Meet the Entrepreneurs

The Polsky Center’s premier start-up launch program, the Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), is 20 years old. Launched in 1996, the NVC is recognized as a top-ranked accelerator program in the nation and has graduated more than 160 companies still in operation today.

To date, NVC companies have achieved more than $4 billion in mergers and exits, including Braintree, which was acquired by PayPal in 2013 for $800 million; Bump Technologies, which was acquired by Google in 2013; and GrubHub, which completed an IPO in April 2014.

We invite you to explore the gallery below to hear from some of our past NVC participants on how the NVC helped turned their ideas into reality.

  • HOW THE NVC CHANGED THIS FOUNDER’S LIFE

     

    PrettyQuick founder and CEO Coco Meers, ’14, says the NVC taught her how to solidify her business plan and turn it into a reality. After growing her spa booking company to multiple major US markets, PrettyQuick was acquired by Groupon in 2015.

  • TO GET BIG, YOU HAVE TO THINK BIG

     

    As part of the 2014 NVC, coaches and faculty challenged student Katlin Smith and her Simple Mills team to think beyond their core gluten-free focus. Instead, they needed to think bigger, and ultimately created a vision for launching an entire family of healthy baking mixes.