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Translational Funding

Raising money may be required to take a startup's product to market. You may take advantage of funding from the university or pursue external funding.

Northwestern Funds

Northwestern funds are supported in part by generous Northwestern Alumni and Northwestern’s Central Administration.

Lakeside Discovery

Deerfield Management and Northwestern University launched Lakeside Discovery, LLC in June 2018 with the mission to accelerate the translation of transformative biomedical technologies out of the University.   For more information, visit the Lakeside Discovery website.


NewCures is a Northwestern initiative that focuses on accelerating Northwestern biomedical research from early discovery stages to more advanced clinical stages or commercialization for the benefit of the patients., visit the NewCures website.


The N.XT fund is designed to promote early stage Northwestern technologies to the next stages of commercialization. For more information, visit the N.XT website.  


The NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations (NCAI) is designed to accelerate the translation of scientific discovery into commercial platforms that improve the health of patients. Areas of interest include heart, lung, sleep and blood.  For more information, visit the NCAI-CC Website or download this informational flyer.


NUseeds fund is designed to support and accelerate business development for early stage start-ups. For more information, visit the NUseeds website.


VentureCat is a day-long showcase and celebration of Northwestern’s most promising student-founded startups. The event culminates with a pitch competition, in which over $100,000 in prize money will be distributed to student ventures.

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. Visit the VentureCat website.

Government Grants 


Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) offer funding in the form of contracts or grants. The projects must have commercialization potential and meet the requirements set by the US Government Research and Development needs.  Approximately $2.5B is awarded through these grants per year. Companies must be meet qualifications outlined by the programs. Visit the SBIR/STTR website.

Northwestern participates in the IL University Incubator Network which offers access to free SBIR/STTR consultation.  Please contact your Invention Manager or INVO if you are interested in applying for this type of opportunity. 

Business Plan Circuit

Business plan competitions are another source of funding. Kellogg summarizes the business plan circuit for Northwestern students at its website.