On May 30th I had the opportunity to represent SAP at the finals of the New Venture Challenge competition. The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago hosted the 22nd annual Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), a top-ranked accelerator program in the nation. Eleven finalists shared in a $700,000 cash prize pool — the highest cash prize pool ever given at the New Venture Challenge.
The eleven final presentations included themes directly aligned with many of the UN Global Goals for sustainable development.
Finalists presented to 27 distinguished judges – including Dan Caruso, founder and CEO of Zayo Group, Immanuel Thangaraj, managing director of Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, and Penny Pritzker, founder and chairman of PSP Capital and United States Secretary of Commerce under President Barack Obama, among other big names.
Winners of the 2018 NVC include:
- Manifest, a distributed ledger solution that will standardize 401(k) transfers, won first place and $315,000, including $150,000 from the Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize, $120,000 from individual distinguished judges, $25,000 from The Caruso Foundation, and $20,000 for their acceptance into the Pritzker Group Venture Fellows Program this summer. Manifest, which is a member of the Polsky Incubator, is creating a network between 401(k) providers and streamlining the process to help eliminate the estimated $2.5B that providers lose each year due to a variety of inefficiencies.
- Mindful Urgent Care, a company offering same-day, non-emergent mental health and substance abuse psychiatric services to insured and cash-paying clients, took home second place and $125,000, including $75,000 from individual distinguished judges, $25,000 from The Caruso Foundation, $12,500 from the Polsky Center, and $12,500 from the UChicago Innovation Fund. Mindful Urgent Care was the winner of the 2018 Global New Venture Challenge and will be opening their first location in New York in the next month.
- Coeus.ai, a company that empowers video game streamers and gamers by utilizing proprietary machine-learning algorithms to automatically create hundreds of highlights out of any video game stream and gameplay, won third place and $90,000, which includes $40,000 from OCA Ventures, $25,000 from The Caruso Foundation, $12,500 from the Polsky Center, and $12,500 from the UChicago Innovation Fund.
There was a tie between Muu and BrewBike, each taking home $45,000. Muu, a Brazilian ice cream that has less calories, more protein and less fat than traditional brands, took home $22,500 from the Polsky Center and $22,500 from the UChicago Innovation Fund. BrewBike, a company that provides coffee to college communities in convenient ways, took home $20,000 for their acceptance into the Pritzker Group Venture Fellows Program this summer, $12,500 from the Polsky Center, and $12,500 from the UChicago Innovation Fund.
Oxalo Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company based on University of Chicago research and committed to ending the epidemic of kidney, took home $25,000, including $12,500 from the Polsky Center and $12,500 from the UChicago Innovation Fund. nuBorn Medical, a company creating a smart baby bottle system to diagnose and treat feeding problems in preterm infants, took home $15,000 including $7,500 from the Polsky Center and $7,500 from the UChicago Innovation Fund.
Four finalists: Seurat Therapeutics, FORESEEaBill, Sweet Karma, and Haystack ABI each took home $10,000, including $5,000 from the Polsky Center and $5,000 from the UChicago Innovation Fund. Seurat Therapeutics is a biotech startup developing a new medication that can stop migraines before they start. FORSEEaBill is an innovative platform technology that provides life sciences organizations with decision support in identifying the appropriate payer for every test, procedure, and service performed during a clinical trial. Sweet Karma is a dessert company focusing on innovative dessert for health and fitness conscious people. Haystack ABI is a data-driven management platform for restaurants.
The New Venture Challenge finals is one of the marquee events of UChicago Innovation Fest. Now in its third year, UChicago Innovation Fest (May 1-June 3, 2018) celebrates pioneering discovery and entrepreneurial endeavors at the University of Chicago. Led by the Polsky Center, the month of events, workshops and accelerator programs highlights the breadth and impact of innovation at UChicago in the areas of entrepreneurship and research commercialization, scientific advancements, and social impact.