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On Thursday April 13th, I had the privilege to represent SAP at the Wildfire Demo Day held at The Garage on the campus of Northwestern University. I was joined by Casey Condon of ASUG and we both enjoyed five startup team presentations. Each team demonstrated unique and disruptive business or process innovations.

The Garage is Northwestern’s hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation. It brings together a cross-disciplinary community of students, faculty, staff and alumni who all share a passion for building new ideas. The 11,000-square foot space, located in the University’s North Campus Parking Garage, is currently home to approximately 60 student-founded startups per academic quarter. Twice a year, The Garage runs Wildfire, a pre-accelerator program, to prepare student teams for the next stage of their start-ups—be it an accelerator program, raising capital from angel investors or bootstrapping their way to success. Over 1,000 students, faculty and staff visit The Garage each month for classes, office hours, events and workshops.

The Garage’s Winter Pre-Accelerator Program, Wildfire, presented in partnership with the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosted its end-of-program Demo Day on April 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The five Wildfire teams showcased and pitched their startups to an audience of Northwestern students, faculty, mentors and partners for a prize pool of $10,000, awarded Shark Tank style by a panel of judges. The process leading up to this demo day is described below.

  • There were 15 applications for up to six spots
  • The teams were accelerated using the Scrum process
  • Teams were assigned their own Growth Coach during the quarter
  • Teams were supported by students from the Segal Design Institute EDI program to help the teams with customer discovery and prototyping

ENTREP395 Radical Entrepreneurship Wildfire Teams

Zcruit optimizes the college football recruiting process through predictive analytics, thus saving college football programs time and improving the quality of recruiting classes.

HearYe: Plan less, do more. HearYe is a mobile application that’s designed to organize casual group outings in an efficient way by allowing users to create, share, and communicate outing details on a central platform.

VertigōMetric Dx has developed a retinal-imaging medical device that rapidly helps an ER physician differentiate between a diagnosis of a non-life threatening issue and brainstorm stroke. Diagnosing this issue quickly will lead to tremendously better health outcomes for the patient while saving hospitals nearly a billion dollars annually. VertigoMetric Dx is led by an accomplished physician, a bioengineer, and a Kellogg MBA student.

HotPlate is an app designed to help you decide what to order at restaurants. Users can rate individual menu items, so that it is quick and easy to see the best dishes. HotPlate also allows users to see friends’ ratings, search by specific dish item, and receive tailored recommendations.

NewMoon Chicago provides Spectacle Services that pair performance art, mechanical contraptions, and the fundamental elements of an event —from serving food to musical performance— to create new elements that redefine ultra-premium, cutting-edge aesthetics and transform perceptions. From Drones flying guests’ appetizers to Aerialists pouring champagne, NewMoon provides the fantastical experience guests are seeking and creates memories they never forget.

We will continue to participate in events in the Midwest ecosystem to expand our SAP Next-Gen Innovation Network in Chicago.

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