Day Zero Diagnostics is Named 2016 HBSAB New Venture Competition Winner

L-R: Chris Hobson (NVC Chair), Day Zero Diagnostics Team: Melis Anahtar, Miriam Huntley, Doug Kwon, Dougal Maclaurin, and Jong Lee (MBA 1999)

Congratulations to Day Zero Diagnostics on selection as winner of the 2016 HBS Association of Boston (HBSAB) New Venture Competition (NVC) final New England Regional contest.  The finals event was held on March 23rd at Harvard Business School, and was sponsored by IBM.

This year’s New England Alumni NVC was widely lauded as one of the best ever, and the numbers speak for themselves. Specifically, 23 innovative and compelling teams, tied for the most ever, from ten different industries, applied to the competition. These teams were evaluated by approximately 30 volunteer judges and advised by approximately 20 volunteer mentors. The judges selected eight Semi-Finalists, five Finalists (the teams were too good to limit the Finals to just 4 teams) and one very deserving Winner, Day Zero Diagnostics.

As the winner, HBSAB presented Day Zero Diagnostics with a $10,000 cash award.  IBM graciously donated one year of cloud services valued at $120,000.  IBM presented the other four final teams with one year of cloud services each valued at $12,000.

Other prizes included a $2,500 cash prize for the Best B2B Startup provided by Tri-Net HR Services awarded to Cambridge Blockchain. A $2,500 cash prize for the Best B2C Startup provided by Kurgo Products and Patchology went to Nix.

Day Zero Diagnostics first place prize package included: $5,000 in in-kind services from Nixon Peabody; Accounting and tax advice from Grant Thornton; An invitation to the Rock 100 Summit for the New England winner, and Entry to the Global HBS competition and a chance to win $25k or $50k prizes (HBS Alumni – Vote Here by April 15th!).

We are grateful to the support of the sponsors who donated prizes and to all of our Premier Sponsors: Biscom, ClearCompany, Forrester, Grant Thornton, Nixon Peabody, and The Sharma Group of Merrill Lynch, and to our Gold Sponsor, Lassiter Consulting, for affording us the ability to continue to provide these outstanding programs and initiatives to our members and the HBS community. All of these sponsors benefit from the exposure to the New England entrepreneurial community and access to some of the best up-and-coming startups in the region.

The Final Five Teams  

  • Antera Therapeutics

  • Cambridge Blockchain
  • Day Zero Diagnostics
: Traditional infectious disease diagnostics take days to weeks to inform treatment, resulting in high mortality and treatment costs that are in excess of $50,000 to $100,000 per patient.  The rapid and recent rise in drug resistance among pathogens has turned that delay into a public health crisis.  Day Zero Diagnostics is leveraging high throughput genomic sequencing and machine learning techniques to modernize infectious disease diagnosis and drug resistance testing, so patients get the most effective treatment in hours rather than days. Website pending.
  • Nix


Day Zero Diagnostics is representative of several of the factors that make the HBSAB NVC unique. The team is comprised of members from not only HBS, but also Harvard Medical School, Harvard’s Department of Physics, MIT and even University of Oxford. They have a logical and compelling business plan, but they also have cutting-edge technology and deep domain experience from years of working in their field of application.

And while Day Zero Diagnostics was our winner, most of our entrants fit this same profile, featuring a diverse set of skills and a balance of experiences drawn from a variety of local schools and businesses. At the Finals ceremony, several people marveled at the quality of the applicants and the unique ability of HBS to pull together these incredibly talented and diverse groups.

In fact, local publication BostInno wrote, “All of the ventures seemed abnormally strong in both their business plans and tech-heavy innovations, making it one of the closest competitions that I’ve ever witnessed (a sentiment shared by some of the judges, as well).” This truly sets the NVC apart and it is something we will continue to encourage in the years ahead.

The March 23rd finals event was an educational and thought-provoking evening as the audience enjoyed the pitches and learned how these five teams deal with critical issues such as: defining the problem they are solving, building a strong team, building a defensible strategy, reaching a target market, and scaling the opportunity.

The judges used an online scoring system managed and developed by Saeko Tshuchihashi, MBA 1992. The judging platform called NowYrTurn was built based on Saeko’s experience as Chair for past HBSAB NVC contests.  The platform can be used not only for various competitions but also for the project evaluation and feedback.  For more information on NowYrTurn please contact Saeko at


The final five teams were judged by HBSAB members: Gary Ambrosino, MBA 1988; Alexandra Dickson, MBA 2013 (Winner of 2015 HBSAB NVC); Barbara Piette, MBA 1986; Angelo Santinelli, MBA 1989; and Ra’ad Siraj, S.M., Computer Science, 1986.

This alumni competition seems to get better each year.  We received 23 applications from New England regional teams: 


  • Antera Therapeutics (semi-finalist)

  • Bab'l Books
  • Cambridge Blockchain (semi-finalist)
  • CompanyPlus
  • Day Zero Diagnostics (semi-finalist)
  • Hoodie
  • InfiniteMD (semi-finalist)
  • LeanMeet
  • LiftUp: Fitness Reimagined
  • Llana
  • MedRhythms, Inc.
  • MIFCOR (semi-finalist)
  • Neuronasal LLC
  • Nix (semi-finalist)
  • Orolux
  • RateGravity
  • Reson8 (semi-finalist)
  • Soli
  • Sweep
  • The Wardrobe Essentialist
  • Timter
  • Wright Electric Airplane (semi-finalist) 

We are looking forward to another terrific NVC next year and welcome your feedback and interest in getting involved in this important program for your fellow HBS Alumni and their start ups.  

Don’t forget to vote for the HBSAB winner Day Zero Diagnostics in the Global Competition.

HBSAB New Venture Program Sub-Committee

Keith Cooper, MBA 1988

Hank Flores, MBA 1990

Vaibhav Gupta, MBA 2014
Chris Hobson, MBA 1999 (Chair)
Stephen Pittman, PLDA 2011

Andy Rogers, AMP 183, 2012

Pictures and more on Twitter @HBSAB #hbsabnvc and Facebook.