Tufts $100k Finalists Announced

Aspiring Entrepreneurs Advance to the 2024 Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition Finals

Entrepreneurs from across the Tufts community pitched their innovative ventures at the hybrid competition Semifinals.

On March 15, thirty teams of Tufts entrepreneurs competed in the Tufts $100k New Venture Competition Semifinals for a chance at cash prizes and in-kind services valued at over $250,000. Each team that reached the Semifinals also received a $500 cash prize!

Hosted by the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, the Tufts $100k offers aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their innovative ventures to a panel of judges in one of three unique tracks: General, Healthcare & Life Science, or Social Impact. After honing their business plans through the competition application process and coaching sessions with the Derby Entrepreneurship Center’s Entrepreneurs in Residence, the Semifinalist teams gathered at the Joyce Cummings Center to pitch their plans.

Student presenting at Tufts $100k

This year’s teams brought a wealth of ingenuity and creativity to the competition, pitching ideas ranging from gamified dating apps, to home test kits for Lyme disease, to platforms that make navigating your environment safer for everyone.

After a difficult deliberation, the competition judges selected five teams from each track to advance to the live Finals. Read on to learn more about the finalists through excerpts of their self-submitted descriptions as they prepare for the $100k New Ventures Competition Finals on April 5! Register here to attend the $100k Finals.

Group photo of students at Tufts $100k



"The future of sunscreen is coming."

Barlume is building the next generation of sunscreen that will be safer for people and safer for the planet. Barlume has discovered a plant, Lunaria annua, whose fruits both reflect visible light and absorb UVA and UVB light. The dried fruits can be mechanically milled into microparticles and directly combined with a matrix to fabricate sunscreen formulations without the need for chemical synthesis or functionalization. This is a unique opportunity to reinvent the way we think about planet-safe sunscreen while working with 100% cellulose/lignin-based materials.

Chia Learning, Corp.

"Personalizing Language Mastery with AI Companions."

Chia uniquely addresses the gap in language learning apps by focusing on speaking skills through AI-powered personalization. Chia’s solution provides real-time feedback on pronunciation and grammar, adapting to the user's learning style and emotional state. Founded by experts with a blend of skills in education, computer science, and AI ethics, Chia is poised to redefine language learning. Starting with the ESL market in the US, particularly among the Japanese community, Chia plans to scale globally, leveraging our innovative technology to offer an immersive, adaptive learning experience.

Date Like Goblins

"Gaming is the Solution to the Dating App Paradox."

Dating apps are hitting new lows, singles are burnt out and seeking alternative methods to connect with each other. Date Like Goblins allows people to identify and meet new people within the comfort of their favorite video games. For those only looking for new friends to game with, they’ll be able to jump on via the Game Like Goblins– the same service, with different filters.


"The Glute-Free Experience - Where Gluten-Free is the Norm."

GlutenFreedomForAll provides an on-the-go snacking solution for all those who are gluten-free. For those on the gluten-free diet, it can be nearly impossible to find safe snacks to eat while traveling or on-the-go. GlutenFreedomForAll curates gluten-free snack packs filled with 5-6 safe-for-celiac snacks so that there is always an option available. GlutenFreedomForAll is  currently in hotels, universities, convenience stores, and airports nationwide, and plans to continue expanding into other grab-and-go locations so that people who need to be gluten-free never have to stress about finding safe snacks. A portion of all profits is donated to help fund celiac disease research and efforts to combat food insecurity.


"Improving the hiring process for candidates and firms using a double-sided marketplace."

SymbiMatch is a platform/marketplace that provides a means for candidates and firms to get optimal matches for open roles. Currently, the process of applying for a job consists of three parts for an applicant: time to apply, time to prepare, and time to interview. SymbiMatch aims to shrink the time associated with both the first and third steps by allowing candidates to apply for many jobs at the same time and by allowing for interview overlap across the jobs they are applying for.

Audience at Tufts $100k

Healthcare & Life Science


"Silk Solutions for Burn Wounds."

Bombyx is a groundbreaking venture set to revolutionize the field of burn care by addressing the significant pain points associated with traditional treatments. Bombyx’s innovative solution, a silk fibroin protein-based spray dressing, is designed to alleviate the physical pain from frequent redressing, reduce the risk of infection that can lead to sepsis, and prevent excessive fluid loss that results in hypovolemic shock.  


"Saving the Game: AI Sideline Concussion Assessment."

In the United States alone, between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur each year, with half of them going unreported or undetected. Current methods for sideline concussion assessment are inconsistent, performed manually, and not integrated well, leaving a significant gap in athlete safety. The Integrated Neurological Screening for In-Game Head Trauma, or INSIGHT, tool aims to address this critical issue by developing a mobile app that provides integrated sideline concussion tests, including a first-of-its-kind AI pupillometric assessment. By making advanced concussion assessment technology accessible and affordable, we aim to better protect athletes and bolster athletic programs.


"We improve access to medical care with our home-test kits for Lyme disease."

Lyme disease is the most common tickborne disease in both the United States and Europe. Current diagnosis methods are slow and costly, resulting in the spread of infection and causing long-term health complications. LymeAlert, a diverse group comprising individuals with various skill sets, is developing an affordable and accessible home-test kit to reduce the prevalence of systemic and chronic Lyme in the community. The core technology is based on surface plasmon-enhanced fluorescence from gold nanoparticle coated with porous silica. This hybrid nanoparticle is capable of detecting the protein responsible for Lyme disease, resulting in a visible color change that facilitates early diagnosis and prompt treatment of Lyme disease.


"Revolutionizing Microbiome Therapeutics."

Microvitality is revolutionizing therapeutic development within Pharma with its 3D-printed, biocompatible gut microbiome sampling pill, allowing clinical researchers to noninvasively collect a sample of the entire gastrointestinal tract, predominantly the small intestine, which has been largely inaccessible so far. Research on the microbiome is becoming increasingly prevalent, highlighting its pivotal role in regulating digestion, metabolism, immune functions, and even mental health and neurological disorders. Consequently, the potential for groundbreaking insights and therapeutic applications continues to grow, positioning microbiome-related studies at the forefront of medical innovation. Microvitality aims to uncover the mysterious contents of the microbiome.


"We reintroduce meaningful connections to communities impacted by spinal cord injury through interactive goal-sharing, storytelling, and activity prompting."

Every year, spinal cord injury paralyzes 18,000 Americans. As soon as their spinal cord is broken, their social life breaks with it. This psychologically devastates SCI survivors and their loved ones, severely impacting their ability to recover physically and mentally. Moova’s platform reintroduces meaningful connection to SCI-damaged communities through interactive goal sharing, story telling, and activity prompts. Each week, users are posed with time-sensitive challenges revolving around goals, stories, or activities, rallying loved ones around a mission in real time. Moova links the hands and lightens the hearts of loved ones as they navigate the mountain of SCI recovery - together.

Kevin Oye speaking to audience at Tufts $100k

Social Impact


"Sustaining hygiene and health education through a soap-making social enterprise in rural Rwanda."

In Rwanda, 55% of the population lives under the poverty line. Musanze is one of the most affected districts, where many families struggle to buy soap, affecting their health and education. Without soap, children are more vulnerable to diseases, absenteeism, and dropout, leading to a state of cyclical poverty. Isuku, or “cleanliness” in Kinyarwanda, Rwanda’s native language, aims to improve hygiene and disease prevention among Musanze primary schools through a soap making social enterprise. Isuku will train and employ vulnerable community members, especially women, in soap production, creating jobs as well as ensuring program sustainability through revenue generation and reinforced hygiene education coupled with soap provision.


"Seamlessly Transitioning Young Computer Science Students from Block to Text Programming."

Patch addresses a critical challenge in computer science education: the daunting leap from block-based coding, like Scratch, to text-based languages such as Python. Many middle school students have difficulty learning professional text-based programming languages after coding with block-based platforms made specifically for young learners. Enter Patch: an innovative, free, and open-source environment that simplifies this transition. By correlating Scratch blocks with Python syntax, Patch transforms the intimidating into the intuitive.


"Curated by women, for women."

Sahā addresses a critical issue faced by young women in emerging countries, such as India, where proper women’s health education is notably lacking. This deficiency leads to a range of problems, including poor mental health, unhealthy relationships, and increased health risks, largely due to cultural stigmas that inhibit proper education in schools. Sahā, an interactive online platform, emerges as a solution to promote awareness and understanding of women's health among these young women. It fosters a supportive community where women can comfortably ask intimate questions and share personal experiences, contributing to a more informed and health-conscious society.


"Walk Confidently, Explore Fearlessly, Striide Purposefully."

Striide is a social enterprise aimed at empowering individuals who feel a lack of control of their situational circumstances. In nearly 500 customer interviews conducted, people, especially women, express a profound concern over their personal safety when alone in public, leading to a heightened feeling of anxiety, discomfort, and perception of danger. Beyond the emotional impact, the fear of being targeted significantly limits the experiences women are willing to try. Striide is enabling users to be more aware of their surroundings so that they can make informed decisions and feel comfortable while navigating their areas.


"Bridging the gap between people & power."

Voter is a mobile app and web platform that confronts a critical democratic challenge - a staggering 55% of voters express feelings of disengagement (Pew). This is particularly pronounced among Millennials and Gen Z, who make up the largest voting segment yet report the highest levels of apathy. Fueling this disconnection is widespread misinformation, deepening political polarization, and a pervasive sense that the political system no longer reflects the will or needs of the average person. Voter’s mission is to bridge this gap, leveraging AI to personalize the political landscape for each user, ensuring that their values align with their representatives, and providing unbiased, clear information on issues.

To learn more about the Finalist teams and the Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition, please click here.

Don't miss the exciting culmination of the Tuts $100k New Ventures Competition: register today for the Live Finals on April 5!