Matt Heise and Katie Kollhoff’s road to The Rice Business Plan Competition

Matt Heise and Katie Kollhoff

Matt Heise and I, assigned teammates in Fall 2016’s Engineering Management Dream Team, struck the entrepreneurial chord while working together. Since then, we worked in tandem in several other courses, preparing for the time we’d start our own business. NUvention: Energy presented us that opportunity.

Leveraging Northwestern-patented ion exchange technology around the removal of metal contamination from water, we started working on NUMiX Materials in January. While, during our early stages, we referred to Prof. Berger’s teamworking and negotiation strategies to best utilize our time and energy, we employed key learnings from Prof. Rao’s (Finance) class and Prof. Marasco’s marketing frameworks to build our financial model and marketing strategies respectively. In fact, each MEM course has had a measurable contribution to our structure and operations.

Through the cross-disciplinarity of NUvention, we found and joined forces with peers studying law and material science and engineering. Laurelle BantaOlivia Lugar, and Jonathan Pfluger round out the NUMiX Materials team, each bringing a unique set of skills and perspectives to our business. We are delighted to work with Dr Mercouri Kanatzidis as our business is built on his patents. Northwestern’s amazing student diversity, alumni network, faculty and NUvention: Energy’s advisory board allowed us to reach this far. MEM provided us with the foundation and NUvention gave us the platform to launch.

In early March, we received wonderful news that NUMiX was selected for the Rice Business Plan Competition. Held in Houston from April 5 – 7, the illustrious competition has a cohort of 42 graduate student teams selected from over 700 applicants. In RBPC’s own words “The competition is designed to give collegiate entrepreneurs a real-world experience to fine tune their business plans and elevator pitches to generate funding to successfully commercialize their product. Judges evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms.” 

We’re grateful for the wonderful support we’ve received and delighted to represent Northwestern at Rice in April!

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