Twelve Startups to Vie for At Least $1M in Finals of Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the 12 teams selected to advance to the finals of the 26th annual Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), the University of Chicago’s signature startup accelerator for MBA students at the Booth School of Business.
The June 2 finals will be held in person at the Harper Center for the first time since 2019. Finalist teams will present their business plans to a panel of judges, who will determine how to award an investment pool expected to exceed $1 million. The winning team will receive at least $180,000 thanks to the Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize.
The NVC, a pioneering business school venture competition founded at Chicago Booth in 1996, last year became the richest such program in the nation when it awarded $1.73 million in investment to student-led startups.
>> Register here to view the livestream of the 2022 NVC Finals
The NVC has graduated more than 370 startup companies still in operation today, including nationally known brands such as Grubhub, Braintree/Venmo, Simple Mills, Tovala, and Foxtrot. There are now five tracks of the NVC serving distinct University of Chicago audiences, including alumni, undergraduates, and executive MBA students.
The 12 teams competing in the 2022 NVC finals were selected from 28 teams that participated in Phase II of the NVC, which consists of a credit-bearing spring quarter course. They are:
Alloy // Founded on the principles of transparency, accessibility, and user control, Alloy will be the one-stop-shop for sports betting where fans can conduct research, place bets, and track winnings. Its no-code command platform lets sports fans easily build their own sports betting strategies and backtest against past results in real time.
BlackCurrant Inc. // BlackCurrant is a hydrogen trading marketplace solving the problem of access to sustainable fuels. Focused on hydrogen commodities, BlackCurrant 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 its 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.
Canopy Aerospace // Canopy Aerospace is commercializing and developing advanced manufacturing processes for thermal protection systems, a specialty thermal composite traditionally used on NASA’s vehicles such as space shuttles and re-entry capsules to protect against extreme temperatures over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit during atmospheric re-entry and hypersonic flight.
Circular // Circular is a B2B marketplace for secondhand agricultural, construction, and mining equipment and services in LATAM. Circular partners with technicians to verify the quality and condition of items during the transaction, and with insurers, shippers, banks, and lawyers to provide a one-stop shop for businesses looking to procure used equipment.
Cricket Hill Inc. (ChirpSnax) // 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 grab-and-go fast-casual concept focused on delivering healthy, delicious, and wholesome plant-based meals to Flexitarians. 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.
Flights: A Wine Collective // Flights is a smart wine subscription club that leverages the wine world’s most underutilized resources to deliver the best $22 bottle you’ve never heard of straight to your doorstep. Flights curates a monthly personalized shipment of wines tailored to each subscriber’s values, interests, and tastes.
Medici // Medici is pioneering mobile-first working capital loans for corner stores in emerging markets, starting in LATAM. 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.
OrisDx Inc. // OrisDx 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.
Softmed Technologies LLP// Softmed Technologies is a B2B healthtech 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.
TrueToForm // TrueToForm is a body scanning and data management platform that generates highly accurate 3D avatars for apparel design and fitting. Its 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.