2024 Harvard Business School New Venture Competition: Uniting Cutting Edge Ideas, Innovative Ventures, and Talented Alumni and Students

BOSTON, March 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Harvard Business School's (HBS) Klarman Hall was packed to capacity yesterday evening, with spectators there to support the 12 student finalist teams competing in the finale of the 27(th) annual HBS New Venture Competition (NVC). At stake was $225,000 in cash plus in-kind prizes to fund the startups. The top prize in the Student Business Track and Student Social Enterprise Track was $75,000 each, with runner-up prizes of $25,000; two audience prizes of $5,000; and $15,000 in Tough Technology prizes.

"NVC provides a rigorous platform through which students develop their business ideas as a positive force for change."

The NVC is open to all students and alumni interested in launching new business and social impact ventures. The School's Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI), in partnership with HBS Alumni Clubs & Associations, host the annual competition. This year, 262 teams participated in the competition--88 in the Student Business Track, 31 in the Student Social Enterprise Track, and 143 Alumni Track teams in eight regional competitions around the world. Since its inception in 1997, there have been more than 6,300 participants, and $3,000,000 has been awarded to the students and alumni who are creating groundbreaking new businesses and social impact ventures.

This year's new venture pitches were vetted by and given feedback from more than 300 judges and mentors, including many HBS graduates, from fields such as venture capital, private equity, law, accounting, philanthropy, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship. The result was 20 finalists, eight in the Student Business Track, four in the Social Enterprise Track, and eight in the Alumni Track, in fields as varied as healthcare, sustainability, artificial intelligence, lifestyle and cosmetics, and nutrition.

"The New Venture Competition provides a rigorous platform through which students develop their business ideas as a positive force for change," commented Elise Bates (MBA 2000), who recently joined the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship as its new director. "It serves not only as a challenging competition but also as a profound educational opportunity. Students engage in collaborative efforts with peers and receive pragmatic feedback from a deep bench of serial entrepreneurs and early-stage investors. All teams apply valuable lessons to new innovations that make a difference in the world."

"Complex societal challenges require innovative approaches, collaboration across sectors, humility, and the determination of the next generation of leaders," Amelia Angella (MBA 2001), director of the Social Enterprise Initiative, remarked. "This year's entrants are powerful examples of business as a positive force for social change. The NVC offers our students a unique educational platform to test their ideas, get feedback from experienced judges, and help their organizations have a meaningful social impact."

"The New Venture Competition is one of our flagship programs within the portfolio of offerings that support HBS students and alumni in the pursuit of their entrepreneurial journeys," added Senior Lecturer Julia Austin, one of the Rock Center faculty co-chairs. "For some it provides an on ramp, for others it provides a continuation of the work they have advanced within Short Intensive Programs such as Startup Bootcamp and Startup Toolkit, and for others it provides an opportunity to join a founder to help advance their venture."

Encouraging participants during the ceremony, Professor Shikhar Ghosh, the other faculty co-chair of the Rock Center, said, "The New Venture Competition provides structure, support, and scaffolding for our students and alumni as they face the inevitable uncertainty and adversity that is part and parcel within the startup journey, enabling them to tackle some of the most pressing issues and opportunities of our time--from climate change to healthcare inequities to AI and other new technologies that simultaneously encompass unprecedented risks and opportunities."

In addition to the $225,000 in cash prizes, sponsors donated in-kind tools and services that will help the startups launch and grow. In-kind sponsors are All Stage, Case Smart Impact Capital, Foley Hoag LLP Law Firm, Harvard Innovation Labs, HubSpot for Startups, MassChallenge, and Wix.

This year's winners 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 SupplierMarket.com.

The Dubilier $75,000 Grand Prize:

Crop Diagnostix

Redefining precision agriculture through AI-powered, genetic insights.

Team: Brandon Chi (MBA 2024), Joseph Swift, Amitesh Pratap, Leonie Luginbuehl

Satchu-Burgstone $25,000 Runner Up Prize:


Sanso helps drug manufacturers produce life-saving biologics more efficiently, in order to deliver cheaper drugs to patients worldwide.

Team: Narek Dshkhunyan (MBA 2024), Daniel Erdosy

Crowd Favorite Prize:


BEAM provides continuous, high-bandwidth access to satellite data through a software-enabled optical communications module and data transfer service, connecting individual satellites in any orbit to a broad network of satellites and their connected ground stations across the world.

Team: Nathan Dass (MBA 2025) Sara Ballantyne (MBA 2025)

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:


Providing an on-demand solar irrigation service to Indian farmers, increasing their access to affordable, reliable, and clean irrigation.

Team: Rea Savla (MBA 2024), Vishesh Mehta

Peter M. Sacerdote $25,000 Runner Up Prize:

Trans Health HQ

A tool built by the trans community that addresses clinicians' barriers around learning and advocacy.

Team: Ivan Hsiao, MPH 2024

Crowd Favorite Prize:


Pioneering sustainable biopolymer production.

Team: Hande Ilhan (MBA 2025), Jakob Spiess (MBA 2025)

Alumni Track

Separately, HBS alumni were invited to participate in the Alumni New Venture Competition (aNVC). The 143 teams competed in eight regions around the world, where regional finalists were sent to the Global Finals round to compete for over $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. More than 100 judges participated. Winners were announced at the Global Finale held virtually on March 21.

First Place Winner


Transforming child nutrition in Latin America through fresh and additive-free meals.

Team: Rosalino Molina (MBA 2022) Founder & CEO
Region: International Track

Runner Up and Crowd Favorite

Harken Sweets

Harken reimagines joy-inspiring, iconic treats, infusing them with superfoods that nourish and satiate. It's not a "bar"...it's a functional candy bar. Thank goodness we can finally eat those again.

Team: Katie Lefkowitz (MBA 2016) Founder & CEO
Region: New York

Mark Cautela

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 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School's digital learning platform. For more than a century, 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. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2024-harvard-business-school-new-venture-competition-uniting-cutting-edge-ideas-innovative-ventures-and-talented-alumni-and-students-302103773.html

SOURCE Harvard Business School