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Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition: Updates from prior $100kWinners

Educate Lanka, 2011 3rd place winner of Tufts $100K New Ventures competition Social Track, empowers underprivileged youth by providing them access to education and employment in Sri Lanka and other developing countries. Since their victory in the competition, the organization has singed an agreement with a leading telecom provider and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Education as part of an effort to provide digital distance learning opportunities. The team participated in a panel at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2011 Global Diaspora Forum, and was a finalist at both the 2011 MassChallenge and the MIT $100K Elevator Pitch Contest. Educate Lanka is currently participating in the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative University.

iCadenza, 2009 2nd place winner of the Tufts $100K New Ventures competition Social Track, has enjoyed a successful few years working towards its goal of empowering individual classical musicians and performing arts leaders. The organization provides professional coaching, career development support, and promotional advising through individual consulting, workshops, and curriculum-based online programs. In 2011, iCadenza expanded with the launch of a second company, Cadenza Artists, a venture that provides arts management services to more than 20 artists.

KoffeeLink, 2010 2nd place winner of the Tufts $100K New Ventures competition Classic Track, has made it easier for green coffee sellers and buyers to connect. After some initial success, the company was acquired by Olam, a global supply chain management company that specializes in niche agricultural products, catering both to farms, customer-facing retailers, and all parties in between Co-founder Hayden Kwast will join Olam to help manage their ecommerce and online marketing initiatives, while co-founder Toru Mino is now working in Uganda on mobile technology products that service the bottom of the pyramid.

Relay Technology Management, 2008 1st place winner of the Tufts $100K New Ventures competition Classic Track, has developed a software application that provides competitive scientific and market data to businesses involved in the drug development process. A 2010 MassChallenge finalist, Relay recently announced partnerships with Nature Publishing Group and enterprise software company Attivio.

Roof for Two, 2011 1st place winner of the Tufts $100K New Ventures competition Classic Track, is developing a design for a motorcycle canopy to be sold in India that affords commuters protection from rain and other unfavorable weather conditions. The company has recently reached the end of their prototype development stage; beta will begin shortly, and the product is expected to go to market by May 2013. This past January, the team won first place at IIT Envision, a national product design competition.

RxKap, 2011 2nd place winner of the Tufts $100K New Ventures competition Classic Track is developing a $1 device that installs within existing pill bottles and provides verbal explanations as to proper medication use, as well as refill reminders. The company has spent this past year developing a first generation prototype, and manufacturing is expected to begin in the next few months. The company has filed two provisional patents and has successfully incorporated. At present, the RxKap team is looking to secure investor or Series A funding.

Sanergy, 2011, 1st place winner of the Tufts $100K New Ventures competition Social Track, is moving towards its long-term objective of building and scaling sanitation infrastructure in the slums of Nairobi. Presently, they have 20 fresh life toilets installed in three Nairobi slums, serving approximately 1000 people daily. The toilets are franchised out to locals in the community who run them as viable businesses, collecting waste daily, removing it from the community, and converting it into organic fertilizer. The team has grown from 8 to 35 people (80% Kenyan) in just six months. Thanks to Tufts, the organization has been able to do important work developing their land rights strategy.

The Strivers Foundation, 2009 1st place winner of the Tufts $100K New Ventures competition Social Track, aims to help medium size enterprises in Uganda grow by offering educational “Business Launch Program” workshops. The organization held its first series of classes in the summer of 2010, with six students chosen to enroll in the six-week session. Strivers provided funding to one participant’s venture, the Alloyo Electronics Company, which is still thriving today. Executive Director Jeremy Fryer-Biggs has since gone on to found his own company, Protivent, a Cambridge-based product prototyping, developing, and testing company.