Meet the 2018 Finalists | Gordon Institute at Tufts University
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Winners of the 2018 $100k New Ventures Competition

Social Impact Track:

First Place: Apollo Agriculture

Apollo Agriculture is a technology company created to help smallholder farmers maximize their profits. We deliver a proven product - bundled seed, fertilizer, insurance and advice, on credit - to smallholders through a digital, vertically integrated, and cost-effective approach. We use high-resolution satellite imagery and machine learning to develop credit profiles for smallholder farmers, and automated processes for each customer touchpoint - from acquisition and enrollment, to extension services, monitoring, and repayment. By reducing the expense and operational complexity of smallholder lending, we are making it possible to serve even the most remote of Africa’s 50M smallholder farmers in a financially sustainable way.
Team Members: Elizabeth Mastors, A13; Earl St Sauver, E13; Eli Pollack

Second Place: M-tuma

Dukas, “Mom and pop stores” play a critical role in Kenya’s economy. They supply roughly 70 percent of consumer goods and are often run by women or families. These shop owners lack information on prices, travel long distances to wholesalers, and incur high transportation costs. We are building an online system where shopkeepers can view prices and make orders. We then aggregate orders from multiple shopkeepers and rely on third party transporters to deliver goods utilizing economies of scale. Shop keepers now know prices, get goods at their doorsteps, and save on transportation costs.
Team Members: Faith Biegon, F18; Collins Sirmah, A16; Bryson Wong, A17

MedTech & Life Sciences Track:

First Place: Cathbuddy

Cathbuddy is a portable handheld UV-C catheter sterilizer that empowers people who use intermittent catheters to regain agency and mobility while reducing their carbon footprint with medical grade technology and human centered design.
Team Members: Brian Wee, E18; Souvik Paul

Second Place: VASERA Male Contraceptives*

There is currently no reversible, long-acting, reliable birth control available for men. VASERA seeks to fill this hole in the market by providing men with a temporary, long-lasting, non-hormonal contraceptive option. Our technology is a silk-based hydrogel that is injected into a male’s vas deferens in a quick, non-invasive, outpatient procedure. The gel blocks sperm flow in the vas deferens, temporarily mimicking the effects of a vasectomy and providing the user with effective contraception for one year. VASERA offers an alternative to hormonal birth control, condoms, and vasectomies for couples in committed relationships.
Team Members: Sophia Atik, E18; Kelsey-Claire Gallagher, E18; Caitlyn Leo, E18; Elizabeth Bender, E18

Third Place: Cabin Labs

We are solving the US opioid epidemic by engineering a safe medicine for chronic and acute pain. Medicinal marijuana is already a safer alternative, but has psychoactive and memory-impairing effects. Our approach eliminates these side effects while maintaining pain relief by targeting a non-traditional allosteric site on the receptor and promoting biased downstream signaling. This approach mimics the body's naturally occurring cannabinoid receptor modulators. The science is sound, but big pharma is reluctant because of historical stigma, making this a great startup opportunity.
Team Members: Allan Chen, G18; Jaclyn Dunphy, S18

Third Place: Co-Lab

EyeCount is the only way to use the phone in your pocket to perform cheap and easy and rapid cell counting and analysis for a tiny fraction of the price of existing alternatives. EyeCount is a patented visual systems based automated cytometer for iPhone. Using a microscope lens adapter to perform multifocal plane analysis on our specially designed disposable counting chamber take all the work, frustration and inaccuracy out of cell counting, for a mere $1 per sample. It even sets up your experiments. EyeCount employs machine learning and image enhancement to continuously improve and offer more and more applications.
Team Members: Sam Miller, E18; Sijia Hu, E18; Melek Ozturk, E18; Sagun Sanghi, E19

General/High-Tech Track:

First Place: Ginger Time

In the US, Ginger has been touted for upset stomachs for centuries. Over the last 20 years, the scientific community has scrutinized its efficacy through rigorous clinical trials and has ultimately revealed positive results, lending credence to ginger’s use as a stomach soother and digestive aid. Ginger Time will be the leading, national brand of "ginger shot"; an organic, convenient, potent, and delicious 2.5oz serving of ginger juice, B vitamins, and citrus. In addition to providing temporary relief from upset stomachs, we will donate profits to fund medical research on the more chronic stomach ailments from which people suffer.
Team Members: Charles Parsow, A13

First Place: ZwitterCo**

ZwitterCo’s nanofiltration membranes improve produced water recycling in the oil and gas industry. Produced water recycling for surface discharge or beneficial reuse necessitates purification using a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system. RO systems, however, will foul and degrade from dissolved organic molecules in wastewater; insufficient organics removal can prohibit RO entirely. ZwitterCo’s flagship membranes show unprecedented separation of soluble organics from wastewater without fouling and can undercut the price of status quo technologies. By providing affordable organics pre-treatment for RO systems, we enable Oil and Gas companies to recycle produced water, simplifying their fluid management logistics and improving their environmental footprint.
Team Members: Alex Rappaport, E17, E18; Aditi Deorukhakar, E18; Chen Chen, E18; Harshit Agrawal, E17


* indicates a 2017 Montle Prize Winner

**indicates a 2017 Ideas Competition Winner