Subli, a peer-to-peer subletting marketplace, wins $25,000 at the 2020 College New Venture Challenge

Subli, a peer-to-peer subletting marketplace, took home first place at the 2020 College New Venture Challenge finals. Photo credit: Polsky Center.

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 College New Venture Challenge (CNVC). The CNVC is the College track of the university’s nationally recognized business launch program, the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC). On Wednesday, March 11, finalists presented to an esteemed panel of distinguished judges comprised of investors, entrepreneurs, and industry experts and split a prize pool of $75,000 in seed funding as well as over $1 million in in-kind startup support services.

This finals included a select group of entrepreneurial students from The Grainger College of Engineering’s City Scholars program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I). The City Scholars program is a semester-long study and work program based in Chicago, which enables students from U of I to intern in the city’s tech sector while completing coursework. The CNVC course is the cornerstone of the newly created Startup City Scholars program. Through the course, students from both U of I and UChicago worked side by side on building high-growth, high-impact businesses. In total, 15 teams from UChicago and 5 from U of I enrolled in the classroom portion of the program.

The CNVC, which began in 2012, has helped undergraduate University of Chicago students turn their ideas into viable businesses including Cubii, Sokowatch, Fronen, Moneythink, and Quevos. Since 1996, the Polsky Center has helped launch more than 330 startup companies still in operation today that have gone on to raise more than $1 billion in funding and more than $7.5 billion in exits through its NVC program.

The 2020 cohort included a select group of entrepreneurial students from The Grainger College of Engineering’s City Scholars program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I).

Winners of the 2020 CNVC are:

Subli, a peer-to-peer subletting marketplace for university communities, took home first place and $25,000 at this year’s CNVC finals. The company is led by University of Chicago students Melody Li, Luke Iida, AB ’19, and Pablo Melana-Dayton, AB ’19, AM ’19.

Teneez, is a sneaker rental company, was awarded $20,000 for its Rent the Runway concept for sneaker heads. The University of Illinois team was led by Cedric Vargas and Johnny Weipeng.

Talklet, offers problem-focused consultations led by student providers for people who wouldn’t otherwise access mental healthcare. This intercollegiate team included both University of Chicago and University of Illinois students and received $10,000. Team members are Amy Ma, Feven Jembere, Kristen Lam, Mike Tu, Ragy Amin, and Yan Miao.

Women in STEM (WiSTEM) supports young women interested in STEM through building social networks using high school chapters. WiSTEM was awarded $10,000. The team is made up of UChicago Laboratory School senior Ananya Asthana and University of Chicago students Lily Cao, Anke Hao, and Matthew Li.

Sucker Punch, an innovative low sugar alcoholic punch packaged in a versatile and eco-friendly stand up drink pouch, was awarded $5,000. The company is led by UChicago student Teddy Donnelley

Emma is a kitchen concierge service that puts your fridge and pantry on autopilot. The team, which is led by UChicago students Michael Seidl and Jason Sheppard, delivers straight to customers’ kitchens and disposes of all your expired goods sustainably through recycling and composting. They received $2,500.

SellerFan, is bringing a new kind of monetization to the influencer-superfan ecosystem with an innovative, automated technology platform. The team is comprised of UChicago students Alex Chung and Hunter Brookman, and Stanford University student Natasha Moolji. They received $2,500 as well. 

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