Eight Alumni-Led Startups to Compete in 2022 ANVC Finals


The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the eight finalist teams that will vie for investment in the 2022 Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC), a global competition dedicated to supporting all University of Chicago alumni in developing early-stage ventures.

The finalists will present their business plans to a panel of 14 judges at a virtual May 12 event for a shot at a $100,000 investment pool.

“This year’s ANVC teams have impressed us with the tremendous progress that they have made over the last few months,” said Gorana Kolar, senior associate director at the Polsky Center, where she oversees alumni programs. “The ventures are solving real problems and creating real solutions across a wide variety of industries, such as helping home buyers find unlisted properties, developing a novel psoriasis treatment, manufacturing plant-based leather products, and much more.”

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.

Twenty-five startups were selected to participate in this year’s ANVC, a global contest divided into six regions: Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA), Asia-Pacific, Latin America, North America­­­–East Coast, North America–West Coast, and North America–Midwest.

Over three months, the ANVC teams had access to virtual resources from the Polsky Center as well as local programming, mentorship, and feedback opportunities organized by regional alumni co-chairs. Each of the regions held semi-finals events and those winners are advancing to the finals.

“If you are an investor who is interested in learning more about these ventures, please tune into our live-streamed event and reach out with any questions,” Kolar said. “If you are alum who is launching an early stage venture, let’s talk. We hope to see your venture in next year’s ANVC.”

The startups competing in the 2022 ANVC finals are:


Peasy // Peasy empowers individuals in Southeast Asia to succeed at livestream selling.
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.
Team Lead: Jim Huang, MBA ‘12


Essayist // Essayist is a low-cost online subscription service for college application essay coaching.
Team Lead: Rebecca Stein, AB ‘93


Digital Keeper // Digital Keeper offers cybersecurity-as-a-service for startups and small and medium Businesses (SMBs) in Latin America.
Team Lead: Luis Navarro, MPP ‘16


Terawatt // Terawatt is a B2B marketplace that brings small-group coaching to your employees, driving retention, recruitment and innovation.
Team Lead: Francie Jain, MBA ‘05


Solay // Solay is a telemedicine service that treats psoriasis and atopic dermatitis using a new, personalized home version of the Goeckerman therapy.
Team Lead: Shawn Thomas, MBA ‘15

Unlisted // Unlisted is a paradigm-shifting software platform that allows home buyers to express interest in off-market properties for current or future consideration by homeowners.
Team Lead: Katie Hill, MBA ‘13


JUJU Spirits // JUJU Spirits makes alcoholic beverages that celebrate Asian flavors and culture.
Team Lead: Steven Tang, BA ‘12

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