Press release

Polsky Center Launches Podcast Featuring Interviews with Founders of Grubhub, Simple Mills and Other Chicago Booth Alumni to Mark 25th Anniversary of the New Venture Challenge

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The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to present the Where Are They Now? Podcast to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), a pioneering startup accelerator at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Weekly episodes feature interviews with notable alumni of the NVC, including Grubhub’s Matt Maloney, Braintree’s Bryan Johnson, and Simple Mills’ Katlin Smith. The interviews, conducted by professors and mentors of the program, delve into the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and how the NVC helped these founders build their startups into successful companies.

Founded in 1996, the NVC has graduated nearly 400 startups that remain active businesses. NVC alumni have raised nearly $2 billion in capital and achieved more than $8.4 billion in mergers and exits. Read more about the history and evolution of the NVC here.

The podcast series launched April 15 with the origin story of the NVC itself, and will end June 10 with an interview with the winner of this year’s contest. Episodes are available on Apple, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts.

The Polsky Center contracted with podcast host Colin Keeley, a former Booth student and NVC participant, to produce the series.

The lineup is as follows:

Episode 1: Booth entrepreneurship professors Steve Kaplan, Ellen Rudnick, and Mark Tebbe.

Episode 2: ExplOrer Surgical founder Jennifer Fried, MBA ’15.

Episode 3: BenchPrep founder Ashish Rangnekar, MBA ’11.

Episode 4: Simple Mills founder Katlin Smith, a former Booth student.

Episode 5: Foxtrot founder Mike LaVitola, MBA ‘14.

Episode 6: Power2Switch founder Seyi Fabode, MBA ’10.

Episode 7: PrettyQuick founder Coco Meers, MBA ’14.

Episode 8: Braintree founder Bryan Johnson, MBA ‘07.

Episode 9: Grubhub founder Matt Maloney, MBA ’10.

Episode 10: Winner of 2021 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge.

About the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation applies world-class business expertise from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to bring new ideas and breakthrough innovations to market. Home of the University’s technology transfer office, the Polsky Center’s dedicated team of professionals with deep technical expertise enabling technology commercialization perform market analysis, manage intellectual property, identify partners, and negotiate partnerships and licenses for discoveries and inventions developed by faculty, researchers, and staff. Learn more at and follow updates on Twitter @polskycenter.