Skip to main content
Northwestern University

Start-up Spirit

NUVC student director Michael Krakaris ’16 showcases entrepreneurship at Northwestestern

When the Northwestern University Venture Challenge kicks off on June 4, a bright spotlight will shine on the university’s most promising student entrepreneurs.

And, behind the scenes, Michael Krakaris ’16 undoubtedly will be smiling — notwithstanding some likely last-minute panic.

As NUVC’s student director, Krakaris, an economics major from Silicon Valley, has spearheaded the university’s business plan competition, where 28 startups will compete for a total prize purse of more than $200,000.

“It’s amazing how much support for entrepreneurship there is across the Northwestern campus,” Krakaris says. “This really comes to life at NUVC.”

More than 80 startups in various stages of development applied for entry into the NUVC competition, which features five different industry-specific tracks: green energy and sustainability; consumer products; social enterprise; business products; and life sciences and medical. All teams must feature at least one team member affiliated with the university.

A selection committee evaluated each entrant’s market opportunity, financial viability, growth potential and professionalism, and identified 28 semi-finalists — up to six from each industry track. Currently, those 28 teams are attending workshops and receiving mentorship to prepare for their live NUVC pitch on the morning of June 4.

“We’ve seen college students like Mark Zuckerberg [of Facebook] revolutionize industries with their ideas. It’s exciting that NUVC could be a springboard to help student entrepreneurs take their ideas to the next level,” says Krakaris, noting that one winner from each of the five tracks will compete for the NUVC grand prize during the event’s afternoon session.

Over the past several years, Krakaris says he’s been fascinated by the business side of technology and curious about applying his economics studies to the entrepreneurial world. His leadership role with NUVC, he says, has helped him understand how to apply his classroom knowledge to the startup environment.

“A business and economics perspective is crucial to the success of any startup enterprise, especially when looking for venture capital funding,” Krakaris says. “So I’m getting a wonderful experience in the classroom, but then getting to learn about these startup enterprises with NUVC. And that’s providing a great perspective.”

Back to top