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying Journalism and RTVF at the The College of Letters and Sciences. Dani joined the team at The Garage to help facilitate the 2023 Jumpstart Pre-Accelerator summer program, working as a key pillar of the community to assist in daily operations and event execution, curate content for digital, print, and video publication, and strengthen community bonds.

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