Global New Venture Challenge Welcomes Acclaimed Business Leader, Chicago Booth Professor Alyssa Rapp as Faculty Leader
Alyssa Rapp has been named the faculty leader of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s Global New Venture Challenge (GNVC), a dedicated track of the New Venture Challenge program that supports Chicago Booth School of Business Executive MBA students worldwide.
Rapp joins the program after working as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business for the past three years.
In her role, Rapp will lead the intensive classroom component of the GNVC, an accelerated one-week session which sees startups create and refine business plans, meet with professional and legal mentors, and pitch to judges and investors. Beyond teaching and guiding these startups through the process, Rapp is also responsible for working with the team at the Polsky Center and identifying the coaches, judges, panelists, investors, sponsors, and guest speakers for the program.
“There are many ways to be an entrepreneur, but what I’ve learned is that no matter which route you take, learning how to de-risk your journey often leads to the most success, and this is why the GNVC – and each of the New Venture Challenge tracks – are so valuable,” said Rapp. “It allows each of these startups to think through their business plans, get feedback and insights from experts who have been through it all before, and evolve their business to be more competitive. It simulates all of the things you go through as an entrepreneur, all in a low-risk, high-impact environment.”
Rapp joins the GNVC as a seasoned business leader who is currently CEO of Healthwell Acquisition Corporation, a special-purpose acquisition company. Previously, Rapp held the role of CEO at Surgical Solutions, which provides support to hospitals, health systems, and ambulatory surgery centers; managing partner of AJR Ventures, a strategic advisory firm for Fortune 500 companies; and founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, an interactive media company in the U.S. alcohol beverage industry.
Rapp has also been recognized by numerous organizations throughout her career. In 2018 and 2019, Crain’s Chicago Business included Rapp on their list of “Notable Women in Health Care” and during her career with Bottlenotes, Rapp was named one of Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30 Coolest Entrepreneurs in America” and routinely named one of the wine industry’s top 25 of the “100 Most Influential People” by Intowine.com.
“We are delighted and excited to have Alyssa as the new faculty lead of the GNVC. Alyssa has experience in the most important aspects of entrepreneurship – founder, CEO, early-stage investor, limited partner in venture capital funds, and private equity operating executive,” said Steven Kaplan, Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and Kessenich E.P. Faculty Director at the Polsky Center. “She exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit. I can’t think of a better person for this role.”
Rapp’s experience expands beyond the corporate world. In April 2020, she was named an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth to create and teach a course on Women as Investors, Directors, CEOs, and Executives. From 2014 to 2022, Rapp also served as a lecturer-in-management at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
“Alyssa is not only an expert in the business world, but she is also an experienced educator, which allows her to understand how to set students up for success and how to create high-impact startups in the real world,” said Starr Marcello, Deputy Dean, MBA Programs, Chicago Booth. “We are so happy to have her as part of the GNVC and believe that her expertise will bestow our Booth startups with the tools and guidance needed for success.”
This is the 17th year of the GNVC, which brings more than 80 alumni and members of the business community to serve as coaches, judges, panelists, and guest speakers for the startups accepted into the program.
Yarra – a fem-health company working to commercialize a new type of menstrual cup that significantly improves women’s comfort – took first place in last year’s GNVC and was awarded $75,000 in investment and knows well the benefits of participating in a program like the GNVC and what a difference a particular judge, coach, or faculty director can make.
“Going through the GNVC has been a fantastic and enriching experience,” said Louis Galtié, CEO and cofounder of Yarra. “The coaches, mentors, faculty, and the whole Booth community have helped us tremendously and set us up for a bright future. This prize empowers us to continue our journey,”
// The deadline to apply for the GNVC is January 5, 2024.