For the last 25 years, the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition (NVC) has provided a forum for founders trying to tackle some of the world’s most challenging business problems. Student and alumni founders refine their ideas through giving pitches, receiving feedback from established and experienced investors and entrepreneurs, and ultimately competing for cash prizes and support services. Winners for this year’s landmark competition were announced during the Thursday, March 31, Finale event show, exhibiting the same promise and hope for the future as those who came before them.

The 20 student and alumni finalist teams pitched for a share of the $315,000 in cash as well as in-kind prizes. The top four teams in each of the three tracks—Student Business, Student Social Enterprise, and Alumni—made it through a multi-round judging process and vied for the runner-up and grand prize. Viewers also had the opportunity to select a crowd favorite in each of the three tracks, with a prize value of $5,000. In a separate process that recognizes the unique challenges of companies commercializing breakthrough technology, these early-stage but long development-time companies competed for the $10,000 Tough Technology Prize (pdf).

“Entrepreneurship is an integral component of the HBS experience, as it gives students and alumni a chance to create a product or service that can effect real change,” said HBS Dean Srikant Datar. “I’m proud that the legacy of the NVC is not only felt by the people who have competed in it for all these years, but also seen in the impact of their ventures on the business world and in society as a whole.”

The NVC is open to all students and alumni who are launching new business and social impact ventures. The School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and its Social Enterprise Initiative, in partnership with HBS Alumni Clubs & Associations, organizes the annual competition. This year, 295 teams entered the virtual competition—117 in the Student Business Track, 48 in the Student Social Enterprise Track, and 130 in the Alumni Track. Since its inception in 1997, there have been more than 6,700 participants, and over $3 million has been awarded to the winning teams.

“The NVC is the capstone event of the entrepreneurial journey at HBS. For the past 25 years, the NVC has enabled us to support our student and alumni entrepreneurs as part of the arduous journey of building a successful venture,” said Jodi Gernon (MBA 1991), director of the Arthur Rock Center. “The winners and the participants have gone on to raise over $21 billion and have created over 15,000 jobs in such diverse industries as healthcare and biotech, technology, fashion and consumer products, and tough tech. The NVC truly captures the spirit of entrepreneurship at HBS.”

“In a world crying out for solutions to environmental, health, racial equity, and other social problems, the Social Enterprise Track of the NVC is cause for hope as capable, energetic students from across Harvard bring new ideas and models to address these crises,” said Rob Zeaske (MBA 2002), director of the Social Enterprise Initiative. “The NVC’s 25th anniversary is a celebration of a generation of bold students and their solutions and a guide to what is possible.”

In addition to the $325,000 in cash prizes, sponsors have donated in-kind tools and services that will help the startups launch and grow. In-kind sponsors are AWS, Baker for Business, Bubble, CASE Smart Impact Capital, Foley Hoag, Harvard Innovation Labs, HubSpot for Startups, MixPanel, Startup Partners.

This year’s winners, exemplifying leaders working to make a difference in the world, are:

Student Business Track

The Dubilier prize was established by New York and London-based private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in 1998 in honor of their founder, Martin Dubilier (MBA 1952), to support entrepreneurship. The Satchu-Burgstone Prize honors Jon Burgstone (MBA 1999), Asif Satchu (MBA 1999), and Reza Satchu (MBA 1996), all recipients of the runner-up prize in the 1999 competition with their plan for

The Dubilier $75,000 Grand Prize: Coprata
Chase Moyle (MBA 2022), Chase Moyle (MBA 2022)

View Video Coprata has developed non-invasive ways to easily, safely and discreetly monitor health when using a toilet. The technology is designed to address gastrointestinal disease and monitor personalized wellness.

Satchu-Burgstone $25,000 Runner Up Prize: ClearCut Surgical
Alex Yang (MBA 2023), Heung Kim

Faced with a problem all surgeons have struggled with for decades—the buildup of fluid (blood) that prevents effective and safe tissue dissection—the ClearCut Surgical team prototyped a simple solution to the problem: a combination dissection and suction device.

Student Social Enterprise Track

The Sacerdote Prizes were initially established in 2003 by Peter M. Sacerdote (MBA 1964) to encourage more HBS graduates to become involved in social enterprises and to support their efforts.

Peter M. Sacerdote $75,000 Grand Prize: CashEx
Kingsley Ezeani (MC/MPA 2022), Scott Morgan

View Video Cashex is building services to make life easier for African migrants by offering seamless digital banking that allows Africans in the US to send money to their families with zero transaction fees.

Peter M. Sacerdote $25,000 Runner Up Prize: Feather Health
Kirsten Soong (MBA 2022), Mariya Rivkin, (MBA 2022), Daniel Navarro

Feather is a new way for patients to navigate their pain journey through proven treatments, personalized coaching, and a supportive community.

Alumni Track

$75,000 Grand Prize: Fleetzero

Steven Henderson (MBA 2016), Michael Carter

View Video Fleetzero is building a fleet of electric ships to deliver cargo for our customers without a green premium.

$25,000 Runner Up Prize: Collective Academy
Patricio Bichara (MBA 2015)

Collective Academy is the first university focused on transforming the future of Latin America by connecting recognized business and technology professionals with future high-impact decision makers.

Tough Technology Prize

This is the third year for the Tough Technology Prize, sponsored by the Rock Center in collaboration with the HBS Digital, Health Care, and Business and Environment Initiatives, to recognize ventures working on transformative technology that solves the world’s most important challenges through the convergence of breakthrough science, engineering, and leadership.

$10,000 Winner: Carbon Vacuum
Aaron Sabin (MS/MBA 2023)

View Video Carbon Vacuum sucks CO2 out of the air to prevent our Earth from burning and melting.

This article was originally published by the HBS Newsroom. Read more about some of the New Venture Competition Business Track, Social Enterprise Track, and Alumni Track finalist teams.