27 Mar 2018

Harvard Business School Announces New Venture Competition Semifinalists in Student Business and Social Enterprise Tracks

On-campus Finale on April 18 will include finalists vying for $315,000 in prizes

BOSTON—On Saturday, March 25, seventy-one Harvard Business School (HBS) student-led teams pitched their startups to 84 judges in the first round of the HBS 2018 New Venture Competition Business Track, managed by the School's Rock Center for Entrepreneurship. Fifteen semifinalist teams were selected to move on to the next round of judging. Four finalists will be selected on April 10 and invited to pitch at the April 18 Finale on the HBS campus in Boston.

In early March, the School’s Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) saw a record 69 teams enter the Competition’s Social Enterprise Track. After evaluating these submissions, a panel of judges selected 16 teams to advance to the semifinal round. The Social Enterprise finalists are expected to be named on Friday, March 30. The Social Enterprise Track is for eligible graduate students across Harvard University with new ventures that drive social change using nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid models.

Finalists will pitch at the Competition’s Finale for a share of $315,000 in cash prizes to fund their startups. The School will offer a $75,000 Grand Prize for top winners. Additional prizes are a $25,000 Runner-Up Prize, $5,000 Audience Award, and in-kind services.

More than 200 judges from such fields as venture capital, private equity, law, accounting, philanthropy, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship vigorously review the new ventures in each round of judging.

A large audience from Harvard Business School, the Greater Boston community, and beyond is expected to attend the New Venture Competition Finale in Shad Hall on the HBS campus on April 18, when the winners in each track will be revealed.

Learn more about the New Venture Competition at hbs.edu/nvc and track Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition on Twitter at #HBSNVC. Past winners are listed here.

NVC 2018 Student Business Track Semifinalists
Started in 1997, the Student Business Track is for HBS student-led ventures with economic returns that drive substantial market value. Past winners include Cloudflare, Grab, Alfred, and Rapid SOS. This year’s student Business Track semifinalist teams are:

Aday: Liquid universal workforce platform

Alpha Vantage: Cloud-based financial data platform

Covr Hydrogel Technology: Lubrianct technology for medical devices and targeted consumer products

Divaqua: Leveraging science to eliminate toxins from wastewater

EmCasa: Disruptive Real Estate technology platform for Brazil

FastFloss: Dental flossing device

hour72+: 3-day insect repellent

Local Locker: Urban self-storage

Lullaby: Marketplace for refurbished and recertified baby products

Myos: Crispr cell therapy for Duchenne disease

Nalagenetics: Data analytics platform for genetic prone drug interactions

Ping: Mental Health data analytics app

Top-Up: Disrupting mobile data plans in Mexico

Wash Day: Premium salon for textured hair

X-COR Therapeutics: Respiratory dialysis technology

NVC 2018 Student Social Enterprise Track Semifinalists
The Social Enterprise Track, launched in 2001, provides an opportunity for students to explore social entrepreneurship and test ideas for social innovation in a rigorous and supportive environment. The Social Enterprise Track brings together expert judges from the field to evaluate entries based on the idea, its potential for social value creation, and the likelihood of achieving success. Past winners include Saathi, Careport Health, and Tomato Jos. The 2018 Social Enterprise Track student semifinalist teams are:

C3 Solutions: A carbon capture and utilization developer reducing emissions from industrial companies

CareZoom: An online platform with evidence, experts, and advice for your healthcare delivery project

Covalent Networks: A software platform designed for employer-led workforce development programs

Dignify: Matches refugees and locals in the developing world to globally outsourced digital work

EatWell: Makes healthy eating more available to low-income families with a 30-minute, 1-pot meal kit

Fontes Irrigation: An "on-demand" irrigation services business that serves farmers in Mozambique

Hoom: The $10,000 home…the smart, sustainable solution for the global housing crisis

ImmerLearn: Uses machine learning and novel data to maximize effectiveness of social and public programs

Joro: Helps people track their real-time CO2 emissions to make sustainability a daily practice

Neptune: Builds a better grease trap to keep our sewers clean

OnTrack Births: Utilizes India's extensive railway network to provide access to quality maternal care

SHLD (Self-Healing and Loving Dialogue) : Provides teens with daily wellness tips and suicide prevention care through Snapchat

STEMgem: An internet of things device toolkit that allows learners to build real, useful, and relevant technology

Trey: Empowers future college athletes to use sports as a springboard to lifetime success

Umbulizer: Developing a low-cost, portable ventilator for patients in resource-constrained markets

UPON: Eliminates labor underutilization and increases women's access to the workforce.


Jim Aisner

Cullen Schmitt


The Rock Center for Entrepreneurship was made possible by the generosity and vision of pioneering venture capitalist Arthur Rock (MBA 1951), who helped launch, among many other enterprises, Apple and Intel Corporation. The Rock Center offers a broad array of programs to encourage and support the pursuit of entrepreneurship by Harvard Business School students and alumni, including an annual New Venture Competition, the Rock Accelerator program to facilitate and financially support the execution of new ideas, The Rock Summer Fellowship program to support founders pursuing business ideas and internships with new ventures, a loan reduction program to help ease the burden of recent graduates starting their own enterprises, and access to an array of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence who offer advice and counsel throughout the school year.

The Rock Center is closely affiliated with the School’s Entrepreneurial Management Unit, which includes some 33 HBS faculty members dedicated to research, teaching, and course development in the field of entrepreneurial management. Harvard Business School’s first-year curriculum requires a full-semester course in Entrepreneurial Management. The second-year curriculum provides students with a wide selection of electives. The lessons learned serve students well after they have earned their degrees. Ten to fifteen years after graduation, fifty percent of Harvard Business School alumni describe themselves as entrepreneurs. For more information, visit hbs.edu/entrepreneurship or @HBSROCK.


The HBS Social Enterprise Initiative applies innovative business practices and managerial disciplines to drive sustained, high-impact social change. It is grounded in the mission of Harvard Business School and aims to educate, support, and inspire leaders across all sectors to tackle society's toughest challenges and make a difference in the world. Learn more at www.hbs.edu/socialenterprise or @HBSSEI.


Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 70 open enrollment Executive Education programs and 55 custom programs, and HBX, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, shaping the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.