25 Mar 2022

Get to Know the 2022 NVC Social Enterprise Track Finalists


With the New Venture Competition (NVC) Finale right around the corner learn more about this year’s Social Enterprise track finalists, including what inspired their venture and how HBS has shaped their entrepreneurial journey.

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

Kingsley Ezeani (MC/MPA 2022)

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CashEx

Additional Team Members:
Scott Morgan

How did you come up with your idea?
When I left Nigeria a few years ago, I saw how difficult it was sending money to my family back home. CashEx makes life easier for African migrants by offering seamless digital banking—Africans in the US can send money to their families with zero transaction fees.

Why the HBS New Venture Competition?
The competition is a unique learning process, and feedback from the judges has helped us significantly improve our business model.

Nishu Uppal (MD/MBA 2022)

Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, CardioPhi

Additional Team Members:
Sajad Mousavi

How did you come up with your idea?
Our combined interests and backgrounds led us to create CardioPhi. Sajad has a PhD in informatics and computing and saw an opportunity to apply machine learning techniques, in a unique way, to biomedical signals. As an MD/MBA student at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and HBS I have spent the last few years learning to care for patients with heart arrhythmias, which can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to diagnose and monitor. We envisioned CardioPhi as an opportunity to innovate around the interpretation of electrocardiograms, which were invented in the 1890s yet remain the mainstay of diagnosing heart arrhythmias.

Why the HBS New Venture Competition?
We are excited to participate in the Social Enterprise Track of the New Venture Competition to put our venture to the test and demonstrate how a proof-of-concept for an AI-powered arrhythmia diagnostic aid could be commercially viable, socially impactful, and sustainably disruptive.

Kirsten Soong (Adrien Cheng Harvard Kennedy School Fellow/MBA 2022)

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Feather Health

Additional Team Members:
Daniel Navarro
Mariya Rivkin (MBA 2022)

How did you come up with your idea?
Chronic pain took away seven years of my life. Years ago, I cried in my bed remembering being told I had no hope of getting better. I refused to believe it, and took two years off from my career to study chronic pain. I lived and breathed it as if my life depended on it—because it did. I scoured the web only to find fragmented and unhelpful results. I met with over 50 doctors. It was a huge time and financial cost, but I was lucky to find a team that helped me get my life back. It should not be this way when there are clear scientific-backed tools that patients can use, if only they knew they existed. When I found out that millions of others are affected by chronic pain, especially women and people of color, I knew I wanted to work on health equity to provide access to safe and proven tools.

Why the HBS New Venture Competition?
The HBS Social Enterprise Team, HBS professors, and Rock Center for Entrepreneurship have helped Feather Health incubate in the most supportive setting with the most generous and brilliant experts. Working on our application and getting feedback from all the incredible judges in the New Venture Competition has helped teach us how to tell our story and pointed out key areas we need to work on. Our closest friends previously participated in the NVC, and we truly look up to them as mission driven and impactful companies. Additionally, the non-dilutive capital would be a huge boost to our business and allow us to make critical investments into our product and team.

Maddie Gray (MBA 2022)

Co-Founder, Snappea

Additional Team Members:
Courtney Irwin (MBA 2022)
Noah Lizerbram (MBA 2022)
Varun Nagarajan (MBA 2022)

How did you come up with your idea?
We began working on Snappea, which delivers fresh and affordable produce to pickup sites at a time that works for our customers’ schedules, during the Startup Bootcamp Short Intensive Program (SIP) during our required curriculum (RC) year. We all met in an advisory group called "The Society We Need," which created space for small group discussions around the pathway towards building a more sustainable and equitable future. Through this advisory group, we realized we shared a passion for eliminating nutrition inequity, but that this passion came from very different places—from interests in economic development, social determinants of health, and environmental sustainability. We found strength in this diversity, which led us to join the Startup Bootcamp over winter break with a general focus on food insecurity. The idea for Snappea didn't really take form until we talked with nutrition insecure individuals in the Boston community to better understand the barriers they faced when trying to access healthy foods. The combination of this customer discovery process and an analysis of alternative solutions in the market helped us understand the value of coming up with a solution that could address these consumer pain points through a financially sustainable business model. As we ideated business models and solution ideas that could achieve these two ends, Snappea was born.

Why the HBS New Venture Competition?
The HBS New Venture Competition seemed like an incredible opportunity to hone and iterate our pitch, gather feedback from a diverse and experienced set of judges, and spread awareness about our venture. Of course, also top of mind was the chance to win a cash prize, which would accelerate our venture and allow us to further our mission by expanding our fridge footprint.

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