30 Teams Advance to Phase II of the 2024 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge

Today, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation announced the 30 Phase II teams advancing in the 2024 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.

Through the NVC, the Polsky Center has graduated more than 370 startup companies and created thousands of jobs for the economy. NVC startups have raised more than $1.2 billion in funding and achieved more than $8.5 billion in mergers and exits.

This year’s finals will be held in person at the Harper Center in May.

The Phase II teams are:

  • Ark Health // Ark Health is building the world’s most inclusive clinical research platform so therapies can work for all patients. Its platform “Noa” allows providers and sponsors to execute end-to-end trials and is powered by diverse clinical research navigators that guide patients through the complexity of clinical trial processes.
  • AthleteConnect // AthleteConnect is a one-stop-shop for college athletes looking to monetize their personal brand under new name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules. The platform enables a streamlined process for finding and executing sponsorship deals, selling custom merchandise, and offering personalized content such as shout-out videos and private coaching sessions.
  • Bound Boxes // Bound Boxes is a reusable packaging and tech-enabled circular logistics company. Its mission is to enhance e-commerce sustainability, elevate brand perception, and foster customer loyalty. Bound’s patented origami box design offers durability and reusability for sustainable ecommerce deliveries. The unique collapsible design makes customer returns seamless through USPS mailbox pickup.
  • Cloudtech // Cloudtech revolutionizes enterprise cloud infrastructure with cutting-edge, serverless solutions. Specializing in AWS modernization, its service dramatically reduces operational costs and deployment times, offering an agile, pay-per-use model. Backed by industry accolades and a rapidly growing client base, it’s setting new standards in cloud efficiency and scalability.
  • CraftChain’s // CraftChain’s mission is to bring aerospace and defense manufacturing software into the current era. By designing and building modern planning and scheduling tools, it will shorten the runway from design to production, improve production efficiency, and lower the rate of quality issues across the industry.
  • Decimal Code // Decimal Code helps healthcare providers capture underbilled revenue and eliminate waste through automated medical coding.
  • Digital Partner // Digital Partner enables attorneys to competitively price, pitch, and manage their legal services to new and existing clients using AI to offer accurate and adjustable alternative fee structures, generate a compelling pitch, and monitor key performance metrics of past cases and pitches.
  • Encore Marketplace Inc. // Encore Marketplace is a resale marketplace platform focused on solving problems that turn GenZ and Millennials away from legacy marketplaces such as eBay or Craigslist with short-form video auctions, a sophisticated recommendation algorithm, and community-oriented auction events to drive sales. Encore generates revenue through transaction fees, premium service markups, and advertising.
  • ezbot AI Company // ezbot makes user experience optimization easy. Its AI-powered tool helps digital companies get more value from their website and app traffic by automating the processes of experimentation and personalization. It is transforming a human-intensive industry into a simple but powerful tool to further drive growth in this market.
  • FreshX // FreshX is a digital pricing and booking software platform for temperature-controlled freight. Its software helps brokers and shippers save time booking temp-controlled loads, reduce errors, and improve truck capacity utilization through instant, dynamic pricing and process automation.
  • HelioVantage // HelioVantage is commercializing a technology to dramatically reduce the cost of high-performance solar cells. The company aims to bring the lightweight, high-efficiency solar cells used in satellites down to costs that enable advanced technologies such as longer lasting/self-charging UAVs and electric vehicles.
  • Herriot // Herriot’s cognitive-AI decision support platform makes every vet the smartest and most efficient vet. Herriot seamlessly integrates into a vet’s workflow and delivers unparalleled clinical and financial decision support at the point of care so vets can better partner with pet parents and optimize pet health outcomes.
  • Home Genius // Home Genius helps homeowners maximize the value of their number 1 asset, their home, by providing tools that make routine maintenance, home improvements, and capital expense planning easier and more accessible. We do this by combining software and a human touch to help homeowners understand, prioritize, and schedule their projects.
  • IbisGen // IbisGen is a multi-tenant SaaS solution that provides a model-agnostic way to improve team and individual productivity, by offering non-technical employees the power to create, use, and share AI workflows, which incorporate company-specific and external context, in a way that manages data security as well as avoids vendor lock-in.
  • Icarus Quantum // Icarus Quantum is pioneering the quantum hardware that will enable fully hack-proof telecommunications. Its patent-pending technology creates quantum light, the foundational component of the quantum networks that governments and companies are developing today for 100% secure communications. Icarus’ device creates quantum light 70x more efficiently than the leading competition.
  • Ido // Ido is the first AI-enabled full-service event planner. Ido takes a design-based approach to event planning by leveraging computer image generation to build a central vision board and uses the generated images to recommend and negotiate with local vendors based on your aesthetic, budget, and availability.
  • Memoir // Memoir is revolutionizing memorialization by collecting unique stories of loved ones. Its service streamlines the process with a simple phone call, led by its empathetic AI bot conducting interviews to extract the most meaningful stories about the deceased from friends and family, creating a rich mosaic of the departed’s life.
  • Micah // Micah is the best way for new parents to capture memories and keep them forever. Parents receive regular prompts via text to share photos and answer fun questions about their child. These responses get organized into a beautiful, physical book to keep, share, and pass down.
  • Monarch // Monarch address the increasing risk to satellites flying in low earth orbit. Small space debris flying at high speeds poses hazardous risk to any spacecraft, especially small, hard-to-track debris. It will leverage creative data acquisition and analysis, including quantum-enabled discrete optimization, to guarantee safe operation via reliable course correction.
  • Motion // Motion is the app for consumers to optimize their cash management processes. Users connect their financial accounts to Motion and set desired outcomes (e.g., minimum checking account balance threshold, expedite loan repayment, etc.). The Motion app then analyzes users’ income, expenses, and account balances, and recommends cash movements.
  • ORO Intelligence // ORO Intelligence is a healthcare technology company that leverages AI to automate and optimize workflows for healthcare providers. Its mission is to improve patient access to care and quality of interactions in healthcare settings while providing revenue recapture and generation opportunities for providers.
  • Owler AI // Owler AI’s mission is to help educators leverage AI to save time on tasks outside of the classroom, so they can focus on engaging with students effectively. Owler’s flagship product is a machine learning-enabled site that automatically compares student work to the teacher’s grading criteria and generates individualized and reliable feedback.
  • Qualia Technologies Inc. // Therapy is hard, but it shouldn’t be homework. This is how therapists prescribe most evidence-based therapy: worksheets to fill out, when you can barely make it through the day. Qualia Technologies’ patient-centric technology provides the spoonful of sugar to help patients and therapists derive scientifically-proven outcomes sooner and longer.
  • Relate+ // Using AI to find a partner/match however specific the person or relationship you seek. Current platforms are insufficient in terms of meeting user’s demand for relationships and the type of person they want. Relate+ changes the logic and product functions of people-matching through an AI-driven product.
  • Saletize // Saletize is an AI-driven sales copilot SaaS designed to help small business salesforce teams enhance their sales interactions. It transcribes voice/video calls into texts, provides real-time insights, actionable recommendations, and automates non-selling tasks, aiming to improve sales efficiency and effectiveness while empowering sales teams.
  • Signl Vaccines // Signl Vaccines’ goal is to save lives by making every vaccine safer and more effective. Its compounds mixed with any vaccine reduce adverse side effects, such as fever, soreness in shoulder, fatigue, while increasing the vaccine’s overall protection and durability.
  • Slosh Dynamics // Slosh Dynamics is creating better tasting non-alcoholic beer and wine.
  • Stratix // Stratix demystifies performance data for sales reps by providing AI enabled, personalized feedback and sales funnel analysis to help sales teams hit quota faster. Our product translates performance metrics and analytics into actionable insights that allows reps to make decisions based on data, instead of trial and error.
  • TourMe // TourMe is a micro-learning and tour guiding platform which fosters a deeper connection between travelers and global cultures. Through bite-sized, personalized, and gamified content powered by AI, travelers explore cultures at their own pace, store their experiences, and receive personalized recommendations. TourMe aims to be the go-to travel tool for any exploration.
  • Zenara Health (formerly EOS Health) // Zenara Health is a digital health and fitness marketplace connecting the approximately 65 million individuals in the U.S. with specialized health and fitness needs with independent wellness providers, such as physical therapists, personal trainers, dietitians, massage therapists, who are uniquely qualified due to their advanced education, industry-leading certifications, and specialized expertise.

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.

Companies launched through the NVC include household names such as Grubhub, Braintree/Venmo, and Simple Mills. The Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize, in addition to other specialized prizes and awards, are announced at the Polsky Innovation Showcase immediately following the finals.

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