On Thursday, August 24, more than 175 Northwestern staff and faculty, community members, and interested investors stopped by The Garage for our annual Demo Day, the culmination of the Wildfire Accelerator program. For the last 10 weeks, while so much of the Northwestern campus is quiet, The Garage has been bustling with our Wildfire teams. Whether it’s pitch practice in The Workspace, a meditation class, or weekly Family Dinner, it’s been nothing short of a blast to hang with these bright student entrepreneurs all summer long. Not to mention, many of the teams made some pretty big progress during the summer. Head to the recap of the halfway point here to find out more. No matter what the students were up to, all of them spent the last week of Wildfire perfecting their pitches in preparation for Demo Day.Take a quick peek inside how this year's Wildfire program went in the video below.
In total, we had 11 teams pitch at Demo Day. Here was the running order and a little more info about each of our teams:BOSSY Chicago exists to celebrate women-owned businesses and help them grow. Community Currency is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that fights for equal opportunity - for every child in every neighborhood - by collecting wasted foreign currency from international travelers. Bundles of Health offers bundles of products and experiences that help a new mom during the postpartum period. ORI HD seeks to provide endless fresh air through a portable, wearable air purifier. Eden is a gamified community and platform for indie music lovers to discover and share new music with others. Unruled. empowers visual thinkers to challenge convention and achieve their best selves through environmentally responsible product design. MOGO is a social network that enhances the world of viral video challenges by creating an interactive, competitive, and socially aware platform for users. Local connects college students interesting in earning money with community members interested in getting tasks done.HotPlate enables users to find the best dishes at restaurants through individual dish rating, reviews, and recommendations.PedalCell addresses the alternative energy crisis through convenient and powerful measures, starting with the ubiquitous bicycle. Pryde VR: Present yourself. Present VR. After a short deliberation and a chance for the audience to go online and pick their favorite pitch, it was time to pass out the checks! Here’s how it went down. Taking third place, and a check for $2,000 was Unruled. The judges loved their focus on mission, brand, and environmental responsibility.
Next, taking second place and a check for $3,000 was BOSSY Chicago. Judges noted their exciting progress over the summer, alongside their dedication to their mission to celebrate women-owned businesses and hitting multiple major milestones.
Finally, taking first place and a check for $4,000 was Local. The judges pointed out their traction at a small scale, and their positive positioning to scale up.
Next, we handed out the check for $1,000 to the audience favorite! This went to the only nonprofit starutp in the summer cohort, Community Currency. Congratulations to ALL the teams that pitched at Demo Day. We can’t wait to see what’s next.