Meet the Teams Selected to Participate in the 2022 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the 30 teams selected to participate in Phase II of the 2022 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), a top-ranked startup accelerator for MBA students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
The teams were selected from among 62 startup applicants that submitted business plans for review as part of Phase 1 of the NVC program, which over 26 years has helped launch successful companies including Grubhub, Braintree, Foxtrot, Tovala, and Simple Mills.
During a spring-quarter course at Chicago Booth, the Phase II teams will refine their business plans and present to a panel of judges, who will choose finalists to advance to a competition for investment.
The investment pool last year swelled to $1.73 million, making the NVC the richest student startup accelerator in the U.S. The winner of the Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize received more than $680,000.
The NVC finals are set for June 2.
The NVC, founded in 1996, has helped launch more than 370 still-active companies, which have raised more than $1.2 billion in funding and achieved $8.5 billion in mergers and exits. The program has grown to include five tracks tailored to distinct audiences.
The teams participating in the 2022 NVC are:
Alloy // Alloy aims to be the one-stop shop for sports betting where fans can conduct research, place bets, and track winnings. Founded on the principles of transparency, accessibility, and user control, Alloy’s no-code Command platform lets sports fans easily build their own sports betting strategies and backtest against past results in real time.
Amenity Yoga // Amenity Yoga’s mission is to strengthen urban apartment communities through standardized, studio quality yoga classes delivered directly to urban apartment fitness centers. The practice of yoga brings together body and mind and is proven to increase a feeling of connection with others.
AURA // AURA is a next-gen botanical bug spray that works better than those with neurotoxins, protecting you from mosquitoes while protecting the environment from petrochemicals. It uses all hypoallergenic ingredients, is full of anti-inflammatories, and even builds collagen. AURA comes in a tiny spritzer bottle that clips onto your keychain or pocket so it’s with you when you need it.
axo // axo is a platform that bridges the gap between packaged-food companies and sustainable farmers. It finds and verifies regenerative farmers and connects them to food companies seeking to source sustainable ingredients, helping food companies achieve their sustainability goals while increasing transparency and building a more resilient supply chain.
BlackCurrent // BlackCurrent Inc. is a hydrogen trading marketplace solving the problem of access to sustainable fuels. Focused on hydrogen commodities, the company provides transparency in hydrogen markets to support growth of logistics, transportation sector (automobiles, long range trucks, recreational boats, long range container ships), stationary power, and communications sector.
Block Rank // Block Rank aims to develop a new layer of accountability in anonymous web3 ecosystems. With a combination of data visualization tools, cutting-edge fraud detection algorithms, and token distribution automation software, web3 corporations will be able to confidently engage and share value with their consumers.
buzz // buzz is a content curation app that enriches media consumers’ lives by helping them share, discover, and organize media curated by their close friends and network. buzz is free to users but generates revenues through ad placement, aggregated data sales on media consumption behavior, and subscription revenues from premium users.
BuzzPay // BuzzPay makes it easy to buy drinks at a crowded bar. Its SaaS-based online ordering and mobile payments platform streamlines bar operations by replacing traditional POSs with a customer-driven digital checkout on their smartphone, facilitating purchase efficiency for customers and boosting sales revenue for bars and tip income for bartenders.
Canopy Aerospace // Canopy Aerospace is commercializing and developing advanced manufacturing processes for thermal protection systems (TPS), a specialty thermal composite traditionally used on NASA vehicles such as space shuttles and re-entry capsules to protect against extreme temperatures over 2000F during atmospheric re-entry and hypersonic flight.
Carbon Negative Technologies // Carbon Negative Technologies is a Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) company that will transform the waste CO2 emission of carefully selected medium-size industrial emitters to high returns CCS projects by buying their CO2 rights, capturing and geologically storing it using commercially mature technologies, and generating revenue via carbon credits.
Cargoha // Cargoha is a one-stop marketplace-platform for import/export companies to shop for logistics, structure contracts, and manage shipments. Targeting the $29 trillion global trade market, Cargoha simplifies current channels for logistic transactions, and allows freight shipment management via a customizable SaaS platform with visual dashboards, messaging, and smart ledger.
CheesePix // CheesePix is a photo-as-a-service provider that aims to become the mainstream platform to capture memories for sports fans, tourists, and concert enthusiasts. Its camera technology enables people to seamlessly capture photos right the first time and enables its partners to unlock brand engagement opportunities.
Circular // Circular is a B2B marketplace for second-hand agricultural, construction, and mining equipment and services in Latin America. Circular partners with technicians to verify the quality and condition of items during the transaction, and insurers, shippers, banks, and lawyers to provide a one-stop shop for businesses looking to procure used equipment.
CodeUp // CodeUp is a disruptive AI-based coding solution. Its revolutionary programming tool makes coding-related tasks more cost effective, faster and easier to accomplish for individuals, organizations and enterprises.
Cricket Hill (ChirpSnax) // Cricket Hill Inc. (ChirpSnax) is a healthy and nutritious food for dogs, featuring a highly sustainable protein: crickets. Ingredients made for humans, perfect for pets, and developed to foster the long-term health of the planet.
Earthi // Earthi is the first plant-based grab-and-go fast-casual concept focused on delivering healthy, delicious, and wholesome plant-based meals to Flexitarians (“plant curious” meat reducers). Earthi operates through a commissary model, consolidating cooking and prep under a single roof while leveraging small brand-forward retail locations for distribution and marketing.
Govern // Govern is a regulation technology platform that uses machine learning and natural language processing to source or acquire government loans, regulations, tax incentives, and contracts relevant for your small business, compliance team, and expert advisory practice.
Inclusive+ // Inclusive+ is an integrated telehealth platform (online provider + pharmacy) that coordinates and delivers primary care for the LGBTQIA+ population. It is a one-stop shop to access care-competent primary care services, outpatient testing, and home medication delivery in a convenient platform.
India-to-Go // India-to-Go aims to be the dominant Indian fast-food chain of our generation. With a combination of breakthrough customer service, mindful eating experiences, next-generation technology, and healthful awareness, India-to-Go will feed the conscious consumer of the 21st century the flavorful, ethically-sourced, and transparently supplied Indian fast-food meals they crave.
Medici // Medici is pioneering mobile-first working capital loans for corner stores in emerging markets, starting in Latin America. It partners with fast-moving consumer goods companies to access historical transaction data, making underwriting technically feasible and profitable for the first time in the segment.
Nexum Coffee // Nexum Coffee democratizes the direct-trade model in the global coffee trade industry with an online platform that enables roasters and producers to communicate directly with each other. Roasters will find the ideal producer based on their specific quality needs while producers would export their coffee directly to roasters worldwide.
OrisDX // OrisDx Inc. develops and launches novel salivary diagnostics utilizing non-invasive molecular-based techniques to identify pre-cancer and cancer, ultimately saving lives. Its first product focuses on detecting oral cancer for at-risk populations.
Setu // Setu will be a mobile application platform for creators to mint, distribute, and market NFTs. Using Setu, creators can upload their art on mobile and distribute it as NFT assets on different marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, and others, in easy steps without having any crypto wallet or knowledge.
Softmed Technologies // Softmed Technologies LLP is a B2B health-tech startup operating in India’s radiology diagnostic testing market with a stable product and paying customers. It enables its target customers (diagnostic centers and small to medium-sized care facilities) to easily manage radiology workflows so that these can be accessed, viewed, and reported remotely by qualified radiologists.
Swyvel // Swyvel is a ballroom dance studio management platform that empowers owners to lead their community and grow their business. Swyvel also incorporates a learning management framework that makes students’ and instructors’ lives easier by improving teaching and skill acquisition.
Tapra.io // Tapra.io is a cloud-based SaaS solution that will integrate and streamline all the processes an accounting firm needs to file its clients’ tax returns. It is the first and only fully end-to-end integrated practice management and workflow management platform for small to medium sized accounting firms
TaskWatch.ai // TaskWatch.ai is a zero-code computer vision workflow platform company that allows cross-vertical enterprise customers to design, build, and deploy custom customer-vision applications and response workflows within weeks.
Tastelli // Tastelli, developed by JPlus Speciality Foods LLC, is a 10-calorie, zero-sugar drinkable jelly with abundant nutrition and health benefits. The drink is made of plant-based Konjac, a fiber-rich plant found in Asia. Aspiring to lead the trend for healthy snacking, Tastelli provides a pleasant snacking experience with healthy ingredients.
The Wine Co-Op // The Wine Co-Op is a smart wine subscription club that leverages the wine world’s most underutilized resources to deliver the best $15 bottle you’ve never heard of straight to your doorstep. The company curates a monthly personalized shipment of wines tailored to each subscriber’s values, interests, and tastes.
TrueToForm // TrueToForm is a body scanning and data management platform that generates highly accurate 3D avatars for apparel design and fitting. The app allows users to scan and share body data securely with designers from their own mobile devices, enabling the scalable production of made-to-measure clothing and sustainable 3D design.