We are pleased to highlight our 2021 One Harvard New Venture Competition held virtually on Wednesday evening, February 24. The event boasted a large audience including celebrity judges, sponsors, guest speaker, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, notable investors, and our broader HBS and Harvard entrepreneurial communities. Eight startup finalists pitched their businesses, competing for the title of 2021 NorCal Winner.
The evening started with networking on our Airmeet platform where our eight finalist startups, selected from 40 competitors, had opportunities to discuss their startups with attendees. After a brief welcome by Phani Nagarjuna, HBSANC President, Alexandra inspired the crowd with her talk about her entrepreneurial journey and some lessons learned.
Next, the eight finalist startups pitched their businesses and answered thought provoking questions by celebrity judges Aileen Lee, Sandhya Venkatachalam, and David Schmaier. 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. Congratulations to Bone Health Technologies that swept both the One Harvard New Venture Competition Winner and Crowd Favorite titles. Congratulations also to our One Harvard New Venture Competition runner up, Redmynd and Crowd Favorite runner up, Confidently. The top finalists will receive a variety of sponsored in-kind benefits. They will also be invited to pitch at the next HBS Alumni Angels Quarterly Pitch Event. As our top scoring HBS startup, Bone Heatlh Technologies will represent Northern CA in the HBS NVC Finale on March 30.
Laura Yecies (HBS '88), Founder of Bone Health Technologies - “I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the competition - the application process was quite straightforward. Even as an experienced entrepreneur, I found the coaching session very helpful and the event had a lot of energy despite being virtual - I especially appreciated getting to meet many of the attendees at the tables. The Bone Health Team feels very honored by this recognition and it is energizing us in our upcoming work!”
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. Three 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 pre-competition networking events in December, January, and February. Furthermore, they had the opportunity to compete for a significant number of sponsored in-kind benefits.
Thank you to our generous sponsors and to the many volunteers who helped make this event a huge success!
- Maya Krish, HBSANC Director of Entrepreneurship
"The HBSANC New Venture competition helped us really hone and refine our pitch. We received extremely useful feedback from mentors throughout the process, helping us better communicate the key elements of our business and distill our message into a high-impact presentation to investors. Confidently is in a much stronger and -- dare I say -- confident position, thanks to this competition!"
- Brent Blackaby (Harvard '96), Co-Founder of Confidently, Crowd Favorite Runner Up
"It’s tough to tell our story in 180 seconds, let alone drill down on the go-to-market plan, team, financial model, etc. Companies serving consumers can explain what they offer much faster, as the audience can quickly understand the need. Still, one guy me yesterday he’ll invest, and I’m following up with over 30 more. Your event seemed to attract 5X to 10X more “real” investors than most angel groups actually do. I got plenty of good questions, from people who were clearly paying attention and thinking...So, it was time very well spent."
-Erik Eklund (HBS '96), Founder of TelemeTrak and Startup Finalist
The One Harvard New Venture Competition 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! To become a member of our Club and get more involved with our entrepreneurial efforts, register here.