The Santander Venture Awards

Through the Santander Venture Award, the Lauder Institute recognizes current students for their entrepreneurial spirit and supports them in starting new ventures focused on having a financial or social impact. Given to select students in the venture development process while at Wharton, the award is intended to support entrepreneurs financially during the early stages of development. Past winners of the Santander Venture Award have launched their fledgling ventures into successful companies and Web startups.

Cash Award for Venture Development

Each venture receives a $10,000 cash award. This financial support, coupled with the many other co-curricular opportunities at Wharton, provides a strong foundation for students’ professional development as entrepreneurs.  The Venture Award supports a student’s work over the summer in lieu of a full-time internship, allowing the student to concentrate full-time on developing the venture.

Lauder Institute Santander Venture Award Winners 2016

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.

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.”

Lauder Institute Santander Venture Award Winners 2015

Partners in Global Education (PGE) | 2015
Robert Fried
This venture facilitates short-term study seminars in emerging countries on behalf of U.S.-based institutions. Organizing group educational travel to emerging countries is often difficult, time consuming, and frustrating. To address this market need, PGE provides three core services. First, the company utilizes its extensive network—in part based on the Lauder/Wharton network—to help develop the client’s in-country itinerary. Second, PGE provides comprehensive enrollment assistance (e.g. visa services, form collections, FAQs, etc.). Third, PGE facilitates all in-country logistics. The company initially offers program facilitation in China, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Morocco, South Africa, and Colombia and plans to expand to several additional emerging countries.

PedFlow | 2015
Kaline Brueckner-Saab, Robert Hamill & Maria Lohner

PedFlow is pedestrian flow management and crowd simulation software that models the movement of large crowds through structures and public spaces. PedFlow analyzes crowd movements in various scenarios to help users understand infrastructure capacity, throughput limits, optimal evacuation routes, etc. This software completes complex analysis in minutes or hours compared to the multi-day or week processing times required by competitors

Lauder Institute Santander Venture Award Winners 2014

Agribots | 2014
Carlos Vadillo and Juan Abraham

Agribots is an agricultural venture focused on increasing crop yields by mitigating the effects of agricultural freezes while providing a process for freeze control. Through the utilization of unmanned drones, Agribots can collect data while physically creating micro-weather patterns that affect crops. About the entrepreneurs: Originally from Chile, Juan brings his experience as an engineer and his passion for grapes and viticulture to the project. Carlos immigrated to the United States from Mexico and is excited to bring his knowledge of financial markets and love for home-brewing and horticulture to Agribots, Inc.

Ambitioni | 2014
Sagar Pagare

Ambitioni aims to use big data to help students and early career professionals visualize long-term career paths. Using this product, customers will be able to make intelligent choices about their careers. Ambitioni would be an intuitive and visually appealing platform that would help a user to explore career paths and build an action plan, based on past experience and interests. About the entrepreneur: Long-term, Sagar hopes to use technology to solve some of the pressing needs of the developing and under-developed nations, especially within the education industry.

Tango | 2014
Ting Cui

Tango is the go-to platform for students who want to get insider job information faster. It offers day-in-the-life job videos, actual work examples and career path trajectories to help students easily discover, learn, and evaluate jobs to make more informed long-term career decisions. Ting was inspired to create Tango by her desire to fix today’s broken career discovery system and democratize insider job information. She plans on using her award money to relocate to Silicon Valley this summer to recruit additional engineering talent. About the entrepreneur: Having grown up attending 11 different schools in 5 countries (China, Germany, Canada, France, and the U.S.), she wants to leverage the knowledge she’s acquired in her professional career to help current students make the right career decision.