Startup Showcase: New Venture Challenge Roundtable

Startup Showcase

Scott Kitun with the first, second and third place winners of the New Venture Challenge.

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The New Venture Challenge finals are the culmination of a year-long business launch program where finalists present to a panel of judges comprised of top investors, entrepreneurs, and others. Each finalist team presents their full business plan in-person to the panel of NVC Judges. Only University of Chicago team members can present to the judges, while the non-University of Chicago team members can participate in the following Q & A session. The Judges Panel adjourns after the final presentation to deliberate and select the winning teams. Prizes – which include cash prizes and in-kind services, such as legal and professional consulting services, and office space – have helped past NVC winners like GrubHub, Tovala, Foxtrot, and Simple Mills grow into successful businesses.

First Place Winner: Jilian Fenton, My Art Cache

My Art Cache, a private online matching platform for art industry professionals, dealers, and buyers to enable fine art dealers to capture lost sales and liquidate “hidden” inventory won the Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize and $365,000, which included $150,000 from Mr. Khosa as well as $215,000 from 8 additional investors.

Second Place Winner: Erich Bao, Founder of GGLeagues

GGLeagues, an eSports league that promotes community among gamers through structured competitive recreational leagues and live in person gaming events finished in second place and took home $220,000, including $45,000 from the Polsky Center and $175,000 from 7 additional investors. The leagues allow gamers to play eSports in person with other gamers in their community, similar to city-wide recreational sports leagues.

Third Place Winner: Sonny Tai and Ben Ziomek, Co-Founders, Aegis AI

Aegis AI, an AI software that automatically identifies guns and public safety threats in security camera feeds to notify security and law enforcement took home third place and $155,000, including $45,000 from the Polsky Center and $110,000 from individual investors. The company’s system detects guns, intruders, and abandoned objects in real-time, turning any security camera system into a threat-detecting smart camera system without requiring additional hardware.


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