12th Annual College New Venture Challenge Announces Competing Undergraduate Teams

Top Tier Lessons presents at the 2023 CNVC.

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, in partnership with University of Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering, is pleased to announce the 14 teams selected for the 12th annual College New Venture Challenge (CNVC), an undergraduate student startup accelerator.

The growing businesses, which will compete for financial investment, boast a multitude of innovations including a blockchain security tool, a gut-strengthening beverage, a portable 3D printer, and much more.

Starr Marcello

“This year was a standout year in terms of the quality of the applicants for the CNVC. We received many strong applications from students working on impressive innovations”, 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 the teams and watching these students grow as entrepreneurs during the program and beyond.”

Launched in 2012, the CNVC is one of five tracks of the University of Chicago’s New Venture Challenge, a top-ranked startup accelerator that has nurtured more than 500 still-active companies, including Grubhub, Simple Mills, and Braintree.

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). Participants develop their business plans during a credit-bearing course at Chicago Booth in the winter quarter, and at the end finalist teams present to a panel of judges for a shot at investment.

The finals are set for March 1st, 2024.

The CNVC’s investment pool has grown markedly over the life of the program, whose alumni companies include Natuur, Haylon Technologies, Cubii, Sokowatch, and Fronen. During the 2023 competition, winning CNVC startups received a total of $150,000 in investment.

The following teams have been selected to participate in the 2024 CNVC:

bellie // bellie is a gut-strengthening beverage that helps soothe acute intestinal pain and rebuilds the microbiome over time. Backed by science, we are on a mission to support people on their journey to better health.

BonBini Technologies // BonBini Technologies is developing a novel medical device that assesses kidney biopsy adequacy at the bedside to improve diagnostic efficiency and decrease repeat procedures for patients. The device is based on machine learning software trained on a proprietary database of gross biopsy images and will be sold B2B.

BYLD Innovations* // BYLD Innovations is BYLDing a cutting-edge portable and foldable 3D printer for increasing accessibility to 3D printing and innovation.

CampusConnect // CampusConnect is a university-specific platform where the gig economy is powered by student communities. Be it peer-to-peer mentorship, class-specific tutoring, or personal training, students can leverage their skills in a highly flexible job market. Every task, campus resource and marketplace connects to a student community. Communities are related to skills, academic and professional interests, student organizations, and hobbies.

Connex // Connex: because exercise is healthy and connection is healthier. We are a social platform that serves as a marketplace for booking workout classes. Our goal is to simplify the booking process for both consumers and businesses. We offer group booking, a feed page to keep friends up-to-date, and personalized recommendations.

Craft-A-Lotta* // Craft-A-Lotta is a secondary market, go-to ecosystem for previously-owned craft supplies that allows crafters to buy and sell craft supply lots from one another at a reduced price point.

Domain Diligence // Domain Diligence is an online platform that helps investment banks speed up and simplify the due diligence processes for M&A transactions, letting them focus on delivering the most value for the client.

KalyaanKosh* // KalyaanKosh is a pioneering Indian jewelry startup bridging the gap between traditional jewelers and online customers. We empower small to medium-sized jewelers, showcase their craftsmanship, and connect them with online buyers, all while fostering collaboration with freelance designers, creating a vibrant future for the industry.

Lynkr Inc. // Lynkr is a college-specific social app designed for event planning and engagement within university ecosystems like UChicago. Uniquely streamlining event organization by allowing students to invite specific groups in one click, manage block and allow lists, and track attendance, students engage with their school in new ways with live chats and friendtracking.

MethaFarm* // MethaFarm aims to localize and improve the sustainability of small-scale farm waste management systems. Utilizing small anaerobic digesters, the waste is processed into fertilizer and biogas, of which can be converted into electricity. The carbon byproduct is then captured and sold.

myCollector // myCollector is an AI-powered collectibles marketplace. We make it easy to invest in the highest returning collectables starting with luxury watches. myCollector democratizes an asset class previously only accessible to the top 1%. We use AI to identify top-performing assets, of which you can acquire, register, and then sell fractional shares on our marketplace.

Resolv* // Resolv is building a blockchain security tool that allows crypto businesses to recover stolen assets. When all other mechanisms of prevention have failed, Resolv is the last line of defense to return what’s rightfully yours.

Sauna // Sauna harnesses blockchain to tokenize Steam game assets into crypto-tokens on the Sui network, enabling secure trading and creation of derivatives, while ensuring asset value, provenance, and authenticity.

TrackPatch // TrackPatch is a bioadhesive tracker which can easily be attached to a child’s skin to locate their whereabouts and receive critical alerts during an emergency. This product features a silicone-based bioadhesive which ensures maximum reliability and biocompatibility. With TrackPatch, your child’s safety is just a tap away.

To learn more about the CNVC, visit the program page or contact Kate Turvy, kate.turvy@chicagobooth.edu.

* This is an intercollegiate team with members from both UChicago and UIUC.

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