20 Startups Accepted into Phase II of the 2024 Alumni New Venture Challenge

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the 20 startups accepted into the 2024 Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC), a global competition dedicated to supporting all University of Chicago alumni in developing early-stage ventures.

“The 20 teams accepted into Phase II of the ANVC cover a wide range of industries and domains – from leveraging plant stem cells for producing chemicals in an eco-friendly way to a digital app that gives families peace of mind by making holistic long-term planning easier, and so much in between,” said Gorana Kolar, senior associate director at the Polsky Center. “We are thrilled to announce this year’s cohort and cannot wait to see what each can achieve throughout the program.”

Participants applied through two tracks: US or International.

Selected teams will have access to virtual resources from the Polsky Center as well as, mentorship and pitching opportunities, which are organized by regional alumni co-chairs.

Each region will hold semi-finals events in the spring and send their top startups to the ANVC global finals, set for May 16. Finalists will present their business plans to a panel of judges and compete for part of a $100,000 investment pool.

The ANVC, which launched in 2019, is one of five tracks of the New Venture Challenge, a top-ranked university accelerator founded at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1996. To be eligible for the ANVC, startups must have a degreed University of Chicago alum as their team lead.

The startups selected to participate in the 2024 ANVC are:

  • AgroNetZERO // AgroNetZERO takes a strategic project-based approach to developing a portfolio of owned and operated biochar facilities. Specializing in biochar project development, AgroNetZERO connects producers with soil-hungry farms. Team Lead: Oleg Ryzhkov, MBA ’12
  • AlumSum // AlumSum is a fintech startup that has built a student loan management platform that aggregates a borrower’s entire portfolio and presents the information in a more digestible manner. Team Lead: James Kim, MBA ’16
  • Aster Period Products // Aster addresses period poverty for end users in middle-income countries by providing menstrual products at no cost to consumers. Team Lead: Annie Kuster, MBA ’20
  • Blue Raven Labs // Blue Raven Labs is developing CallSmart AI, a groundbreaking tool that streamlines political donor engagement and management. Team Lead: Isaac Troncoso, MBA ’19
  • Brightriver.ai // Brightriver.ai is developing a LLM and GraphAI-based private equity fund manager diligence and performance monitoring solution with AI/ML-Operations-as-a-Service for private equity allocators such as sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and large asset management companies. Team Lead: Wesley Barnes, MBA ’06
  • Datomate // Datomate helps automate selling insurance to businesses by providing curated data to eliminate manual data collection. Using artificial intelligence and a unique aggregated dataset, Datomate increases leads, creates marketing insights, and improves risk determination in real time. Team Lead: Amit Khanna, MBA ’01
  • Familial // Familial is a digital app that gives families peace of mind by making holistic long-term planning easier and more collaborative. Team Lead: Eleanor Jacobs, MBA ’22
  • Local // Local serves as a virtual scheduling coordinator for mobile service providers, adeptly orchestrating their day by aligning appointments with travel and service preferences. Team Lead: Dwight Frederick, MBA ’19
  • MedoPlus Services Private Limited // MedoPlus is a rural healthcare technology company using a “phygital” model with a network of trained village-based health agents connecting rural patients with qualified healthcare providers onboarded on the app. Team Lead: Ramesh Thyagarajan, MBA ’07
  • MeristemBio Limited // MeristemBio is developing a platform technology that leverages plant stem cells to produce important chemicals in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. Team Lead: Stephen Lee, MBA ’19
  • Panacea // Panacea’s SaaS platform automates the workflows of care managers to address gaps in geriatric patient care and improve chronic disease outcomes. It assists care managers in overseeing every aspect of patient care, from care coordination to medication adherence. Team Lead: Ariadne Souroutzidis, MBA ’20
  • RampHR // RampHR is an employee onboarding and engagement platform. Team Lead: Sarah Press, MBA ’15
  • Secludy // Secludy is building the next generation of data compliance and privacy tools for enterprise. Team Lead: Zachary Jenkins, MBA ’16
  • sZipps Inc. // sZipps is the first zero-wait coffee drive thru, powered by true end-to-end fulfillment automation and machine learning. Team Lead: Jane Lo, MBA ’09
  • Tanda Biotech // Tanda Biotech provides scalable, cost-efficient, and eco-friendly manufacturing tools essential for large scale bioproductions. Team Lead: Yingqing Huang, MBA ’09
  • Theo AI // Theo AI is on a mission to create an AI “judge” that will function to replace a human panel for legal arbitration. Team Lead: Patrick Ip, BA ’13
  • UpTrials // UpTrials is AI enabled software to help clinical research employers hire, upskill, and supercharge their workforce. Team Lead: Renuka Agarwal, MBA ’18
  • What’s The Move? By Movement Labs Co // What’s the Move? is an ecosystem weaving together individuals, businesses, and communities. Imagine Yelp hyper-focused on community and local gems, Eventbrite infused with collaborative spirit, and data tools simplified. What’s the Move? empowers local businesses, Black-owned brands, and community-based organizations with data, analytics, and marketing tools to thrive. Team Lead: Grace Elizabeth Oxley, MPP ’22
  • ZenHedge, Inc. // ZenHedge is a FinTech company on a mission to deliver financial risk transfer solutions at scale. Team Lead: Krishnan Kandasamy, MBA ’10

*One team not listed for confidentiality reasons

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