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Read the full Tufts Now press release of 2016 winners here.

Winners of the 2016 General/High-Tech Ventures Track:

First Place

Mimir Insights Mimir helps companies selling equipment and services to scientists find the best customers for their products, grow their existing customer base, and build lasting relationships. 

Mimir Insights Team: Jon Arbaugh, A17; John Bailey, A18; Gabriella Bova, A18; Arlo Clarke, A17;  Qais Iqbal, A17; Collette King, A17; Ethan Kopit, A17; Ian Leaman, A17; Ian Luo, E17; Abdisalan Mohamud, E17

Second Place

Hire Notes

Musicians are relying on live performances for income, a $25B industry growing 5% each year. When we graduated from the Tufts/New England Conservatory program we saw how daunting managing your live performances can be. Hire Notes makes hiring a musician simple through a web and mobile marketplace app. Musicians use us to manage their performance details and get paid on time. Customers use us to find and hire musicians in an accessible manner. Since we launched beta, over 200 musicians signed up, including Grammy nominees. Musicians have earned $30,000, and we’ve been growing 200% monthly on average. @shaheenlr @weldware

Hire Notes Team: Alex Barstow, A12; Shaheen Lavie Rouse, A12

Third Place

Rugged Communications

Rugged Communications develops solar-powered, telecommunications infrastructure for the most rural places on earth. With superior radio basestation technology, proprietary site selection platform, and a novel partnership model, we profitably install, operate, and maintain rural telecommunications networks where few others can, generating revenues for telecommunications operator partners, producing strong returns for investors, and increasing the economic, educational, and health resources available to the rural poor. Rugged has covered 20,000+ people in Panama and will cover an additional 1MM+ people in Mexico and Colombia by Q4 2016. @ruggedcomms

Rugged Communications Team: Alex Blum, A10; Greg Hering, A10



Bendi is a mobile application that allows you to receive instantaneous feedback about your outfits. Whether you are shopping, attending an event, or choosing your daily outfit, Bendi enables you to be only a few clicks away from receiving feedback on whatever you are wearing. You can just take a picture of your outfit, share it with your friends and/or the app community, and within minutes, receive an objective rating on your outfit. Bendi also acts as an outfit discovery platform containing present and past outfits sorted by clothing type, location, and event.

Bendi Team: Austin Bendetson, A17; Nik Telkedzhiev, A16

Hujambo (Winner: Ricci Prize)

We make smartphones for everyone. Our goal is to connect the entire world to the Internet, by providing low-cost but high-tech devices to enable consumers to navigate the 21st century. Our smartphone costs $10, and provides cellular service, messaging capability, data access, and access to every app. By creating our own operating system, which perfectly integrates with the hardware, we are able to provide a cheaper product with more features than even the best devices on the market.

Hujambo Team: Shehryar Malik, E19; Daniel McCormack, A19


Many manufacturers in Kenya have poor distribution channels for their goods. In addition, wholesalers and retailers struggle to discover and acquire goods in a timely and efficient manner. This leads to loss of revenue for both manufacturers and wholesalers. Taduka uses a mobile based platform to establish a network of wholesalers and manufacturers, aggregate products from different manufacturers, and deliver them to wholesalers in a timely and efficient manner.

Taduka Team: Collins Sirmah, A16; Bryson Wong, A17; Faith C. Biegon

Winners of the Social Impact Track

First Place


ULink lays the foundation in behavioral changes by serving as an agency for students and providing administrators with an efficient, more effective way to manage and communicate with students. ULink’s holistic solution includes: 1) The online resource center and integrated profile that guides students through the transfer process. The integrated profile keeps students on track with their progression, while simultaneously sending the data back to administrators. 2) Students receive tailored messages mimicking the nudges of a live coach and pairs them with an in-person mentor. The program has a built-in reward system that incentivizes students to complete tasks and stay on track. 3) Automated mobile texting between administrators and students that establishes reliable and adaptable communication.

Ulink Team: Philip Ellison, A16; Parisa Esmali

Second Place

Blue Water Metrics

Blue Water Metrics (BWM) is creating an ocean data revolution by equipping ferries, fishing boats, and cargo ships with networked sensors to transform them into research vessels. Climate change research, fisheries management, and weather forecasting currently have limited means of acquiring ocean data. Data gathered by satellite is expensive and of limited quality. Research ships are expensive and limited in scope. BWM will bridge these divides by providing high-quality data over large areas to understand what is happening in the oceans.

Blue Water Metrics Team: Matthew Merighi, F16; Sea Thomas F02; Caroline Troein, Researcher, Institute for Business in the Global Context, Fletcher School, F13; Rockford Weitz, Entrepreneur Coach, Fletcher School, F03

Third Place


Uliza is a voice-enabled internet search service for the 4.5 billion people who are off-net because of constraints in infrastructure and language. Uliza’s automated services are accessed through a toll-free call, allowing anyone with a phone to ask a question and receive an answer in their own language. We will license Uliza to telecom companies, who will receive a powerful value-added tool for customer acquisition and an inbound marketing channel. Retailers, NGOs, and governments will use Uliza to provide voice-messages to callers, inserted between the caller’s question and their answer. Uliza is a market-based solution to democratizing the internet. @TeamUliza

Uliza Team: Grant Bridgman, F16; Janeth Jepkogei, A17; Abhishek Maity, F16


PowerShare International

In our political system, it is far too often the voices of the loud and angry that outweigh the voices of the many. PowerShare provides a timely solution to this problem in the form of a mobile platform where voters and their representatives share and prioritize specific, measurable, time-bound goals for their community. Unlike the host of qualitative platforms out there, PowerShare quantifies what needs to be done and how many voters support each objective, so elected officials can stop relying on ideology and start looking at the numbers that should be driving policy.

PowerShare International Team: Tarun Gopalakrishnan, F16; Nathan Justice, A17; James Powers, F16; Jack Whitacre, F16


Lack of access to information, particularly in economically poorer communities, affects one’s ability to take advantage of available resources. Illiteracy limits access to news via print media, SMS, or the internet. Programs being broadcasted over radio and television are largely regional or national in content. Hyper-local issues affecting people’s day-to-day lives such as local healthcare, infrastructure, or corruption often fail to get enough coverage. Rashmi is an innovative market driven media program that addresses this challenge and provides a platform for the unheard voices. With its low-cost scalable model, Rashmi aims to be a pioneer in the hyper-local news space globally.

Rashmi Team: Alisha Guffey, F16; Rajiv Nair, F16; Sreedhar Nemmani, F16


SHINE On is a nonprofit organization that bridges education, research, culture sharing, and global public service across academic disciplines, and across the world. SHINE On partners its university chapters with international NGOs and prepares interdisciplinary student researchers with project management skills needed to execute innovation with a person-centered focus. Student innovation must be solar-based and user-centered. Communities being engaged will be directly involved in all stages of project planning and implementing and will be provided the full knowledge, training, and follow up support needed to sustain their solutions.

SHINE On Team: Whitney Ceesay, A16

Winners of the Health & Life Sciences Track

First Place


Each year over 190,000 brain tumors are diagnosed in the U.S. An MRI guides treatment, however it is limited in providing only anatomical information. Tumor progression can occur well before increases in tumor size are detectable. BrainSpec is a software platform that enables the accurate and non-invasive diagnosis of brain disorders using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Our solution allows clinicians to utilize MRS technology by incorporating over 15 years of clinical experience into an automated web-based software platform. BrainSpec can aid in diagnosing a wide range of neurological disorders including brain tumor progression, Alzheimer’s disease, temporal lobe epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.

BrainSpec Team: Alexandra Zimmerman E09, EG12; Alexander Lin; Ben Rowland

Second Place


The severe diarrheal disease cholera afflicts approximately 4 million people worldwide every year. Left untreated, it can cause death in up to forty percent of cases. PhagePro has developed Prophalytic-Vc to stop the rapid spread of cholera within communities. Our intervention uses bacteriophages, viruses that specifically kill bacteria, to eradicate cholera from the body. By preventing the spread of cholera, it will stop epidemics from taking hold in the population. Prophalytic-Vc is the first targeted, rapid-acting preventative for a bacterial disease. Using this platform, PhagePro will contribute to the eradication of cholera in disaster-stricken and impoverished regions.

PhagePro Team: Lynne Caims, Postdoctoral Fellow, Tufts University School of Medicine; Andrew Camilli, Professor, Tufts Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Minmin Yen, Tufts Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 5G

Third Place


Atanse develops neurosurgical instruments for biotechnology companies seeking to deliver therapeutics in the brain. Unlike traditional drug delivery devices, our products enable greater precision while reducing trauma to healthy brain tissue. Our lead device will help advance new therapies to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and traumatic brain injury. We have partnered with a contract manufacturer to produce our device, and have demonstrated product safety and efficacy in multiple preclinical studies.

Atanse Team: Adam Leonard, EG17; Miles Cunningham; Michael Kelly


Cocoon Biotech, Inc.

Cocoon Biotech, Inc. aims to use groundbreaking silk treatments to aid patients suffering from debilitating illnesses. Our primary formulation is a silk hydrogel that aims to alleviate pain and inflammation from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease precipitated by aging, obesity, or injury. Current treatment options can be ineffective, only last a short time, or lead to detrimental side effects. Cocoon has expanded on Tufts silk protein technology to develop an injectable treatment that mitigates these issues.

Cocoon Biotech, Inc. Team: Nick Blasioli, E05, EG15; Scott Delisle, A15

Peri-Free Systems (Liquipaste)

Many years of experience in the field of dentistry and periodontology, coupled with a deep commitment to improving the status of oral/systemic and public health, has guided the development of a first-to-market, new approach to enhanced oral hygiene and gum and tissue care. The science of oral health has advanced today such to provide important early detection of major diseases affecting the whole body. Next generation habit in oral hygiene will not only be transformational in stemming the spread of common viruses and bacteria, but will also pave the path toward the future of fully integrated dental and medical healthcare.

Peri-Free Systems Team: Mary Marefat, Clinical Asst. Professor, Tufts School of Dental Medicine; Ali Borojerdi; Paul Borojerdi; Sina Hedayatnia

Smart Sutures

Non-healing diabetic wounds are a major health crisis. Infection in poorly maintained wounds is a major cause of amputations worldwide. We propose smarter wound care with Smart Sutures integrated onto bandages to monitor wound healing status in real-time. Our sutures sense established biomarkers of wound healing and transmits this information wirelessly to a physician over the Internet, thus monitoring wound status before serious infection arises. Smart Sutures have an integrated recall system to schedule timely follow-up appointments, mitigating risk for doctors and hospitals from patient recall errors, and improving the cost and efficiency of wound treatment.

Smart Sutures Team: Sameer Sonkusale, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering, Tufts University; Meera Punjiya, School of Engineering 4G; Pooria Mostafalu, EG15; Saroj Rout, EG16