Last night at Harvard Business School, 12 student and alumni finalist teams made their pitches for $315,000 in cash prizes, plus in-kind prizes, at the Finale of the 21st annual HBS New Venture Competition (NVC).
The top prize in the student business, student social enterprise, and alumni tracks was $75,000 each, and the finalists advanced through several rounds of judging. More than 300 judges, many of them HBS graduates, from such fields as venture capital, private equity, law, accounting, philanthropy, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship vigorously reviewed the new ventures.
Hosted each year by the school’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and its Social Enterprise Initiative, in partnership with HBS Alumni Clubs & Associations, the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition is open to all students and alumni interested in launching new business and social impact ventures.
This year, 360 teams entered the competition–127 in the Student Business Track, 69 in the Student Social Enterprise Track, and 164 Alumni track teams in 11 global regional competitions.
“The New Venture Competition is critical to entrepreneurship at HBS. Competition winners say it was the launching point of their businesses. The NVC Finale is the capstone event for HBS entrepreneurs,” said Jodi Gernon, Director of the Arthur Rock Center.
This year’s winners are:
Student Business Track
The Dubilier $75,000 Grand Prize: HOUR 72+
Insect-repelling tech that lasts three days (not hours) and will protect billions from insect-borne disease.
Team: Andrew Rothaus (MBA 2018), Abraar Karan
Student Social Enterprise Track
Peter M. Sacerdote $75,000 Grand Prize: Umbulizer
Umbulizer is developing a low-cost, portable ventilator for patients in resource-constrained markets.
Team: Hamza Khan (MBA 2019), Shaheer Piracha, Sanchay Gupta (Harvard Medical School 2021)
$75,000 Grand Prize: DynamiCare Health
Digital platform for monitoring and rewarding recovery from addiction.
Alumnus: Eric Gastfriend (MBA 2015), CEO, Region: New England
“It is the culmination of a year-long journey that began last October for graduate students across the entire University and our global alumni,” added Matt Segneri, Director of the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative. “The NVC’s Social Enterprise Track has catalyzed the creation of cutting-edge social enterprises.”
Director of Alumni Clubs & Associations Mary-Helen Black noted, “Alumni find participating in the NVC pivotal, invaluable, and enlightening. It raises their profiles. In addition to the grand prizes from HBS, some of these startups receive funding from the chapters and from other investors after pitching in the regional local alumni competitions.”
In addition to the $315,000 in cash prizes, sponsors have donated in kind tools and services that will help the startups launch and grow. In-kind sponsors are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Baker Library/Bloomberg Center, The Bridgespan Group, Echoing Green, Foley Hoag LLP, Harvard i-labs, HubSpot, MassChallenge, Shoobx, and Sweeney Law Group LLC.
“Since its inception in 1997, 5,294 people have participated, and $2,340,000 in cash prizes has helped launch these student and alumni new ventures,” said Rock Center director Gernon. “We are grateful for the support of faculty, judges, regional alumni club leads, and sponsors who make the New Venture Competition a meaningful journey for HBS founders.”