7 Startups Vie for Investment at the 2024 College New Venture Challenge

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and The University of Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering is pleased to announce the seven finalists selected to compete in the College New Venture Challenge (CNVC) finals.

On Friday, March 1, the finalists will present their business plans to a panel of judges and investors for a piece of an investment pool expected to top $200,000.

This year, The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will also award the Grainger Engineering CNVC Prize. This prestigious prize supports CNVC teams comprising students from both the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. These collaborative teams are eligible to compete for an additional prize pool of $75,000 offered by Grainger Engineering. Participation in the final round of the CNVC competition is not a requirement for competing for the Grainger Engineering CNVC Prize.

“The selection of this year’s finalists was extremely difficult,” 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. “These teams are incredibly impressive, and we look forward to supporting them as they grow their businesses throughout the course and beyond.”

The 2024 finalists are:

  • bellie // bellie is a gut-strengthening beverage that helps soothe acute intestinal pain and rebuilds the microbiome over time. Backed by science, it is on a mission to support people on their journey to better health.
  • BYLD Innovations // BYLD Innovations is BYLDing a cutting-edge portable and foldable 3D printer for increasing accessibility to 3D printing and innovation.
  • 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.
  • 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 can 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Its product features a silicone-based bioadhesive which ensures maximum reliability and biocompatibility. With TrackPatch, your child’s safety is just a tap away.

Launched in 2012, the CNVC is one of five tracks of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ New Venture Challenge, a pioneering and top-ranked startup accelerator that has nurtured more than 370 still-active companies that have raised more than $1.2 billion in investment and achieved some $8.5 million in mergers and exits.

Alumni of the college accelerator include success stories such as Cubii, Wasoko, MoneyThink, Quevos, and Fronen.

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.

“Each year, the excellence of our groups, especially with the increasing diversity of mixed teams, surpasses our expectations,” stated Jed Taylor, assistant dean of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Grainger College of Engineering. “This year, we’re especially excited to introduce the new Grainger Engineering CNVC Prize, celebrating outstanding innovation and teamwork. We eagerly anticipate the finals and wish all the teams best of luck.”

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