Top Tier Lessons, Tie for First Place at 2023 College New Venture Challenge Finals

Top Tier Lessons and have each been awarded $35,000 in investment after presenting their business plans to a judging panel composed of investors, entrepreneurs, alumni, and faculty. (Photo by Matt Marton)

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and The Grainger College of Engineering are pleased to announce the winners of the 11th Annual College New Venture Challenge (CNVC).

This year’s winner are Top Tier Lessons, an online platform that matches college student athletes with parents looking for sports lessons for their kids, and, a machine learning toolkit for small and midsize businesses.

“Every year, I am so impressed by the College team’s businesses and the challenging problems that they are addressing,” 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. “This year, there was impressive diversity in the ideas in the CNVC and many of the teams developed potentially trailblazing innovations. I am proud of the growth of each of the CNVC teams this year, and I look forward to seeing their continued success.”

(Photo by Matt Marton)

The seven finalist teams on Tuesday, February 28th, presented their business plans to a judging panel composed of investors, entrepreneurs, alumni, and faculty.

“The CNVC is a shining example of what venture competitions are all about. It’s pushing big ideas beyond the classroom; fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship across disciplines; and bridging the gap between academics and industry,” said Jed Taylor, Assistant Dean of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in The Grainger College of Engineering. “Congratulations to this year’s winners. We look forward to following all of the teams as they continue to pursue their entrepreneurial ventures.”

Each of the seven finalist teams received investment. They are:

First Place (tie) – $35,000 each

  • 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.
  • // is a machine learning toolkit for small and midsize businesses as they transition to the AI-driven economy. The toolkit, a plug-and-play solution that minimizes infrastructure investment, integrates with any development pipeline and deployment environment.

Second place (tie) – $20,000 each

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Third Place (tie) – $10,000 each

  • 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.
  • 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.

The CNVC is the undergraduate track of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ New Venture Challenge – one of the top-ranked accelerator programs in the nation – and is open to returning undergraduate students from UChicago as well as students in the entrepreneurship track of The Grainger College of Engineering’s City Scholars program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

The program consists of a credit-bearing course at Chicago Booth during the winter quarter that culminates in a venture launch competition.

Learn more about the CNVC here >>

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