Alumni New Venture Challenge Selects 25 Startups for 2022 Contest
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the 25 startups accepted into the 2022 Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC), a global competition dedicated to supporting all University of Chicago alumni in developing early-stage ventures.
Participants applied through six regions: Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA), Asia-Pacific, Latin America, North America–East Coast, North America–West Coast, and North America–Midwest. Selected teams will have access to virtual resources from the Polsky Center as well as local programming, mentorship, and feedback opportunities, which are organized by regional alumni co-chairs.
Each region will hold semi-finals events in the spring and send their top startups to the ANVC global finals, set for May 12. Finalists present their business plans to a panel of judges and vie for part of a $100,000 investment pool.
The ANVC, which launched four years ago, is one of five tracks of the New Venture Challenge, a top-ranked university accelerator founded at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1996. To be eligible for the ANVC, startups must have a degreed University of Chicago alum as their team lead.
The startups participating in the 2022 ANVC are:
Lamuyan.ph // Lamuyan.ph is developing an end-to-end solution for buying and selling fresh produce in the Philippines. Its tech-based platform, including its marketplace sukee.ph, aims to bring buyers closer to the producers, leading to a more stable supply chain and lower prices for fresh produce while improving the income of the farmers.
Team Lead: Pargad “Jack” Biteng, MBA ‘08
Peasy // Peasy empowers individuals in Southeast Asia to succeed at livestream selling. Its user-centric, social commerce platform leverages the newest technology, an e-commerce platform, and social media to comprehensively fulfill the needs of livestream sellers in a way that’s quick and easy to use.
Team Lead: Keirn O’Connor, MBA ‘19
PEEL Lab // PEEL Lab works with plant-based leather and provides manufacturing for customized products, empowering corporations to join the movement towards net-zero. Plant-based materials apply to different verticals, including sports, F&B, hospitality, pet-related products, and automobile, and PEEL Lab works with clients on their requirements and specifications.
Team Lead: Miles Chiu, MBA ‘12
SetPro Technologies // SetPro Technologies is a digitization and payments platform for the Indian entertainment industry.
Team Lead: Sahil Bhatia, MBA ‘18
Stage Street Corporation // Stage Street Corporation offers “Instant Green Contribution Service” for consumers with “Green Gift” and “Green Deposit” for shared solar ownership to expand solar energy generation. In addition, it offers “Green Donation” from customers’ returned solar energy profit to green activity organizations such as green-tech, charities, and activists through the service.
Team Lead: Hayato Usuda, MBA ‘19
Reti Health // Reti Health is a British medtech start-up developing AI to screen patients for systemic disease by assessing their retinal images. Its first product, HealthOracle, evaluates a patient’s cardiovascular disease risk.
Team Lead: Oliver Dean, AB ‘15
Essayist // Essayist.com is a low-cost online subscription service for college application essay coaching. Membership includes access to our copyrighted idea development tools, essay outline generator, and other premium content.
Team Lead: Rebecca Stein, AB ‘93
Alina Eneji // Alina Eneji aims to provide Haitians with a more reliable, clean, and affordable electricity alternative through a decentralized approach with generation using solar and battery storage at household level, with households linked with a DC grid to share power.
Team Lead: Driko Ducasse, MBA ‘21
A’govest // A’govest is an all-in-one personalized financial platform that helps women in Latin America improve their financial health and achieve the lifestyle they desire. Starting with its unique financial health diagnosis, women will be guided through personalized paths consisting of courses, tools, games, and milestones to boost financial learning and inclusion.
Team Lead: Marisol Perez-Chow, MBA ‘19
Digital Keeper // Digital Keeper offers cybersecurity-as-a-service for startups and small and medium Businesses (SMBs) in Latin America. It combines industry-leading technologies with a team of highly trained information security experts to timely and automatically monitor, detect, and prevent cyberattacks from happening. Services are offered within a flexible and affordable monthly subscription.
Team Lead: Luis Navarro, MPP ‘16
Entropia AI // Entropía AI is a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company in Latin America with a focus on natural language processing (NLP). We are developing flow with the mission of disrupting the news industry through AI and autonomous content creation.
Team Lead: Andres Ponce de Leon, MPP ‘16
NORTH AMERICA – EAST COAST
Act2 Financial // Act2 Financial is an app that allows seniors to stay independent longer by helping them consolidate and monitor their health and financial data. The app sends an alert when it detects an issue, and provides guidance to help seniors through retirement.
Team Lead: Matt Halperin, BA ’84, MBA ‘87
Terawatt // Terawatt is a B2B marketplace that makes executive coaching accessible via a series of virtual, group sessions. The AirBnB for coaches, Terawatt provides value for three groups: coaches, employers, and rising professionals. Employers purchase the service, paying Terawatt in advance. Terawatt retains a “take-rate” before paying the balance to the coach.
Team Lead: Francie Jain, MBA ‘05
NORTH AMERICA – MIDWEST
C3 // C3 integrates the expertise of three coaches with complementary backgrounds in storytelling engagement, mindset coaching, and behavior change, leveraged in group and individualized support sessions and eLearning modules. Its vision is to create a more effective, efficient, and holistic coaching resource to meet the diverse needs of more people.
Team Lead: Joe Bernstein, MBA ’19, BA ‘96
Anthro Innovations // Anthro Innovations’ AI solution takes natural-language-processing technology to the next level by simplifying the search for useful and important information, buried within structured and unstructured Big Data, and turning it into actionable knowledge. Its patented AI software is focused on the hospital and insurance medical claims markets.
Team Lead: Carrie Brenner, BA ’79, MS ’81, MD ’83
Emojent // Emojent’s SaaS platform combines the power of machine learning and behavioral science to create a complete human measurement and analytics platform that solves multiple use cases involving human interaction. Our first targets are the market research and media/advertisement industries, with two products: a video survey and an ad-content analytics platform.
Team Lead: Shashank Chansoria, MBA ‘20
Hoplon // Hoplon is developing a catheter-based system that can remove clots that form inside an implantable left ventricular assist device during long-term support of a heart failure patient. Without the availability of a strategy like the one that Hoplon provides, these patients require high-risk invasive surgery for device exchange.
Team Lead: David Joyce, MBA ‘20
PuzzleWrapIt // PuzzleWrapIt is a digital platform that makes gift cards fun and personal. By enabling gift-givers to “wrap” a gift card in customizable digital puzzles and games, it transforms gift cards from impersonal, last minute gifts into engaging and memorable experiences.
Team Lead: Ratna Gogineni, MBA ’20, BA ‘13
Solay // Solay is a telemedicine service that treats psoriasis and atopic dermatitis using a new, personalized home version of the Goeckerman therapy. This eight-week therapy is safe, highly effective, and does not depend on lifelong prescription drugs.
Team Lead: Shawn Thomas, MBA ‘15
trainML // trainML is a distributed infrastructure sharing network for machine learning practitioners.
Team Lead: Adam Kowalksi, MBA ‘10
Unlisted // Unlisted allows home buyers to express interest in off-market properties for current or future consideration by homeowners. The easy-to-use, web-based platform increases access, alignment, structure, security, legitimacy, and efficiency in buy-side real estate transactions, thereby increasing opportunities for home buyers, homeowners, and the real estate industry at large.
Team Lead: Katie Hill, MBA ‘13
NORTH AMERICA – WEST COAST
eTripment // eTripment is a service that provides remote workers and on-the-road professionals with the equipment that enables them to work efficiently and ergonomically. It is a two-sided rental platform connecting renters with equipment providers across both commercial hubs and destination locations. Users will find a consistent experience no matter where they are.
Team Lead: Trevor Abbott, MBA ‘20
Frazier // Frazier is democratizing access to mental well-being by matching users to relevant content from our library of recorded and anonymized audio therapy sessions.
Team Lead: Paritosh Kumar, MBA ‘16
JUJU Spirits // JUJU Spirits makes alcoholic beverages that celebrate Asian flavors and culture. Our first flagship product is Drunk Fruit Hard Seltzer, a fun and playful take on seltzer that features Asian fruits such as lychee, yuzu, and melon.
Team Lead: Steven Tang, BA ‘12
Ready Education Group // Ready Education Group offers preschool education for ages 3 to 5. It currently operates a virtual learning platform at PreschoolFromHome.com, which is running at about $750K per year and 30% net profit margin. The company is beginning its brick-and-mortar preschool rollup starting with a first acquisition deal in 2022.
Team Lead: Jason Bern, BA ‘17