CHICAGO BOOTH ANNOUNCES 2012 EDWARD L.
KAPLAN, ’71, NEW VENTURE CHALLENGE WINNERS
Mouse House Takes Top Prize at 16th Annual Business
Competition; Winners Receive $225,000 in Cash Prizes and Business Services
Chicago (May 25, 2012) – The University of Chicago Booth School of
Business and its Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship are pleased to announce the winners
of the 16th Annual Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New
Venture Challenge, the
school’s premier start-up competition.
spans the full academic year and helps students launch and run new businesses.
In the fall, more than 100 teams applied to the program, which culminated in the
day-long finals competition on May 24. The winning teams received prizes in the form of cash, legal services, professional
consulting, and office
space in the ARCH Venture Partners New Business Incubator, housed within the
Polsky Center. This year’s winners, chosen from a group
of 10 finalists, were awarded $75,000 in cash prizes and business services
valued at more than $150,000:
MouseHouse, which won the first
place prize of $30,000. The team is developing an iPad and web platform that
allows researchers in laboratories and institutions to collaborate on animal
experiments, breeding, and health management.
ArborVita Associates placed second and received
a $15,000 prize. AVA is a biotechnology company that has developed a simpler,
faster, and cheaper way to modify DNA using proprietary and patented enzyme
called DRAP (Drosophila Recombination-Associated Protein).
BloomNation placed third and received
$10,000. BloomNation allows florists across the country to upload and sell
their unique designs at their desired prices onto a single marketplace.
teams tied for fourth place and each received $4,000: Aquarius Biotechnologies, which uses a proprietary drug delivery
technology called cochleate technology, that allows for oral delivery of drugs;
GradMags, a cross media digital
publishing platform service for higher education and non-profit organizations; and
Site Diagnostics, a biotechnology company focused on
veterinary diagnostic applications using a gel-drop biochip technology licensed
from Argonne National Labs.
This year’s other finalists include Drink Different, an alcoholic cider beverage
for the Polish market; Output Medical, which seeks to provide a more accurate
way of measuring key body fluids using a novel technological approach involving
electric sensors; SH2, which
provides innovative solutions in media advertising for points of sale
marketing; and Zipfit, a virtual
personal shopper for jeans. These teams each received $2,000 in seed funding.
“We congratulate all of the teams that
participated in the 2012 New Venture Challenge – this was truly our best year
ever,” said Ellen Rudnick, executive director of the Polsky Center for
Entrepreneurship. “The quality of these start-ups is outstanding, and they
represent a wide range of industries. I look forward to seeing many NVC
companies grow into successful businesses.”
Since its launch in 1996, the NVC has
awarded more than $825,000 in cash prizes, plus more than $2M in business
services. Over the past 16 years, the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture
Challenge has helped launch more than 75 companies, which have gone on to raise
over $242 million in funding and have created more than 1,000 jobs. NVC
companies include Agile Diagnosis, Alltution, BenchPrep, Braintree, brightroom, Bump, Future Simple, GrubHub, InContext Solutions, and MedSpeed, among others.
The success of the NVC is made
possible through the generous support of corporate and individual sponsors. The
title sponsor is Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, founder and former chairman and CEO of
Zebra Technologies. He has sponsored the NVC since its inception and serves on
the Polsky Center’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. Other sponsors this year
include Abbott, Market Strategy Group, Robert and W. Keren Vishny, Immanuel
Thangaraj, ’93, Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, Sure Payroll, Katten Muchin
Rosenman, Microsoft, NKO Ventures LLC, Steven N. Kaplan, ARCH Venture Partners,
Farmhouse (a Leo Burnett company), Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.,
AlphaGraphics, and Uber. Marketing Partners include Built In Chicago,
Entrepreneurs Unpluggd, and Techweek.