Tufts Entrepreneurs Tackle Big Problems at Ideas Competition Finals
Every impactful venture begins with an innovative idea. On November 8, the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts (DEC) hosted the finals of its ninth annual Ideas Competition, offering prizes totalling $2,500 to the winning teams. The Ideas Competition asks teams to identify a problem worth solving, ideate an effective and viable solution, and deliver a 3-minute pitch of their idea to a panel of judges followed by a Q&A session.
The Ideas Competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at Tufts, with no experience necessary. Students interested in participating are supported through ideation workshops and Ideas Clinic events, 1-to-1 coaching sessions, and access to the resources within DEC’s Entrepreneurship Learning Center. Many winners of the Ideas Competition take the experience they’ve gained and go on to compete in the $100k New Ventures Competition.
It was a full house at the Ideas Competition Finals! Audience members spent the night listening intently to each team’s pitch as they weighed their choice for the Audience Favorite award.
A panel of judges asked questions to discover more about teams’ venture ideas, provided invaluable feedback to teams, and ultimately voted on the night’s winners.
Learn more about this year’s winning teams:
Moovu (1st Place)
Moovu empowers wheelchair users to lead longer, happier, and healthier lives through fitness, friends, and freedom. Most gyms are “accessible,” but that accessibility sputters out as soon as wheelchair users get through the door. The inequity of public fitness and negative correlation between fitness and rehab ostracizes the differently-abled, deterring them from living active lifestyles. By sacrificing fitness, wheelchair users pay a hefty toll: 62% obesity rate, 40% depression rate, and a 26 year life expectancy reduction.
Moovu redefines fitness for the differently-abled by offering users a virtually integrated hand-cycling experience from the comfort of their home. Users can connect their handcycle to a motion input device which transmits physical output to a virtual setting, allowing them to handcycle through a setting of their choice, be it mountains or beaches. “Moovas,” as Moovu likes to call its users, can create cycling groups to race, climb, or slow cruise with. Moovu gives the paralyzed the chance to “Moov” at their own pace with whoever, whenever, wherever.
Lynx (2nd Place)
Currently, veterinarians and veterinary clients use biopsies and FNA (fine needle aspirate) tests to diagnose canine skin cancer. While accurate between 92-100%, biopsies are extremely costly, with the price per lesion diagnosed normally ranging from $300-2000, depending on surgical costs involved and individual clinic prices. Additionally, biopsies are time-consuming for veterinarians, leading to lost time for other appointments and procedures. Late diagnoses and ultimately worse prognoses due to expensive procedures can also result in lost patients (and clients).
Lynx proposes a noninvasive, affordable, and efficient alternative. Vets would submit a picture of the skin lesion to be diagnosed and respond to a brief multiple-choice questionnaire on the patient’s health. The AI model interprets this information and ultimately suggests one of nine possible diagnoses for the lesion, some benign and some cancerous.
Polar Privacy (3rd Place)
Polar Privacy is the ultimate solution for safeguarding your digital footprint. The threat of deepfake content and privacy breaches is on the rise, leaving individuals and businesses vulnerable to unauthorized sharing and misuse of personal and professional content. Polar Privacy offers a comprehensive solution, allowing users to input specific data and create a personalized profile to take action against privacy breaches. Whether users need to issue takedown notices or simply maintain oversight of your online presence, Polar Privacy has them covered.
In a time when information and internet privacy are fundamental rights, Polar Privacy seeks to bridge the gap between the threats users face and the tools at their disposal. Polar Privacy is committed to providing individuals and businesses with the means to regain control over their online lives, ensuring that their digital identities and copyrighted work are protected.
Rent Right (Most Promising Undergraduate Team)
Families benefiting from Section 8 and other subsidized housing programs frequently encounter discrimination from real estate professionals and landlords due to their socioeconomic status, creating significant barriers to finding suitable housing. Subsidized housing beneficiaries are frustrated with the process and the poor industry standards.
Our solution alleviates the stress of finding suitable housing by introducing a comprehensive platform that streamlines the entire renting process, offering all necessary steps within a single, user-friendly service.
SkillBridge (Audience Favorite)
The ancient Indian caste system, with its roots stretching back 3,000 years, remains a defining structure in many lives. A significant number of lower-caste individuals face poverty due to stark resource limitations.
While engaged with an NGO, SkillBridge founder Prudhvi Raj Dasari spearheaded a pilot to mitigate these employment disparities, focusing on graduates from tier-2 and tier-3 colleges. This pilot enrolled 300 students, of which a significant 286 were from lower castes. They were rigorously trained in both technical and soft skills, resulting in a promising 50% placement rate, with 146 of those placed hailing from lower castes. Motivated by this success, Prudhvi envisioned a platform that would provide quality, affordable training to those who, due to socio-economic constraints, missed out on elite educational institutions.
The winning teams and judges at the end of the night.