NUMiX Takes 2nd at Cleantech UP National Competition

MEM students involved with the startup talk about their plans moving forward.

Two MEM students helped create NUMix, a startup that seeks to improve water quality.Two MEM students helped create NUMix, a startup that seeks to improve water quality.

This past January, five Northwestern University students — including two from Northwestern Engineering’s Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program — came together to create NUMix, a startup that seeks to improve water quality.

Within a few months of its founding, NUMix won the $50,000 U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy Prize at the Rice Business Plan Competition and the $30,000 grand prize at Northwestern’s annual VentureCat competition. Now, the team can add a second-place finish and another $30,000 prize from the U.S. Department of Energy's Cleantech UP 2018 National Competition to its list of accolades.

After receiving the recognition, MEM current student Katie Kollhoff (MEM '18) and recent graduate Matt Heise (MEM '18) talked about the experience and their plans for NUMix moving forward.

What was your reaction to the 2nd place finish?

The team was thrilled to not only have the opportunity to compete at the Cleantech UP competition with some of the best, brightest, and most passionate, but to have our company recognized by that community was really invigorating. The win reinforced that we’re on to something big!

Why do you think NUMiX has resonated with so many people?

As more people are personally or peripherally affected by water issues — be they from flooding, from shortages, or from contamination — we are seeing greater support for our message of providing better, innovative solutions to the big, growing global water challenges.

Matt, you’ve already graduated, and Katie, you graduate in the fall. With that in mind, what types of roles do you see yourselves playing with NUMiX moving forward?

We will continue to lead the company forward to meet our strategic milestones in the near term and position the company for the next growth phase.

What do you think the future of NUMiX looks like?

One of the most exciting parts of our young company is that we get to design its future! We have a vision for the company to commercialize this technology with high-impact, sustainable adoption across several markets over the next decade.

Katie, with the little time that you have left in MEM, is there anything that you're doing in the program that you think will help push NUMiX forward?

My final MEM course is an independent study, where I will be digging in to nuanced questions around effectively building and capturing value along our value chain.

What other ways do you plan to stay connected with the MEM program?

Attending Student Advisory Board 2nd Fridays and other MEM events is one way we stay connected. Additionally, we hope to enlist MEM student assistance on some projects we are putting together, and we are always happy to talk about our experiences with folks interested in entrepreneurship.

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