Kudos, a company making plant based diapers was runner up in the HBS new venture competition. It also won the crowd favorite prize. This is founded by Indian American entrepreneur, Amrita Saigal, HBS 2014.
Entrepreneurship continues to thrive during a year of unprecedented challenges, with innovative founders identifying novel solutions that meet ever-changing demands and solve new problems. The remarkable entrepreneurs announced as winners during the virtual 24th annual Harvard Business School New Venture Competition (NVC) on Tuesday, March 30 are no exception.
The 22 student and alumni finalist teams pitched for a share of the $325,000 in cash as well as in-kind prizes. The top four teams within each of the three tracks—Student Business, Student Social Enterprise, and Alumni—made it through a multi-round judging process and vied for the runner-up and grand prize. Viewers also had the opportunity to select a crowd favorite within each of the three tracks, with a prize value of $5,000. In a separate process, hard technology ventures competed for the $10,000 Tough Technology Prize (pdf).
“I really enjoyed participating in the competition. The visibility I gained through the win has had a very positive impact on my company. It was a tough competition as I was competing against 166 teams with HBS Alumni, all of who were stellar participants. I am humbled and honored to have won” says Amrita Saigal.
The NVC is open to all students and alumni who are launching new business and social impact ventures. The School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and its Social Enterprise Initiative, in partnership with HBS Alumni Clubs & Associations, organizes the annual competition. This year, 301 teams entered the virtual competition—85 in the Student Business Track, 50 in the Student Social Enterprise Track, and 166 in the Alumni Track. Since its inception in 1997, there have been more than 6,500 participants, and over $3 million has been awarded to the winning teams.
HBS Professor Shikhar Ghosh, faculty co-chair of the Arthur Rock Center, reminded the participants of the impossibility of recognizing which early-stage ideas will be successful. “The important thing is that you have taken the step, that you’ve decided to put yourself on this journey, that you’ve committed your time, that you’ve committed your passion to it—and at the end, in the same way as having a child changes you, this journey will change you. It will push your limits. It will get you to understand what you’re capable of. So, thank you and congratulations!”
In addition to the $325,000 in cash prizes, sponsors have donated in-kind tools and services that will help the startups launch and grow. In-kind sponsors are Airtable, MassChallenge, Amazon Web Services Activate Credit, Hub Spot for Startups, CASE Smart Impact Capital, Foley Hoag LLP, Baker for Business, and Harvard Innovation Labs.