Winner of 15th Annual GNVC Has “Golden Opportunity” To Help Companies Tackle AI Regulatory Compliance Headaches
The University of Chicago’s 15th Annual Global New Venture Challenge (GNVC) has awarded first place to See-Thru-AI, a Chicago-based startup that helps companies using machine learning and artificial intelligence to navigate the complex regulatory compliance process.
See-Thru-AI was awarded $50,000 in investment in the 2022 GNVC, a global venture competition for Executive MBA students studying at Chicago Booth’s three campuses in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong.
Six finalist teams presented their business plans to a panel of judges Wednesday for a chance at part of a $125,000 investment pool. The finals event, at UChicago’s Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, was held in person for the first time since 2019.
In an unusual development, the five other finalist teams tied for second place. Each received $15,000 in investment.
“When you have such diverse business models across such an incredible global market, it’s really hard to pick a winner,” said Waverly Deutsch, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth and instructor of the GNVC for the past seven years. “They are all really good teams, they are all really pursuing this, and we wanted to invest in all of them.”
“We are all winners today,” said See-Thru-AI CEO Michael Diarra, a senior regulatory risk management executive at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and current Executive MBA student at Chicago Booth, home to the world’s oldest Executive MBA program.
“The Booth School of Business does an incredible job turning complex challenges from across the globe into great business opportunities,” Diarra said. “Our idea See-Thru-AI will have a huge impact because it will make AI more transparent and Responsible AI a reality.”
The six finalist teams were selected from 17 contenders that participated in the 2022 GNVC, a competitive program that takes place during the spring quarter. After an intensive week of class and over 100 one-on-one coaching sessions with mentors from across Asia, the U.K., and the U.S., the GNVC participants competed in semi-finals events at each campus for two spots per region in the GNVC finals. Finalists traveled to Chicago from as far as Hong Kong and Africa to present at Wednesday’s event.
Though the judges were split on how to award second place, they said See-Thru-AI was the clear winner because it has an experienced team solving a massive problem at an opportune time. As AI increasingly is used to automate decisions in consumer lending, job placement, and more, regulators are issuing new rules and ramping up enforcement to protect consumers from discriminatory algorithms and other challenges. See-Thru-AI estimates a $2.1 billion market opportunity in helping companies comply.
“They have a golden opportunity in that we know these regulations are coming and it’s going to be very painful,” said Melissa Harris, MBA ‘16, who owns a marketing firms and served as one of the GNVC judges. “So they have a huge problem to solve, and they have two regulators on their team who actually can deliver.”
The GNVC is one of five tracks of the New Venture Challenge, a top-ranked business school startup accelerator founded at Chicago Booth 26 years ago. The overall program has supported more than 370 still-active companies that have raised more than $1 billion in funding and achieved more than $8 billion in mergers and exits. Household names include Tovala, Foxtrot, Braintree, Simple Mills, and Grubhub.
The winners of the 2022 GNVC are:
First Place// $50,000
See-Thru-AI // See-Thru-AI is a SaaS platform that makes it easy for companies using machine learning and artificial intelligence to demonstrate to regulators that they have designed and deployed systems in compliance with relevant regulatory and policy requirements. (Chicago campus)
Second Place (Tie) // $15,000 each
Towbly // Towbly is an application that removes the complexity of pre-arranging a designated driver by providing a two-person mobile service that provides a sober driver and gets a vehicle home with a support car following to ensure safety, with the goal of reducing DUIs among military service members. (Chicago campus)
FaRong // FaRong provides non-recourse funding to potential commercial claimants to arbitration proceedings in Hong Kong. It pays for claimants’ legal and administrative costs in return for a share of the final award sum, with the goal of improving access to justice. (Hong Kong campus)
Ozon // Ozon is a climate tech enabler for all stakeholders, ranging from big corporations to individuals, to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. (Hong Kong campus)
Azentric Perks // Azentric Perks is the first African-focused technology-enabled employee perks and discount program. It aggregates negotiated discounts of numerous merchants to offer value/savings benefits on daily spend to employees of subscriber organizations in addition to wellness programs, recognition awards, continuous learning, and networking benefits. (London campus)
Nimi // Nimi advises, structures, and authenticates the transformation of physical artworks into digital media. It partners with museums to issue and market accredited digital replicas of their art collections in the form of non-fungible tokens, providing them with a new fundraising channel and an online community of socially- and culturally-minded investors. (London campus)
Media contact: Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia.Elejalde-Ruiz@chicagobooth.edu