fillow, the First All-Female Team to Be Named Winner of the CNVC, Takes Home $75,000

fillow, a feminine hygiene product, took home first place at the 2021 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 2021 College New Venture Challenge (CNVC).

The CNVC is the College track of the University’s nationally recognized business launch program, the New Venture Challenge. On Wednesday, March 10, finalists presented to an esteemed panel of distinguished judges comprised of investors, entrepreneurs, and industry experts and split a prize pool of $150,000 in funding, the largest prize pool awarded in the CNVC.

“This year’s teams raised the bar for the CNVC. They truly blew away the judges by tackling bigger problems, creating comprehensive business plans, and were extremely well polished in the delivery of their pitches,” said Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17, Deputy Dean for MBA Programs, Chicago Booth and professor of the CNVC.

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 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.

Two of the six finalist teams included entrepreneurial students from The Grainger College of Engineering’s City Scholars program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Through the CNVC course, students from both UIUC and the University of Chicago worked side by side on building high-growth, high-impact businesses.


// First place ($75,000): fillow

fillow is the period product for women who no longer need to settle. fillow disrupts the feminine hygiene industry by giving women not only a product that is leak-free, easy to use, long-lasting, mess-free, and safe; but also by providing women with a voice in a historically stigmatized, stagnant, and underfunded market.


  • Phoebe Choi (UChicago, 3rd year)
  • Helena Kim (UChicago, 4th year)
  • Camryn Ross (UChicago, 4th year)
  • Mary Woo (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 4th year)

// Second place ($25,000): IVY

Ivy designs, manufactures, and distributes the world’s first consumer 4D printer. Ivy’s product is a highly-scalable system that can rapidly and easily reshape objects with the click of a button.


  • Benji Asner (UChicago, 3rd year)
  • Jacob Wolf (UChicago, 3rd year)

// Third place ($20,000): DeepWalk*

DeepWalk is developing a mobile application that scans sidewalk curb ramps and checks if they meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements, saving cities time and money.


  • Navam Awasthi (UIUC, Graduate Student)
  • Curran Chopra (UChicago, 1st year)
  • Wesley Gow (UChicago, 2nd year)
  • Anshul Shah (UIUC, 3rd year)
  • Brandon Yates (UIUC, 4th year)

// Fourth place ($15,000): STIX Financials

STIX Financials STIX is offering the first-ever stock-linked debit card that allows you to make payments by using your stocks as cash.


  • Juvencio Maeztu (UChicago, 3rd year)
  • Ilan Naibryf (UChicago, 3rd year)
  • Ananiya Neeck (UChicago, 3rd year)

// Fifth place ($10,000): HexNest*

HexNest is developing a replacement for foam that reacts to every impact and changes its stiffness so every impact is as safe as possible.


  • Noah Adams (UChicago, 4th year)
  • Blake Lesser (UIUC, 4th year)
  • Mark Van den Avont (UIUC, 4th year)

// Sixth place ($5,000): Bridges Health

Bridges Health is an mHealth app that seeks to better connect patients with physicians, to tackle and prevent cardiovascular disease.


  • Ryan Choi (UChicago, 3rd year)
  • Julius Kim (UChicago, 3rd year)

*This team features students from both the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) as a part of the College New Venture Challenge’s partnership with the Grainger College of Engineering at UIUC.


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