Cue the Curves, a social shopping app for plus-size fashion, has won VentureCat, Northwestern University’s annual student start-up competition powered by the Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice and cosponsored by Lanny and Sharon Martin.
Twenty-five semifinalist teams competed for more than $325,000 in prize money, with Cue the Curves taking home a total of $160,000 (including the $10,000 that all finalists get for making it to the semifinal and final rounds).
“VentureCat was such an amazing experience,” said Charlotte Oxnam, founder and chief executive officer of Cue the Curves and a graduating senior in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. “It’s so great to get to work with other founders, to be able to support one another and get that recognition in front of potential investors and users, and be honored for the work we’ve done while being full-time students. It’s definitely a lot of work, and it feels really rewarding to go through the program.”
Cue the Curves won the grand prize in the category of Consumer Products and Services. Oxman, who founded Cue the Curves because of her own struggles with fashion as a plus-size girl, told WWD she started with a personal blog in 2020 and launched the app in September 2022. The social media app features more than 250 brands. Women are able to discover brands and see what works for them, and then they’re directed to the actual brands for purchase, she said.
The 21-year-old Oxnam graduated this past weekend and plans to work full time on Cue the Curves.
“The prize money will go toward supporting the Cue the Curves team as we grow our platform and launch new features. We want to create an even more holistic space for plus-size women to be inspired and encouraged on their personal style journey,” Oxnam said.
VentureCat hosted 30 venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and industry experts from across the country as judges to evaluate startups from five industry tracks: Business Products and Services, Consumer Product and Services, Energy and Sustainability, Life Sciences and Medical Innovations, and Social Impact. The top team from each track in the semifinals, along with one wildcard team, advanced to take the stage at the Public Showcase, where they pitched one more time to an audience of hundreds of students, alumna and investors.
The showcase was held at the White Auditorium in the Kellogg School of Management Global Hub on Northwestern’s Evanston campus and also livestreamed online.