Finalists Selected for the 2019 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge


For the first time in its 23 year history, 12 teams have been selected to advance to the finals of the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) on Thursday, June 6.

The NVC is a year-long, intensive business launch competition, which has accelerated more than 230 currently-active companies that have generated more than $915 million in funds raised – including nationally known brands such as Grubhub, Braintree/Venmo, Simple Mills, Tovala, and Foxtrot.

On Thursday, June 6 NVC finalists will present their business models to a panel of distinguished judges and compete for over $1 million in cash and in-kind services. At the 2019 finals, the winning team will receive a minimum of $150,000 thanks to the Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize at the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge.

The finalists teams that will present are:

Aegis.AI provides AI software that automatically identifies guns and public safety threats in security camera feeds to notify security and law enforcement. The system detects guns, intruders, and abandoned objects in real-time, turning any security camera system into a threat-detecting smart camera system without requiring additional hardware.

Africana Airlines is an airline built on providing connectivity affordably and delivering a reliable service to make travel convenient in Africa.

Airspace is the end-to-end platform that outsources office management. Airspace​ upgrades the​ private office experience by setting up and managing your office with all the services, amenities, and technology it needs.

Apollo Foods is a snack company whose mission is to create healthy snacks using local superfoods. The company is starting in Mexico with rice cakes fortified with cricket powder.

Beltech is revolutionizing energy storage by developing patent-pending advanced material technologies that allow battery manufacturers (e.g. LG Chem, Tesla, etc.), using their current manufacturing process, to mass-produce safer lithium-ion batteries that last more than two times longer between charges and reduce the overall battery cost (per unit of energy) for consumer electronics and electric vehicles.

Digital Adventures teaches kids through a tech-powered, project-based approach, to develop 21st century computer coding and engineering skills that are key to solving difficult problems and making a meaningful impact in our digitally driven world.

Five to Nine is a platform for organizing internal programming, analyzing employee participation, and measuring overall employee engagement allowing companies to evaluate their spending and the desired and demonstrated needs of their employees in real-time.

GGLeagues is an eSports league that promotes community among gamers through structured competitive recreational leagues and live in person gaming events.  These leagues allow gamers to play eSports in person with other gamers in their community, similar to city-wide recreational sports leagues.

Iris Light Technologies is a nanomaterial company delivering innovative manufacturing solutions for the rapidly growing silicon photonics (light chip) market. Our nanomaterial enables compact, color-versatile lasers for seamless integration with silicon photonics manufacturing. Iris offers a complete ‘system on a chip’ directly from the factory while achieving high production yield.

Kambista is a digital platform that exchanges Peruvian Sol and US Dollar at fair prices for people and small and medium enterprises, reducing the informal exchange market in Peru and Latin America without additional fees.

My Art Cache is a private online matching platform for art industry professionals, dealers, and buyers to enable fine art dealers to capture lost sales and liquidate “hidden” inventory.

Veda Grace uses a revolutionary imaging technology for your phone that can see inside your skin layer-by-layer. Veda Grace’s virtual cosmetic dermatologists precision-formulate a personalized, luxurious, once-a-day prescription product that fits your exact needs and life.

Doors open for the NVC finals at 8:00 a.m. in Harper Center, C-25, and remarks will start promptly at 8:30a.m. Seating in C-25 will be extremely limited, and no laptops will be allowed in the room. We encourage guests to utilize the overflow room located in the Peter May student lounge on the first floor of Harper Center.

Winners will be announced at the Polsky Innovation Showcase in the Harper Center Winter Garden. The Polsky Innovation Showcase is an interactive celebration of entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration in the university community. Set up like a science fair, entrepreneurs and innovators from across the campus community will demo their start-ups, products, and or/technologies at different tables in the Winter Garden. The Innovation Showcase will begin immediately following the last presentation.

The NVC Finals will also be livestreamed. Register to attend or livestream the 2019 NVC Finals here and the Polsky Innovation Showcase here.

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