AMOpportunities Wins First Place in the 2017 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce the winners of the 21st annual Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), a top-ranked accelerator program in the nation.

Eleven companies competed in this year’s finals, the first time in NVC history there were more than ten finalists, due to the strength of this year’s competition. Finalist companies covered a range of industries and services, and included four all-women led teams.

Finalists shared in a $400,000 cash prize pool—which was increased from $350,000 during the judges’ deliberation thanks to increased support from OCA Ventures and The Caruso Family Foundation.

Winners of the 2017 NVC include:

AMOpportunities, a marketplace that enables international medical trainees to attend U.S. clinical rotations, won first place and $100,000, including $20,000 for their acceptance into the Pritzker Group Venture Fellows Program this summer, $25,000 from OCA Ventures, $25,000 from The Caruso Family Foundation, and $30,000 from the Polsky Center. AMOpportunities connects international students and trainees to over 300 educational programs hosted by U.S. institutions, hospitals, clinics, and physicians.

Switched Source, a company focused on increasing the reliability and efficiency of the last mile of electricity delivery, took home second place and $80,000, including the $10,000 Rattan L. Khosa, MBA '79, Maker Award, $30,000 from the Polsky Center, and $40,000 from the Vijay, ’77, and Sita Vashee Award for Innovation through Partnerships. Switched Source is commercializing a patented power electronics device which gives electric distribution companies a new level of control for managing power flows on the distribution grid.

Ezza, a company which specializes in manicures for the modern woman, won third place and $75,000, which includes $25,000 from OCA Ventures, $25,000 from The Caruso Family Foundation, $20,000 for their acceptance into the Pritzker Group Venture Fellows Program this summer, and $5,000 from the Polsky Center. Ezza provides consistent, high-quality manicures without the fuss – meaning seamless online booking, cashless tip-included pricing, and early morning hours.

ClostraBio, a company developing new drugs that will enable patirents living with food allergies to eat the allergenic food without fear of an allergic reaction, took fourth place and $40,000 from the Polsky Center. ClostraBio’s drugs boost the body’s natural intestinal barrier, stopping the reaction before it starts.

In fifth place, there was a tie between SmarterCloud, TAINA, and 4Women, all of which took home $20,000 from the Polsky Center. SmarterCloud uses machine learning to keep critical data secure. TAINA, which won the 2017 Global New Venture Challenge in March, has created a technology platform to help financial institutions comply with tax regulations. 4Women offers an at-home, self-collection device for HPV DNA testing.

Banyan, a B2B local food e-commerce platform, placed sixth and won $15,000, including $10,000 from the Vijay, ’77, and Sita Vashee Award for Innovation through Partnerships and $5,000 from the Polsky Center. Banyan’s platform makes it easier, cheaper, and more efficient for farmers, distributors, and chefs to transact locally.

Three very impressive finalists: Phyt, Part Analytics, and Lancealot each took home $10,000 from the Polsky Center. Phyt is focused on improving quality of life through movement – creating a Pilates reformer studio experience on your own time, in your own home. Part Analytics is a cloud-based SaaS platform that takes structured, unstructured, public, and private data to provide actionable insights for procurement and engineering professionals in electronics industry. Lancealot is a recruiting platform for hiring freelance video talent.