8 Alumni-Led Startups to Compete in 2024 ANVC Finals


The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the eight finalist teams that will vie for investment in the 2024 Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC), a global competition dedicated to supporting all University of Chicago alumni in developing early-stage ventures.

The finalists will present their business plans to a panel of 14 judges at a virtual May 16 event for a shot at a $100,000 investment pool.

“The teams this year have been spectacular. The breadth of industries and problems they are solving is the most diverse that we have seen since the inception of this program in 2019,” said Gorana Kolar, senior associate director at the Polsky Center, where she oversees alumni programs. “From biotech, to biochar, and zero-wait coffee innovations, and everything in between, we are thrilled to see this group of eight finalists compete for a chance to win up to $100,000 in funding from the Polsky Center.”

The ANVC, which launched six years ago, 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.

Twenty startups were selected to participate in this year’s global contest. Over three months, the ANVC teams had access to virtual resources from the Polsky Center as well as local programming, mentorship, and feedback opportunities organized by regional alumni co-chairs.

“We are grateful to the incredible group of 25 co-chairs and 22 semifinal judges who supported all the teams over the last few months and got them to the finish line,” Kolar said. “The eight finalists are excited to pitch in front of our group of esteemed judges on May 16. The event will be livestreamed and we encourage our alumni from across the globe to tune in and support their fellow alums.”

The startups competing in the 2024 ANVC finals 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

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

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

p!ng. // p!ng 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

UpTrials // UpTrials is AI enabled software to help clinical research employers hire, upskill, and supercharge their workforce.
Team Lead: Renuka Agarwal, MBA ’18

ZenHedge, Inc. // ZenHedge is a FinTech company on a mission to deliver financial risk transfer solutions at scale.
Team Lead:
 Krishnan Kandasamy, MBA ’10

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