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Investing in Billion-Dollar People

With NUseeds, we’re placing a bet on our best and most talented student entrepreneurs and showing that we’re engaged in driving the growth of their ventures.”

Melissa Kaufman
Executive Director, The Garage

Student startups at Northwestern have a new champion— and it’s one with deep pockets, NUseeds. Earlier this year, the University awarded the first two NUseeds investments, a $4 million venture capital fund providing seed investments to accelerate the launch of the most promising student-founded, early-stage ventures.

Pak’d, the brainchild of Kellogg students Nate Cooper ’17 and Rebecca Sholiton ’16, received a $75,000 investment, which the startup is devoting to growing its user base and driving expansion outside of the

Chicago area. Specifically targeting parents of the school-aged crowd and pledging to eliminate the frustrating work of preparing school lunches, Pak’d delivers fresh, customizable lunches directly to homes.

Another Kellogg student, Blair Pircon ’16, received $40,000 for her venture, The Graide Network. The online platform connects teachers with university students studying education—so-called “Graiders”— to provide additional feedback on student work ranging from essays to computer science projects. Pircon has earmarked her NUseeds award for the hiring of personnel tasked to recruit and onboard new Graiders.

In addition to the capital infusion, both Pak’D and The Graide Network receive coaching from a network of external alumni and community experts at The Garage, Northwestern’s one-year-old, on-campus innovation hub for students.

 Future NUseeds recipients will come from The Garage’s collection of student-founded startups and its Wildfire accelerator program, while award candidates will continue to be evaluated and selected by an external investment committee comprised of professional investors.