The Harbus Presents: The 2018 New Venture Competition’s “Thanks for Playing” List

This year’s New Venture Competition is in full swing, with multiple student-founded startups vying to be named top dog. However, many students are not aware that far more startup ideas are submitted to the competition than actually see the light of day, and this year, for the first time, the Harbus staff has gained exclusive access to those that were the NVC equivalent of the kids picked off first in playground dodgeball. We’re proud to share them here, so they might catch a glimpse of the glory they were denied. Enjoy!

 

Papa’s Echo
Industry: Electronics/Social Work
Company Description: Is your kid’s father always busy with work and never home? Or maybe he went to get milk 7 years ago and never came back? Papa’s Echo is more than just a Bluetooth speaker – it’s a Bluetooth speaker equipped with Sorri, a highly advanced interface powered by the latest AI tech that can play a critical role for children with absentee fathers. Every child deserves a dad, and now, with the power of machine learning, every person with enough disposable income can have one.
Papa’s Echo’s features include answering questions on homework, walking you through how to tie a necktie, and even saying “I love you, son” in 150 languages. Not only that, but the Sorri platform is able to reconstruct a father’s voice from just a 20-second audio sample, so even a quick voicemail apologizing for a missed birthday or a recorded divorce hearing deposition is more than enough to create a high-fidelity reconstruction of your dad’s vaguely remembered but hauntingly familiar voice. Papa’s Echo – it doesn’t quite fill the void, but at least it won’t smack you.

StayPositive
Industry: Healthcare/Dating
Company Description: Billed as the Tinder of VD, StayPositive is the world’s first dating app specifically geared towards those with STIs. Browse through potential matches sorted by ailment, and finally go back to enjoying the wild, carefree existence you led before that ill-fated night in a Tijuana motel during Spring Break 2009.
No more worrying about when is the right time to bring up the fact that you have full-blown AIDS – everyone should find someone who can love them back, herpes warts and all.

Flack
Industry
: Office Comms/Veteran Services
Company Description: For veterans struggling to adjust to civilian life and finding themselves lost in corporate lingo, Flack is an office communication and workflow platform that translates typical office jargon into the more familiar military lingo they’re familiar with. “Do you have time to meet?” becomes “get over here!” and “I think your performance this quarter could show room for improvement” transforms into the much clearer “stop screwing up before I break my foot off in your ass.”
The app’s easy-to-use interface even automatically filters comments others might find “offensive” to ensure you don’t run afoul of weak-kneed HR liberals ruining ‘Murica – though you’re still on your own for keeping your mouth shut in meetings.

 

Foocebak
Industry: Social Media
Company Description: With a name derived from the Urban Dictionary term “fooce” (meaning “to deteriorate into an unthinking mess”), and poised to take over the social media market as soon as this whole Cambridge Analytica thing shakes out, Foocebak was founded solely to acquire Facebook when the latter becomes a worthless collection of servers and expired Farmville accounts. Rather than seek VC funding, the company instead has established a $45B short position in FB, and, according to a company spokesperson, is “just waiting for Zuckerberg to phone it in.”

 

Tuber

Industry: Ride sharing/Dating
Company Description: Named for mindless, mud-growing vegetables, Tuber is the world’s one-and-only on-demand hookup-ride-sharing service. If you’re tired of having to use two apps to get to your casual sexual encounter, Tuber disintermediates both services you might have heard of, and lets you get it on in the backseat of a 2003 Corolla parked in an Allston back alley, which you will then have to quickly vacate for the next patron. Next month, the company plans to expand service with a pool option for even more memorable experiences.
And the fee? You guessed it – just a tip.