Skip to main content


INVOHub is an incubator program that builds on the university’s mission of achieving excellence in research-driven innovation by accelerating translation of its rich research portfolio to the public.  In Fall 2017, the Hub launched Stage Zero support and resources for the very early stages of company formation and life and will later introduce programs for more advanced companies.  Establishing Stage Zero resources allows the University to immediately enable near-term opportunities and increase the pipeline of startup companies.

Early-stage companies launched from Northwestern research are eligible to apply for:

  1. Mailbox rental in Evanston, IL;
  2. Short-term rental of space on Evanston’s North Campus or at the Illinois Science and Technology Park (ISTP) in Skokie, IL;
  3. A credit applicable to a toolkit of startup services; and
  4. Discounted costs associated with use of Northwestern’s Core Facilities. 

Summary of benefits

INVOHub Affiliate:
Mailbox Rental in Evanston
  • Early stage NU startups
  • Mailbox license agreement with Northwestern
  • Affiliates have access to SBIR consultant
  • Affiliates can participate in quarterly INVOHub meetings
  • Mailbox is licensed at a flat fee of $180/year
Term of mailbox license agreement is up to 2 years
INVOHub Tenant:
Space Rental on North Campus or at ISTP(Office/Lab)
  • N.XT awardees and/or
  • Early stage NU startups
    • <3 yrs from incorporation
    • <2 FTEs
    • active option or license to NU Intellectual Property
  • Required approval by INVO faculty advisory committee and respective Institute hosting space
  • Space License Agreement with Northwestern
Term of space license agreement is up to 1 year for North Campus.  Term of space for ISTC is negotiable.
Startup Toolkit Credit
  • N.XT awardees and/or
  • Early stage NU startups
    • <3 yrs from incorporation
    • <2 FTEs
    • active option or license to NU Intellectual Property
  • Reimbursement of 80% of costs associated with eligible services, up to a total reimbursement of $5000
Reimbursements for services used over a 12 month period
Northwestern Core Facilities Discount
  • N.XT awardees and/or
  • NU startups
    • <3 yrs from incorporation
    • active option or license to NU Intellectual Property
  • Reimbursement of difference between internal and external rates, up to reimbursements of $2000/year
Discounted rates for Core use available only during first three years of a company’s life.  (Discounts will not be given once a company is beyond 3 years from incorporation.)


Awardees of Northwestern’s N.XT funding

N.XT awards are made to translationally advanced research programs with compelling commercial potential and to startups recently launched from Northwestern research.  N.XT awardees are expected to achieve milestones, such as product validation, prototyping and market identification, within a year.

Startups incorporated within the past three years with no more than two full-time employees 

The startups must have an intellectual property option or license agreement in place with Northwestern.

Application process and approval

As illustrated below, interested entities should apply to INVO and will be screened by a team of invention and business development managers within INVO.  INVO’s Faculty Advisory Committee will then determine which entities are suitable to recommend to occupy Stage Zero space or receive startup toolkit credits.  The appropriate Northwestern Institutes or, in the case of space at ISTC, Office of Research will review the recommended entities to insure an alignment of mission and availability of space and make the final decision.  The entities will execute a lease agreement with Northwestern.


All applications should be submitted to

Applications for any of the benefits will be accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed by INVO, INVO’s faculty advisory committee, the hosting Institute, and the Office for Research.  Send all inquiries to