It’s New Venture Challenge season.
The annual startup competition run by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year) just announced the 30 startups moving forward in the 2016 New Venture Challenge.
As a refresher, the New Venture Challenge is ranked the number one university accelerator, and 4th among all startup accelerators nationwide. Previous winners include Braintree, GrubHub, and Bump Technologies. Over the past 20 years, the startup has graduated 140 companies still in operation, and $3.7 billion in mergers and exits. Last year’s winner, Tovala (previously named Maestro), just raised $500,000 for its healthy food countertop device.
Not all 30 startups that moved forward will be competing in the finals in June. These startups are moving onto the “classroom phase”, where they will take the New Venture course, and have access to 125 coaches and mentors who help develop their business plans and pitches. After three months and a final presentation, 10 teams will be selected to move forward to the final competition.
“From fashion tech, to an easier way to learn a foreign language, to the potential next craze in boutique fitness?—?these companies are aiming to join the great company of past NVC winners this spring,” said the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at UChicago in a Medium post announcing the startups moving forward.
Here’s a look at 10 that caught our eye right away (descriptions according to Polsky). You can find the list of all 30 startups (plus the 16 Social New Venture finalists) competing here.
Anansi is creating wearable tech focused on safety. Their first product detects your body’s “fight or flight” response and automatically sends alert messages with GPS coordinates to emergency services, friends, or family (here’s more from a story we wrote in October).
BeatBox is a boutique boxing company, focused on women, that combines the effectiveness of the boxing workout with customer service seen at other boutique workout companies, such as SoulCycle.
Coronado Conservation aims to bring an “ultra high?efficiency” toilet to the market.
Flag Analytics uses predictive analytics products for public safety. Their first product is an early intervention system for police departments that better identifies when an officer is likely to have an adverse interaction with the public.
Freenters is an advertising company working in the campus marketing scene through a virtual printer driver software that allows users to earn cashable credits by opting in to receive ad pages in between their printed documents to reduce their printing expense (their founder was featured on our 25 Startup Founders Under 25 list).
Nip offers an end?to?end experience for both foodies and restaurant groups, focusing on three key areas: curating quality dishes, speeding up processes, and delivering a premium experience.
ParkZen is a mobile application that provides users with real-time information about free curbside parking availability displayed on a map. ParkZen’s sophisticated technology requires zero user-input to process when users are leaving curbside parking spots; all users have to do is simply download the app.
PoshPit is debuting the first all?in?one, on?the?go hair removal wipe.
Riviter is software that helps clothing retailers read shoppers’ minds by analyzing the photos shoppers pin, post, and share to extract details about their preferences. These details are synthesized into actionable analytics for retailers and personalized recommendations shoppers on the retailer’s e? commerce site (we wrote about them in February).
Sift offers individuals with food allergies a safe and convenient way to discover dining options while reducing the additional burden experienced by restaurants.
Check out the rest of the startups moving forward here.