7 Startups Vie for Investment at the 2023 College New Venture Challenge

The CNVC is open to returning undergraduate students from UChicago, as well as students in the entrepreneurship track of the City Scholars program at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC).

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and The University of Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering are pleased to announce the seven finalists selected to compete in the College New Venture Challenge (CNVC) finals.

On Tuesday, February 28, the finalists will present their business plans to a panel of judges and investors for a piece of an investment pool expected to top $100,000.

“The selection for this year’s CNVC teams was extremely competitive and the quality and diversity of these ventures was impressive,” said Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17, deputy dean for MBA programs at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and professor of the CNVC. “We look forward to supporting these teams as they grow their businesses within the course and beyond.”

The 2023 finalists are:

  • Demeter // Providing digital tools to farmers and lenders to simplify the loan application process and make use of alternative data like remote sensing, predicted yield, soil health etc, to make better credit risk assessment of farms for loans.
  • EchoLife // Outpatient medical clinics are struggling, and EchoLife is here to help. EchoLife is a medical imaging software solution that improves efficiency, accessibility, and precision of medical imaging for patients and physicians at outpatient medical clinics. EchoLife develops innovative software and AI for image acquisition and interpretation, beginning with echocardiogram imaging.
  • Hazy Bunny // Hazy Bunny is revolutionizing the RTD cocktail market with a fresh approach to a 2,000-year-old drink. Our pulque-based cocktails, blended with tropical fruits, offer our customers a unique taste experience while promoting gut health and reducing hangover effects.
  • Populus // Populus is a decentralized governance and human capital management platform for decentralized communities. Built on the Polygon blockchain network, Populus uses ERC-721 smart contracts to assign governance power, create a governance process, and organize production for members of a community in a decentralized and law-abiding way.
  • quail.ai (formerly known as: QPlatform) // Quail.ai is an MLOps platform that streamlines the ML lifecycle for SMBs. Quail.ai attempts to unify problem areas in data science such as vendor lock-in, on-cloud reliance, and irreproducibility. Using a code-first approach, users have the flexibility to work with any ML library, algorithm and programming language.
  • Sakura MedTech // Sakura MedTech provides accessible, minimally invasive testing and results. Our diagnostic medical device helps gynecologists who want to provide a more comfortable environment for patients by reducing the invasive feeling for patients and increasing accessibility and comfort during the service gynecologists provide.
  • Top Tier Lessons // Top Tier Lessons is an online platform that matches college student athletes with parents in the community looking for sports lessons for their kids.

Launched in 2012, the CNVC is one of five tracks of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ New Venture Challenge, a pioneering and top-ranked startup accelerator that has nurtured more than 370 still-active companies that have raised more than $1.2 billion in investment and achieved some $8.5 million in mergers and exits. Alumni of the college accelerator include success stories such as CubiiSokowatchMoneyThinkQuevos, and Fronen.

The CNVC is open to returning undergraduate students from UChicago, as well as students in the entrepreneurship track of the City Scholars program at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC).

“Every year the quality of the cohorts continues to exceed expectations, making the selection of the finalists a nearly impossible task,” said Jed Taylor, Assistant Dean of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Grainger College of Engineering. “We eagerly look forward to the finals event and wish all the teams best of luck.”

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