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$100k New Ventures Competition 2020

General Technology Finalists & Judges

Cogna - Tied for 1st place

Team Members: Jeffrey Bui (A21), Chris He (A21), Shaikat Islam (A21), Tristan Spratt (A21), Robert Yang (E20)

Description: Trouble falling asleep? Wear our brain-stimulating device for 20 minutes to feel sleepier and improve the quality of your snooze.

Send an email to Cogna.


Sea Dragon Aquaculture Farm - Tied for 1st place & recipient of Cummings Properties rent credit

Team Member: Benjamin Sawicki (V16)

Description: Sea Dragon Aquaculture Farm will be an aquaculture facility dedicated to the production of organic, sustainable shrimp intended for sale to restaurants and grocery retailers in the greater Boston area. Most available farmed and wild-caught shrimp are produced and harvested using environmentally destructive practices. Sea Dragon Farms aims to offer restaurants and retailers a more sustainable product, and in the process influence an emerging domestic aquaculture industry.

Send an email to Sea Dragon Aquaculture Farm.


Rezzi - 3rd place

Team Members: James Aronson (E18, EG19), Andrew Murray (E17)

Description: SmartCan by Rezzi is an IoT device that attaches to residential waste bins to automate bringing them to the curb. We've heard from landlords traveling miles to their properties, busy professionals with hectic schedules, homeowners getting hit with heavy fines for leaving barrels out too long, and individuals with limited mobility that require assistance to bring out the trash. We've listened, and with SmartCan, Rezzi is kicking the stress and challenges of trash day to the curb.  

Send an email to Rezzi.



Team Members: Lynn Dannan (EG20), Noor Dannan

Description: At Anaïs, we are two dedicated sisters building a powerful brand - by women, for women. Lynn is a graduate student in the Innovation and Management program at Tufts University and has hands-on experience working in technical design and strategic consulting. Noor is the creative director who designs all of our silhouettes, and has deep knowledge about the industry from her extensive career in fashion and retail marketing. Together, we form a dynamic team that is ready to shake a stagnant industry.

Send an email to Anaïs.



Team Members: Sebastian Coates (E20), Derek Strauss

Description: Derek and Sebastian met in the summer of 2018 while working together at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. With Derek’s background in business/finance and Sebastian’s expertise in computer science, the two were tasked with working on an innovation project in clinical trial software. With insight into the clinical trial process and a strong understanding of blockchain technology, the two started Immuto to alleviate many of the pain points around data management. Ultimately, they hope that by providing easy access to the benefits of blockchain, Immuto will facilitate faster and safer clinical trials, enabling life-changing therapies to reach patients faster.

Send an email to Immuto.

Team Members: Manish Aryal (E21), Zurab Shanidze, Bakar Tavadze (A20)

Description: Tech companies place high value on projects done outside of the classroom when making new-grad hiring decisions. Most candidates have good theoretical knowledge but lack practical experience of working with a team on a large project. To address this issue, we built - an online platform that connects young software engineering talent from all around the world. Our users can recruit a team member or join someone else’s team to build software projects that will help them stand out from the competition.

Send an email to


General Technology Judges

Steve Herrod

Dr. Steve Herrod is managing director of General Catalyst (GC), a VC firm with over $5.0 billion in capital raised with offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto, New York, and Cambridge. Steve joined GC in 2013 to focus on early-stage B2B companies, and investments include Datto, SignalFx, Contrast Security, Illumio, Menlo Security, and Render, 2019’s TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield winner. Prior to GC, Steve spent 12 years at VMware where he ran a 3,000-person engineering organization as CTO and SVP of R&D. Steve earned a PhD and MS in Computer Science from Stanford University and a BA from UT-Austin.


David Jen

David Jen leads the Finance and Investments group at X (formerly Google X).  He’s spent the last six years evaluating and growing innovative companies while building Alphabet’s moonshot factory.  In this role, he’s developed new business models for nascent technologies, built a data-driven approach to funding innovative early-stage projects, and evolved business operations within Alphabet’s incubator. Prior to X, David worked at Google where he was a part of deal teams that signed some of the company’s largest commercial partnerships and led finance teams in emerging product areas. Before joining Google/Alphabet, David worked in finance and management consulting. He earned an MBA from UCLA Anderson, and a BA from Tufts University in Economics and International Relations.  When David isn’t working, he’s adjusting to life with two kids (a 2-year-old and a newborn), so if he seems tired… it’s because he is… 


Jim Lawton

Jim Lawton is the Vice President of Product and Applications Management at Universal Robots. Experienced in both start-up and F500 companies, Jim’s career has focused on transforming manufacturing with solutions that capitalize on the intersection of technology and business performance. Today at Universal Robots, he brings the power of software and advanced analytics to the field of collaborative robots. Jim holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University, an MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.


Ross Leav

Ross Leav graduated Tufts University in 1992 with a BA in International Relations/Economics and concentration on Japanese. After graduation, Ross moved to Wakayama Japan for two years, to serve as a Coordinator for International Relations under the Japanese National Ministry of Education (Monbusho). Upon returning to the States, Ross joined the Center for Business Intelligence, a global research firm serving the international power generation and distribution industry. In 1997 Ross entered the Sumitomo group, as head of the Boston office of Sumitronics, Inc., a Sumitomo subsidiary at the time, in charge of discovering and developing strategic business opportunities with US high-tech startups. Since then, Ross has served as the head of Boston operations for Sumitomo’s strategic CVC as it has evolved to become what is known today as Presidio-Ventures, Inc. Ross has a passion for discovering new technology to solve real-world problems and for fostering understanding among people of differing cultures and views. In his spare time, Ross enjoys practicing karate, skiing, disc golf and following current affairs.


Carol Monderer

Carol Monderer is President and CEO of Alphagenome Inc., a venture capital firm; President and CEO of the Monderer Foundation, a private foundation; and, CEO of Carol Monderer Publishing. Previously, she was Chairman of the Board of Standing Tall, a school for students with special needs. Carol also was Executive Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning and a director of Genpathway Inc., a biotech company. Carol was one of the founders of Box Hill Systems Corp., a manufacturer of data storage products. She was Executive Vice President of Marketing, Executive Vice President of Sales, and Chairman of the Board from Box Hill’s inception to its IPO and listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Box Hill merged to form Dot Hill Systems Corp. Carol subsequently served as Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning and Vice Chairman of the Board. The company was acquired by Seagate Technology (STX). Carol earned a BA at Vassar College.


Kenny Nova

Kenny Nova is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and advisor.  He is the founder of Stat Scientific, a company identifying, funding, and commercializing technology-driven innovation.  He has led early-stage technology businesses to successful exit as well as launched and scaled digital and media businesses with world-class enterprises (Time-Warner, Random House, and Ziff-Davis Publishing).  He is an inventor, having been awarded a U.S. patent for the education industry’s first, real-time, one-on-one mobile test preparation game.  He is a member of the New York Angels. Kenny earned a BA from Tufts University (’86) and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (’93).