CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#ChicagoNVC–The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Global New Venture Challenge, a startup competition for students enrolled in Chicago Booth’s Executive MBA program.

The eight finalist teams competed for a portion of a $150,000 investment pool. It was the largest award in the 14-year history of the contest and double last year’s prize pool.

The teams hail from Booth’s three campuses — Chicago, London and Hong Kong – each of which held a semifinals event. The regional winners presented their business plans to a panel of judges and investors in Thursday’s global finals.

“This year’s GNVC was the most competitive we have had in the six years that I have been teaching the program,” said Waverly Deutsch, clinical professor of entrepreneurship at Booth and director of the University of Chicago Global Entrepreneurs Network at the Polsky Center.

“The breadth of business concepts and the strength of each team was so impressive that for the first time in GNVC history our judges decided to award all of the finalists some prize money,” she said. “I can’t commend these teams enough for the incredible progress they made on their companies during these trying pandemic times.”

The 2021 GNVC winners are:

  • First place ($70,000): HeartScreen // HeartScreen is a subscription-based telemedicine platform that transforms a smartphone into a digital stethoscope that acquires heart sounds in real-time. (Chicago campus).
  • Second place ($30,000): ReconBio // ReconBio is a drug-device combination platform that enables on-demand drug delivery and retrieval, creating value by improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. (London campus).
  • Third place ($20,000): Match Point // Match Point is a comprehensive SaaS solution to help food and beverage retailers maximize operating margins through the use of dynamic menu pricing and the elimination of menu costs. (Hong Kong campus).
  • Fourth place ($10,000): Driving Forward // Driving Forward is a nonprofit that helps under-resourced undergraduates prepare for a rewarding career by offering internships focused on professional development and mentorship. (Chicago campus).

An investment of $5,000 went to the other four finalists:

  • Dar offers a modular housing product that offers affordability, sustainability, and short lead time. The product aims to address the housing crisis faced by the middle class in Saudi Arabia.
  • Pillars is a technology-driven investment platform to manage wealth and investments for Muslims, enabling them to save for their future in accordance with their beliefs.
  • Seraphim Gaming is a technology-enabled provider of secure playing cards, card shoe devices, and casino table game analytics in Asia.
  • Tendenza is a women’s apparel retail chain that sells curated, top-quality secondhand imported clothing.

The GNVC is one of five tracks of the New Venture Challenge, which this year marks its 25th anniversary. It is a condensed version of the traditional track of the program, the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, which is for Booth MBAs and other UChicago grad students and spans the academic year.

Nineteen teams were accepted into this year’s GNVC, which includes an intensive week of class and one-on-one coaching sessions with mentors from across the globe.

Learn more about the GNVC here.

About the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation applies world-class business expertise from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to bring new ideas and breakthrough innovations to market. With a 60-person professional staff, the Polsky Center drives the creation of new ventures and commercial partnerships at the University of Chicago and beyond. As a global leader in entrepreneurship education, the Polsky Center is home of the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, one of the top accelerator programs in the nation. The Polsky Center provides training for aspiring entrepreneurs and those seeking a career in private equity, venture capital, and entrepreneurship through acquisition. Learn more at and follow updates on Twitter @polskycenter.


Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz,


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