Chicago Booth announces winners of 2018 New Venture Challenge

Eleven finalists share in a $700,000 cash prize pool

Manifest team

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation are pleased to announce the winners of 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, greatly surpassing last year’s prize pool of $400,000. The scope of the cash winnings increased thanks to a recent gift from Chicago Booth alumnus Rattan L. Khosa, ’79, which added $150,000 to the first-place award, as well as another $240,000 from various prize sponsors and distinguished judges.

Finalists presented to 27 judges – including Dan Caruso,’90, founder and CEO of Zayo Group, Immanuel Thangaraj, ’93, 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 others.

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 providers and streamlining the process eliminating the $2.5 billion providers loser each year due to these inefficiencies.

Mindful Urgent Care, a company offering walk-in psychiatric clinics designed to provide same-day mental health and addiction treatment to both 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. The company plans to open its first clinic in New York this summer.

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. Coeus.ai creates more quality content, extending fan engagement opportunities, saving valuable time, and increasing their earning opportunities.

There was a tie between MUU and BrewBike, each taking home $45,000. Muu, a Brazilian ice cream that has fewer 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 its acceptance into the Pritzker Group Venture Fellows Program this summer, $12,500 from the Polsky Center, and $12,500 from the University of Chicago Innovation Fund.

Oxalo Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company based on University of Chicago research and committed to ending the epidemic of kidney stones, 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.