Santander Venture Awards Winners

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The Santander Venture Awards are given to ventures led by MBA students, and is meant to help them during the early stage of entrepreneurial development. This financial support, coupled with the many other co-curricular opportunities at Wharton, provides a strong foundation for students’ professional development as entrepreneurs. The Santander Venture Award is intended to support a student’s work over the summer in lieu of a full-time internship, so that one can concentrate full-time to developing the venture. Each venture receives a $10,000 cash award. The Lauder Institute is very excited and proud of the winners for all their hard work.

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The winners of the 2016 Santander Venture Award are:

Chestnut Loans by Naga Tan

Chestnut is a network-driven lending platform. It aims to simplify the process of borrowing money from friends & family, helping small business owners access affordable financing and protect their most valuable relationships. In a world where crowdfunding has become mainstream, Chestnut wants to serve as a reminder that your strongest supporters are those closest to you.

Through his work at the intersection of finance & technology, Naga hopes to level the playing field for financially underserved consumers and small businesses in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Crescent Bites by Yue Li and Emily Tung 

Crescent Bites is a line of veggie- and fruit-centric ready-to-eat meals for toddlers on the go. The meals are pasteurized through High Pressure Processing (HPP), an innovative cold pasteurization technology that allows the foods to last up to 90 days when chilled while preserving the nutritional quality, taste, and color of the food. At 90 days, the foods can be distributed across distances and stored, allowing us to scale, but the foods remain minimally processed so that they still have all the benefits of real food. By giving parents a nutritional and convenient option on the days too busy to make lunches for daycare, Crescent Bites helps parents feed their children healthier, fresher foods.

Yue Li was born in China and grew up in Michigan. She worked in NYC as a management consultant for Oliver Wyman Financial Services, and then in business operations for Venmo, the highly-acclaimed mobile payments app. While at Venmo, she ran a small catering company on the side and discovered her passion for the food industry. Yue hopes to build a business that changes for the better the habits of the way people eat.

Emily was born in São Paulo, Brazil, to Chinese-Taiwanese parents. When she was 12, her family moved to Los Angeles, California. Emily worked for four years at Accenture Management Consulting and the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) in New York City. At the NYCEDC, she won a company-wide competition, “NYC’s Next Big Idea,” and was awarded $100,000 to help develop and implement her idea – the creation of New York City’s first commercial vertical farm, an innovative way to grow fresh produce and support the city’s food security. Currently, as a Lauder student in the East Asia track, Emily hopes to build a business that helps address critical challenges facing emerging markets.

RevoLOOtion by Nidhi Shah

RevoLOOtion aims to end open defecation in India through non-networked toilets. Like cell phones revolutionizing the telecommunications industry, our toilets will “revolootionize” the sanitation sector. By using a novel approach to generate revenue in urban areas and generate demand in rural areas, RevoLOOtion will both sanitize and electrify India beginning with urban schools around Mumbai and the rural villages around Chennai. The urban model involves urban institutions and corporates buying toilets for use in schools. Schools sign contracts to maintain the toilets. The rural model entails village gram panchayats subsidizing toilets for families. In return, the waste of the families helps power street lighting in the village through the installation and operation of biogas digesters.

Nidhi Shah is currently pursuing an Entrepreneurship major and South Asia/Hindi concentration. Prior to Wharton, Nidhi worked as a Process Engineer designing factories. On the side, she had been working with a sanitation startup which piqued her interest in starting something of her own.

Nidhi says: “A year ago, I remember sharing tongue-in-cheek jokes about my passion to start a business and make a difference (in the toilet business, the jokes come easy!). Today, the Santander Venture Award has allowed me to take a critical step forward in making this dream a reality. I am grateful to be able to spend dedicated time on propelling my business forward, without any school or work commitments. This is the summer that can make or break it and I am one step closer to finding out. Stay tuned.”