Ten Startups Will Compete for Over $1M in Finals of 27th Annual Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge

OrisDX wins 2022 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge. (Photo by Matt Marton.)

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the 10 teams selected to advance to the finals of the 27th 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.

On June 1, finalist teams will present their business plans to a panel of judges, who will determine how to award an investment pool well over $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, became the richest such program in the nation in 2021 when it awarded $1.73 million in investment to student-led startups.

>> Register here to attend the 2023 NVC Finals on June 1

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 ten teams competing in the 2023 NVC finals were selected from 25 teams that participated in Phase II of the NVC, which consists of a credit-bearing spring quarter course. They are:

Alnair Therapeutics // Alnair Therapeutics is a preclinical stage, platform precision oncology company that focuses on new methods to treat difficult-to-treat cancers. Alnair Therapeutics developed a first-in-class drug delivery technology that leverages the unique features of cancer metabolism to enhance targeting of drugs directly to cancer cells, and significantly improve drug penetration inside these cancers.

EverLeather (formerly Olga Haeberli) // EverLeather aims to become the world’s leading restorer of luxury leather pieces by leveraging four generations of leather artisanship. EverLeather seeks to expand from Mexico into the U.S. via a digital-first strategy and to rethink the way in which leather is consumed. Currently, EverLeather’s restoration services involve the cleaning, maintenance, change of color, and remodeling of luxury leather items such as handbags, shoes, accessories, and jackets.

FlashForward // FlashForward’s mission is to digitally transform the global supply chain. Their AI-enabled digital platform will streamline the process of exporting material goods by eliminating paper and unifying disparate systems. In doing so, they will put an end to excessive fees and lost goods, save time, and create a sustainable supply chain.

inclusive+ // inclusive+ improves health outcomes for LGBTQ+ patients through personalized clinician training and increased patient access to care. Their diagnostic tool creates a customized CME curriculum to train providers to serve the LGBTQ+ community. Once trained, providers can be featured in a directory focusing on services specific to the LGBTQ+ population.

Kadia Health // A digital mental health app that provides specialized group therapy and community support to the family members of people with substance use disorder (SUD). SUD is a disease that affects entire family systems, but today it is treated primarily on an individual basis. Family members of people with SUD face intense situational strain that leads to significantly higher rates of mental and physical health conditions. Kadia is leveraging highly specialized and heavily researched techniques designed specifically to treat family members of SUD patients.

MARview // Marview is a SaaS company that aims to create the world’s highest-quality source of ocean data, taking the guesswork out of maritime decision making. Designed for ship crews and fleet operators, they offer new ways to see and respond to dynamic, uncertain conditions on the ocean surface. By combining weather, ocean current, and previously-unused radar data, MARview saves ships fuel, de-risks operations, and enhances awareness of the ocean’s surface.

reOrbital // reOrbital enhances materials for Earth, from space. Their product, ZBLAN is a type of glass that offers a 10X improvement in attenuation performance. However, in order to reach these performance characteristics, it must be manufactured in microgravity. By coupling the falling roundtrip costs of reaching space with a revolutionary manufacturing technique, reOrbital will become the world’s first supplier of the next generation of fiber optics.

WattShift // WattShift’s software connects energy devices to electric grid incentive schemes to shift energy demand away from peak times. In the process, device manufacturers, homeowners, and WattShift earn hundreds of dollars per device per year for decreasing peak load instead of paying for fossil fuels to produce more power.

Zaars // Zaars is a marketplace for new and secondhand South Asian clothing that improves access to hard-to-find clothes, provides an e-commerce platform for sellers, and reduces environmental impact by increasing resale. By providing a one-stop shop with detailed filters, community-specific features, quality listings, and educational resources, Zaars makes every purchase perfect.

Zelia App // Zelia uses ML and AI to help users build outfits while providing brands insights on consumer preferences. They have built a product that gives the average person 24/7 access to a personal stylist that fits in their pocket.

To learn more about the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, click here or contact Kate Turvy

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