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The Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC) is the track of the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge supporting all University of Chicago alumni who are in the process of launching early-stage ventures.

Currently, the Polsky Center is running the ANVC in six regions: Midwest (Chicago), East Coast (NYC), West Coast (Bay Area), Europe (London), Asia-Pacific (Hong Kong), and Latin America (São Paulo).

To encourage the founding and growth of high-potential new ventures founded by UChicago alumni.

The Polsky Center works in conjunction with University of Chicago alumni in various regions to manage the ANVC. The program is divided into three phases, which are outlined below.

  • Phase I: Eligible University of Chicago alumni entrepreneurs will apply to the ANVC with a feasibility summary. The feasibility summary is the application for the ANVC. Applicants must choose one of the participating regions to apply to. Regional alumni leads will select 4-8 companies to advance to Phase II of the ANVC, with support from the Polsky Center team.
  • Phase II: Accepted companies will participate in local programming, mentorship, and feedback opportunities (resources will vary by region). Phase II companies will receive access to virtual resources from the Polsky Center. Phase II will conclude with a regional semifinals event, where top team(s) from each participating region will be selected to advance as finalists to Phase III. Each region will send at least one finalist team, based on the number of applicants.
  • Phase III: The program will culminate in Chicago on May 12, 2022, where finalist teams from each region will pitch in front of a world-class panel of investors and established entrepreneurs for a chance to win up to $100,000 in funding!

ANVC Office Hours with Gorana Kolar

If you are considering applying to the Alumni New Venture Challenge and have any questions related to the application, including your idea, eligibility, program resources, etc., than these office hours are for you. Please sign up for a 20-minute slot during one of the days and times below:

Friday, October 15: 9:00 a.m. CT, 9:30 a.m. CT, 10:00 a.m. CT, 10:30 a.m. CT

Friday, October 22: 9:00 a.m. CT, 9:30 a.m. CT, 10:00 a.m. CT, 10:30 a.m. CT

Friday, November 5: 9:00 a.m. CT, 9:30 a.m. CT, 10:00 a.m. CT, 10:30 a.m. CT

Friday, November 12: 9:00 a.m. CT, 9:30 a.m. CT, 10:00 a.m. CT, 10:30 a.m. CT

If you have any questions about the application process, please send them to Gorana.Kolar@ChicagoBooth.edu.


  • Venture must be original and have commercial promise
  • Team lead must be a degreed UChicago alum as of the application date, and this alum should have equity in the company and a role on the management team, as well as pitch at all ANVC-related events.
  • There is no minimum or maximum team size, however each team is required to have at least one degreed UChicago alum.
  • Teams may have members who are unaffiliated with UChicago. The Polsky Center encourages teams to identify individuals who may contribute the additional expertise and experience to help the team succeed.
  • Venture must be a for-profit enterprise
  • Venture must not have participated in any of the NVC tracks
  • Venture must have less than $1M USD in annual revenue
  • Venture must not have raised more than $1M USD in total debt/invested equity
  • Venture must be less than 5 years old
  • Incorporation is highly encouraged, but not required
  • Alums may submit their application to only one participating region
  • Alums may submit multiple companies. It is unlikely that multiple entries from the same team will be successful given that the plans are judged partly on the ability of the team to execute the plan.
  • Venture is not eligible to apply to any other track of the NVC in the same year

Teams interested in applying to the ANVC must submit a completed application by the deadline. The deadline for the 2022 ANVC is Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. CT (no exceptions).

The link to the 2022 ANVC application will be available shortly. In the meantime, please reach out to Gorana Kolar for more information about how to apply to the ANVC.


Students must develop a 5-page feasibility summary outlining a business or idea.

  • 10-12 pt legible font
  • 1 inch margins
  • 5-page maximum (judges are not expected to read any appendices)

Common elements of a feasibility summary include:

  • Value proposition
  • Customer/beneficiary segments
  • Competition
  • Intellectual property
  • Customer/beneficiary engagement
  • Revenue model
  • Operations
  • Management team
  • Progress to date
  • Business risks
  • Business analogue

PITCH VIDEO: Students must create a 2-minute elevator pitch video articulating the following. (Upload the video to YouTube — you can leave it unlisted – and submit the URL):

  • What problem are you solving?
  • What is your solution?
  • Who is most interested in having this problem solved?
  • What evidence do you have that they will find value in your solution?
  • Why are you the team to solve this problem?
  • How will the Alumni New Venture Challenge enable you to reach your goals?

APPLICATION QUESTIONS: Students must speak to the following topics about their business in short-answer responses. This section will serve as the Executive Summary to a team’s application:

  • Business description (50 words or less, please note that this info may be made available on marketing materials)
  • Problem this business is addressing (125 word limit)
  • Customer/beneficiary segment this business addresses (125 word limit)
  • Potential market size (125 word limit)
  • Competing or substitutable products (125 word limit)
  • Why is this the right team to launch this business? (125 word limit)
  • Key milestones/current status of business and/or estimated time to market (125 word limit)

TEAM RESUMES: Resumes of each team members should be included in the application.

As a condition to receive the prize money, each winning team must agree to provide the Polsky Center with equity in the company (that was the subject of its application). The Polsky Center offers a non-negotiable version of the Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) for companies that receive prize money.

SAFE is a standard convertible equity investment instrument first introduced and used by Y Combinator for seed funding. Fundamentally (and ideally), it is an investment that converts to preferred stock at the occurrence of the next round of funding and at the same terms as that round of funding. It is not traditional preferred stock or a convertible note. It is intended to replace convertible notes by keeping a similar conversion mechanism but removing many of the problems inherent in debt instruments (e.g., interest, maturity dates, risk of insolvency, and subordination). Importantly, SAFE is unlike preferred stock in that it does not require setting a valuation of the company — that determination is postponed until the later “occurrence of a particular event”.

The Judges Panel and/or the Polsky Center reserve the right to disqualify any entry that does not meet all the eligibility requirements or that violates any rules or regulations of the Alumni New Venture Challenge.

Judging will be based on the commercial potential of the business, innovative nature and technical feasibility of the idea, the credibility of the projections and assumptions, and the ability of the team to make it happen.

Cash prizes, along with any additional goods and services, will be divided among the top teams as deemed by the judging panel. The allocation of the prize money will be determined by the finals judges, based on relative merit and need. Each ANVC finalist must review the terms of the SAFE agreement provided by the Polsky Center. As a condition to receive an award, each winning team must agree to provide the Polsky Center with equity in the company (that was the subject of its application) in an amount equal to its respective award if the company receives funding or otherwise enters into a business combination transaction wherein the surviving entity receives financing or equity in another entity.

The University of Chicago, the principal sponsor and organizer, the co-organizers and co-sponsors of the Alumni New Venture Challenge have taken all reasonable measures to assure that all contestants retain their rights to the submitted materials and Intellectual Property. The co-sponsors and judges of the program include non-University of Chicago organizations that are interested in fostering the entrepreneurial process. Some of these organizations are in the business of working with and investing in the ideas of entrepreneurs. However, co-sponsoring organizations will only have access to materials with a team’s prior approval and shall make no claim to any of the property or rights.

The protection of these rights is the ultimate responsibility of each contestant. Contestants are urged to mark as CONFIDENTIAL any portion of their Entries, which they consider to be proprietary, or of a sensitive nature. Contestants should be careful about disclosing any “patentable” concepts in their Entries because, although in the United States a patent application can be filed up to one year after the first public disclosure of an invention, in many foreign countries a patent application must be filed before any public disclosure is made.

The University of Chicago, each of the co-sponsors, judges, mentors, co-organizers (the “Competition Officials”) and its directors, officers, partners, employees, consultants and agents (collectively “Organizer Representatives”) are volunteers and are under no obligation to render any advice or service to any Contestant.  The views expressed by the judges, co-sponsors, co-organizers, and the Organizer Representatives are their own and not those of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business or any person or entity. Entrepreneurs will be asked to acknowledge and agree to this in the application process.

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