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We are pleased to highlight our recent 2020 One Harvard New Venture Competition held on March 4 at UCSF Genentech Hall. The event boasted over 250 attendees including twelve finalist startups, a significant number of notable investors, celebrity judges, sponsors, guest speaker, Michelle Zatlyn, Co-founder and COO of Cloudflare, and our broader HBS and Harvard entrepreneurial community.

The evening started with refreshments and networking inside the gorgeous UCSF atrium where our twelve finalist startups, selected from 40 competitors, had opportunities to discuss and demo their products with attendees.  After brief welcomes by Maya Krish, HBSANC Director of Entrepreneurship, and Stephanie Marrus and Laurel Skurko from UCSF, Michelle Zatlyn engrossed the crowd with her talk on the five lessons she learned from starting her company.

Next, the twelve finalist startups pitched their businesses and answered thought provoking questions by celebrity judges Mark Stevens, Sonja Hoel Perkins, and Zack Rinat.  The judges scored startups on the following criteria; customer value proposition, go-to-market strategy, quality of team, and economic model.  Attendees also had the opportunity to cast votes for their favorite startup on our 1HNVC app.  Congratulations to our 2020 1HNVC winner, Goal Five, and our 2020 1HNVC Crowd Favorite, Vincere Health.  These startups received cash prizes in addition to a variety of sponsored in-kind benefits.  They have also been invited to pitch at the next HBS Alumni Angels Quarterly Pitch Event.  Also, congratulations to Investo, our top scoring HBS startup that will proceed on to compete in the Global HBS Alumni NVC Finals in Boston. 

Caue Mancanares, Founder and CEO of Investo, was thrilled to move on to the finals and also provided feedback on his experience as the HBS winner of 1HNVC. "By participating in the 1HNVC we had exposure to high-quality investors. After winning the HBS part of the competition and receiving the news that we will pitch in the finals in Boston, a meaningful investor and HBS Alum reached out to us and we are now discussing an angel investment. The 1HNVC served as a validation that our business was legit and the investors had more confidence to engage with an early stage company such as ours. We are thankful to HBSANC for organizing it and providing us such a great exposure!"

The One Harvard New Venture Competition (1HNVC) serves as a launch pad for innovative new ventures from HBS and Harvard alumni, providing access and exposure to potential investors, mentors, and advisors.  This annual competition was started for HBS alumni over ten years ago by the Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and Alumni Clubs & Associations.  Two years ago in the Bay Area, we expanded this competition to include alumni of all Harvard schools.  Competing startups were offered multiple mentoring sessions, introductions to other mentors and investors, and networking opportunities at our 1HNVC networking events in January and February.  Furthermore, they had the opportunity to compete for cash prizes and access over $1 million of sponsored in-kind benefits.

Thank you to Cooley, LLP our Premier Legal Sponsor and UCSF, our Venue Host!  Also thank you to our other generous sponsors for their contribution of significant in-kind benefits and to the many volunteers who helped make this event a huge success!

- Maya Krish, HBSANC Director of Entrepreneurship and 2020 1HNVC Chair


"...Finally, the evening of the pitch arrived.  Excitement was in the air as the venue teamed with budding and seasoned entrepreneurs and investors.  Even before the pitch began, I had several very interesting conversations with fellow finalists, HBSANC team members and investors. It was clear to me that a lot of time went into curating this event to be sure that the right people were in the room.  Then came guest speaker, Michelle Zatlyn, Co-founder and COO of Cloudflare.  Quite honestly, Michelle was one of the best speakers I have heard speak on the topic of start-up and founder leadership. I was riveted to her words, and I still find myself reflecting back on them as build my team, and work tirelessly to establish a culture that values and supports employees, just like Michelle has done in her company.
Then, we were off to the races with the pitches! As we rolled through all 12 pitches, I was struck by the passion and smarts of my fellow finalists.  What struck me most, was that--similar to Goal Five-- many of my fellow finalists were leading mission-driven companies that were out in the world doing well and doing good. I was honored to be among them. The final icing on the cake, were the judges: Sonja Hoel-Perkins, Zack Rinat and Mark Stevens. Each judge listened intently to each pitch and then asked questions that were challenging and thought provoking--the kind of questions that make you think more deeply about your business model and assumptions; questions that actually help you improve as a leader and a company. 
And the winner was... Goal Five!!!  The feelings of shock and gratitude were a bit overwhelming, to be honest. For me and my team, winning this Contest was a very big boost for moral. Being selected by a jury of our peers and by esteemed judges, delivered a vote of confidence to our team that will stick with us. The Win said to me and my team: Yes, Goal Five, you are on to something.  Keep going. Keep building.  You will succeed and all of the passion, hard work and sacrifices that your team has invested in building Goal Five over the past four years, is paying off.
Last, and certainly not least, winning the 1HNVC this year opened up new doors to investors.  Within a week of winning The Contest, we doubled our pipeline of potential investors.  What a help!"
-Ann Kletz, Founder and CEO of Goal Five, 2020 1HNVC Winner


1HNVC is one of the signature events hosted by HBS of Northern California. Please join us for upcoming virtual entrepreneurial webinars, HBS Alumni Angels Pitch events, and StartUp Partners mentoring sessions for our budding entrepreneurs!  Also join our new Virtual Clubhouse Platform at!  To become a member of our Club and get more involved with our entrepreneurial efforts, register here.

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