Autonomous Precision Machining Startup Takes First Place at 2023 ANVC
Four startups received investment at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s 2023 Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC).
The ANVC, which launched in 2019, is the alumni track of the New Venture Challenge, a top-ranked university accelerator that has been helping seed businesses for 25 years.
This year’s winners were chosen from a pool of eight finalists across four participating regions: Asia-Pacific, North America–East Coast, North America–West Coast, and North America–Midwest.
The 2023 ANVC winners are:
// First Place ($50,000): Lambda Function
Lambda Function (North America – West Coast) is on a mission to enable autonomous precision machining. Lambda Function’s vision is to unlock Level 5 machining autonomy, when CNC machines can make decisions without any need for human guidance or intervention. Their software enables increasing levels of autonomy by augmenting CNC programmers and machine operators with AI.
- Team Lead: Tanmay Aggarwal, MBA’ 15
// Second Place TIE ($25,000 each): Archer Career and Pyaari Weddings
Archer Career (North America – Midwest) Archer Career improves career confidence and outcomes, reducing early career underemployment. Archer’s platform delivers structure, momentum, and accountability, using behavioral science and step-by-step micro-learning paths to educate and empower individuals to launch a career.
- Team Lead: Pam Schilling, MBA ’00
Pyaari Weddings (North America – Midwest) Pyaari Weddings is the largest South Asian wedding directory in the US and Canada. With the directory, couples can shop for wedding vendors based on pricing, reviews, and more; add them to their ‘cart;’ and create their own customized, DIY, a-la-carte wedding plan. Pyaari Weddings is The Knot meets Amazon.
- Team Lead: Manali Kamaria, MBA ’20
// Third Place ($10,000): Laxis
Laxis (North America – Midwest) Laxis is the next generation of AI meeting assistants for revenue teams. You can use Laxis to set meeting agendas and research customers before the meeting, get real-time insights and coaching during meetings, and auto-generate customer requirements, action items, follow-up emails, etc. after your meetings. You can even chat with Laxis and get answers based on past customer conversations in real-time.
- Team Lead: Eric Xiao, MBA ’15
“We started this process back in January when we received 47 applications to this year’s ANVC,” said Gorana Kolar, senior associate director at the Polsky Center. With the help of the alumni co-chairs, 24 teams were selected for the program. These teams then participated in regional semifinal pitches at which time the judges selected eight teams to compete in the Finals.
“It has been a pleasure to get to work with all the teams and witness their tremendous progress over the last four months. They are each building real businesses that will have great impact in their respective industries,” Kolar added. “From the Finalists, I can truly say that all eight teams had excellent pitches. They worked very hard, took feedback from the co-chairs, mentors, and judges, and turned challenges into opportunities. It was a very competitive and talented cohort and I look forward to following their successes.”
The ANVC is the youngest of five tracks of the New Venture Challenge. Each of the five tracks serves a distinct university audience: The original Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge is for MBA students; the Global New Venture Challenge is for Executive MBA students; the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture is for nonprofits or ventures with a social mission; and the College New Venture Challenge is for UChicago undergraduates.
The overall program has supported 500-plus startups that are still active today. They have raised nearly $2 billion and achieved $8.9 billion in exits.