There’s a good chance I just saw the next hot startup.
Harvard Business School crowned the winners of its student New Venture Competition Tuesday night, awarding a total of $150,000 in prize money to four teams. You’ve probably never heard of Alfred, Saathi, Booya Fitness, or TomatoJos, but you’d be wise to learn the names. People weren’t familiar with Redbeacon, Potentia Pharmaceuticals, or NewLeaf Symbiotics before they were winners, either.
The competition was split into two categories, business and social enterprise, with first-place teams winning $50,000 and runners-up taking home $25,000.
Alfred claimed top honors in business for its shared butler service that offers weekly help with household chores for $99 per month. Booya Fitness finished second with on-demand workout video platform.
In social enterprise Saathi bested the field for making more affordable sanitary pads out of banana tree fiber for women in rural India. The runner-up was TomatoJos, which partners with tomato farmers in Nigeria to produce tomato paste.
The winners were picked from among eight finalists who pitched their ideas Tuesday at Burden Auditorium to a panel of judges that featured a mix of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Over the course of the two-month competition, teams received mentoring and small-scale funding for experimentation.
In addition to prize money, winners also get space in the Harvard Innovation Lab and automatic advancement to later rounds of competitive accelerator programs like MassChallenge. The business category winner and runner-up receive free legal services from Boston law firm Foley Hoag.