04 Feb 2022

Get to Know Past NVC Winners: Everly Health


With the New Venture Competition (NVC) Finale right around the corner and in celebration of the competition’s 25 years at Harvard Business School, we caught up with some of the past participants across the three tracks (Alumni, Student Business, and Social Enterprise) to learn more about how NVC and their time at HBS helped shape their entrepreneurial journey.

Tickets are now available for the NVC 2022 Finale on March 31, 6:00 – 7:00 pm.


Julia Cheek, CEO and Founder, Everly Health

NVC team:
Julia Cheek (MBA 2011)

What inspired you to start your company or organization?
I started my company to create a better solution for a problem I faced. In 2015, I was working in consulting when I started to feel sick and spent six months going to specialists who ran a variety of lab tests to find out why I wasn't feeling well. I never got the results and nothing was ever explained to me. But because I was on a high deductible plan, months later I ended up getting bills from the labs for hundreds and hundreds of dollars—totaling over $2,000 in out-of-pocket in costs. After all the appointments and lab tests, I learned that I had multiple hormone and vitamin deficiencies.

How has HBS helped with your entrepreneurial journey?
I got my first exposure to entrepreneurship during my MBA, and realized it could be a career for me. While business school may not be the right path for everyone, getting an MBA at HBS was transformational for me. The MBA program itself, the classes, the discussions, and the network provided an opportunity to push myself and how I wanted to transform the world. I would never have started a company had I not gone to business school because I never would have been exposed to the option.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be inspired by problems. Always ask yourself: What’s wrong with this? What could be better?

What is a failure that you experienced as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it?
In the early days of Everlywell (now Everly Health), I was rejected for funding dozens of times. I learned not to take it personally. Change is the foundation of innovation, and not everyone likes change.

Today, Everly Health has helped hundreds of thousands of people better understand their health by offering a more convenient, affordable way to get lab testing done. If I had listened to everyone who told me “no” in the beginning, I wouldn’t be here today.

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