11 Startups to Compete for Over $1M in 28th Annual Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge Finals

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is excited to announce the eleven teams advancing to the finals of the 28th annual 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.

On May 30, these teams will present their business plans to a panel of judges, who will decide how to award an investment pool of over $1 million. The winning team will receive at least $180,000 courtesy of the Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize.

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.

>> Register here to attend the 2024 NVC Finals on May 30

The NVC has graduated more than 370 startup companies still operating today, including nationally known brands such as Grubhub, Braintree/Venmo, Simple Mills, and Tovala. There are five tracks of the NVC serving distinct University of Chicago audiences, including alumni, undergraduates, and executive MBA students.

The eleven teams competing in the 2024 NVC finals were selected from 30 teams that participated in Phase II of the NVC, which consists of a credit-bearing spring quarter course.

The finalists are:

  • Ark Health // Ark Health recruits and retains patients for clinical trials by providing concierge navigation services that knock down patient barriers, from prescreening to enrollment. Using a predictive AI engine to efficiently deploy its navigation service, Ark Health is the scalable platform that improves clinical trial diversity.
  • Decimal Code // Decimal Code helps healthcare providers capture underbilled revenue and eliminate operational waste through automated medical coding. Medical coding is functionally the way that healthcare providers get paid. Providers submit numerical current procedural terminology (CPT) codes that equate to reimbursement dollars from insurance payors.
  • Encore Marketplace Inc. // Encore Marketplace Inc. is a resale marketplace platform focused on solving problems that turn Gen Z 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.
  • FreshX // FreshX is a supply chain software company that helps food companies and freight brokers easily book and manage cold-chain transportation and storage. The complexity of the cold supply chain has grown exponentially over the past several years and companies have an increasing need for fast, transparent, and flexible solutions for temperature-controlled freight. These dynamics create an opportunity that FreshX has seized.
  • Herriot // Herriot is building an AI decision support tool to help veterinarians deliver great care efficiently. Its conversational AI application distills years of a pet’s clinical history into an easy-to-read summary, suggests differential diagnoses based on current symptoms, and provides value-based care plans; bringing unparalleled efficiency and support to the point of care.
  • 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 is a web platform that leverages machine learning to compare student submissions to an educator’s grading criteria and provide targeted feedback that helps the teacher’s review, and students grow. Owler is a Chicago-based, Delaware LLC with 400+ beta users since a January 2024 launch.
  • Pharos Aerospace // Pharos Aerospace addresses the increasing risk to satellites in low earth orbit (LEO), where debris flying at high speeds poses a hazardous threat to any spacecraft. Pharos leverages creative data acquisition and analysis to help operators ensure the safety of their assets.
  • Slosh Dynamics // Slosh Dynamics is enabling winemakers to craft better tasting non-alcoholic wine.
  • Stratix // Stratix translates data into actions for sales reps to act on by analyzing performance data and providing personalized, AI-generated recommendations.
  • TourMe // TourMe harnesses the best in online learning and AI-powered techniques to provide each traveler with a strong personal connection to the cultures they explore.

The NVC Finals pitches and awards announcement will be live-streamed. Register to view the livestream of the 2024 NVC Finals here.


To learn more about the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, click here.

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