Semi-Finalists Move Forward in Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition
Following a day of pitching and deliberation at the semi-finals to the Derby Entrepreneurship Center’s $100k New Ventures Competition, 14 teams are moving forward to the final stage of the business plan competition.
The variety of ideas, comprising the competition’s three tracks — General Technology, Healthcare and Life Science, and Social Impact — range from an implantable cell therapy to a sustainability-focused browser extension and beyond.
As part of the competition, participants vie for prizes totaling more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind services. At the March 11th semi-finals, a panel of industry-expert judges heard the pitches and offered valuable feedback to the teams.
Hand-in-hand with Women’s History Month, the competition furthered its commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs this year, offering two women-led teams from each track a one-year membership to WE Global Studio, a full-stack venture studio and digital start-up platform for women entrepreneurs.
As in previous years, the competition will award the $15,000 Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize which promotes the advancement of research at Tufts through projects, and the competition will also advance teams to win the Friedman Nutrition Innovation Institute (FNII) Prize, a $10,000 cash prize coupled with $25,000 in-kind legal and ideation services.
With grand prizes on the line, learn more about the finalists through excerpts of their self-submitted descriptions ahead of the $100k New Ventures Competition Finals on April 8. Register here to attend the $100k Finals.
A Day With
“A Day With empowers friends and locals to share their favorite spots - bakeries, speakeasies, hotels - by curating and exchanging authentic travel guides with like-minded explorers. You can think of A Day With as the ‘Spotify of places.’ Finding great places and travel advice is too difficult. We don't trust recommendations from random Yelp users, plus we face choice overload and we're tired of cliche experiences. On the other hand, the best way to find places we will love is just to ask friends and locals. The end result is a decentralized marketplace of local knowledge with the power to disrupt the outdated place recommendations industry.”
“ePayque is a decentralized escrow and smart contract service built on blockchain that helps companies protect themselves from fraudulent or delayed payments.”
“For food and beverage businesses, finding a manufacturing partner is difficult, time-consuming, and relationship-driven. GhostLabel solves this by providing a B2B marketplace where food and beverage entrepreneurs can get their products made on-demand. Our platform opens the food and beverage space to new entrepreneurs, driving innovation to make food and beverage products that are more delicious, better for our health, and better for the planet.”
“Markit is the app to find what to do and who to do it with by swiping on events or planning your own. We want to change the way people plan and attend events. Based in the Boston area, Markit is being used to plan anything from lunch with your friends to Greek life parties.”
“Skywalk is building a sensorized wristband that makes anyone an augmented reality native by translating hand motions into digital actions.”
Healthcare & Life Science
“10% of U.S. women are at risk of needing surgery for urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse (POP). However, surgery by nature is an invasive method to repairing these types of conditions, and for some patients, if given the choice, would opt-out of it. An alternative method to surgery is a pessary, which is a medical device used to support urinary incontinence as well as the organs in pelvic organ prolapse. However, the problem with current pessaries is that they can cause pain and discomfort for many patients, not to mention that they have not changed for nearly 30 years. Our goal is to design and develop a pessary that is not only easier and more comfortable to use, but that also aims to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) entirely...”
“Today, there are over 1.2B people with debilitating visual impairments around the world. Out of those cases, 80% could be avoided with proper health care intervention. Visilant is a digital health company spun out of Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID) and Wilmer Eye Institute by a group of engineers, physicians, and entrepreneurs in order to help eliminate avoidable blindness globally and reach patients where current outreach efforts fail. Visilant is an end-to-end ophthalmologic care management system consisting of a low-bandwidth telemedicine platform and a simple, high-quality ocular imaging device that enables eye care systems to efficiently and effectively screen and treat high volumes of patients in remote areas...”
“As a Type 1 diabetic, do you often feel burdened by having to continuously dose yourself with insulin for food and daily activities, while also having to monitor your blood sugars to stay in a healthy range? Lumilin Therapeutics is here to help with a new implantable cell therapy that will last 6 to 12 months, providing patients with a way to more tightly control their blood sugars. Lumilin can minimize potential medical consequences through a less disruptive, and more reliable, insulin treatment. Our innovative cell therapy is an optogenetic therapy that is minimally invasive and utilizes blue light to naturally enhance and expedite the production of needed insulin for diabetics...”
“According to data released from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), by the year 2050 an estimated 1 in 5 people will be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. In their lifetime 15% of all diabetic patients will develop a diabetic foot ulcer, otherwise known as a DFU: a significant and costly burden to both patient and physician. The US spends over $13 billion annually on the care of this wound. This is the same amount as what the US spent to develop the covid vaccine. That is why we, Therrapu, have designed and developed a smart bandage using clinically proven efficacious, nano-thread technology to monitor open wounds and automate medication delivery...”
“Active Heirs empowers Black heirs’ property owners in the U.S. by strengthening family cohesion and by providing families with resources and partnerships to build generational wealth. As consultants and empowerment experts assigned to each family, we help them identify hurdles, cost-effective strategies, educational resources, planning, and implementation strategies. Given the small landscape, limited number of attorneys, and advocacy organizations, our solution is to help push not only awareness but to activate heirs’ properties owners to reclaim their land, generational wealth, and status in society. Through a 12-month, 26 session curriculum, our families will focus on understanding legal frameworks and rights, developing business acumen, navigating family dynamics and unpacking intergenerational trauma, and building a diaspora support system. Active Heirs is dedicated to increasing the overall knowledge and cross-cultural engagement by100% for all of our clients.”
“Millions of gardeners across the US are moving away from pesticides and towards all-natural and sustainable methods to care for their vegetable gardens, but pest control remains a large problem. Sustainability is on the rise, and many gardeners are looking for pest control options outside of environmentally harmful pesticides. Co-Plant Seeds provides a new pest control option: companion planting. This practice of growing multiple plants together can drastically reduce pest presence and improve garden health, but there are few resources available for the common home gardener. Co-Plant Seeds reintroduces this technique through seed packets which include high-quality seeds and a digestible education of the practice and how to use it...”
“Have you ever thought about where your tires go after you’ve used them? Did you know that tires are currently being burned to generate fuel, which produces emissions comparable to fossil fuels? 1.8 billion tires reach their end of life every year, creating a crisis in the growth of tire graveyards. The largest tire graveyard in the world is in Kuwait. This tire graveyard, Sulaibiya, holds more than 42 million tires and often spontaneously catches on fire. These fires release toxic emissions, endangering the residential community only 4 miles away. NewLine Tire aims to entirely eliminate tire waste by creating a cyclical market for tires. We utilize devulcanization technology to recycle rubber and repurpose the material to the production of new tires. Our long-term goal is to create passenger tires using recycled rubber, but our initial market entry will be through bicycle tires. NewLine Tire will produce two initial products: commercial bicycle tires and mountain bicycle tires...”
“Fueled by a lack of consumer trust towards corporations, environmentally concerned individuals both lack the required transparency and knowledge to make responsible purchasing decisions. These decisions have the power to leverage companies to change unsustainable practices. Nourish is a browser extension that provides users with simple, comprehensive, and transparent information in real-time as they shop online. Nourish is more than just a simple plugin; it is a personal shopping assistant. Nourish produces a sustainability score based on a company’s environmental and social governance rating. Our proprietary algorithm scrapes the internet and analyzes data from several databases, online reviews, peer-reviewed academic literature, government and non-governmental (NGO)reports, environmental product declarations, certifications, and company-reported information. Nourish uses consumer values and preferences, demographic information, engagement across different sites, and purchasing behavior to generate the quantifiable data about consumer purchasing behavior surrounding sustainability, helping businesses go beyond corporate responsibility to make sustainability a source of value both for them and the communities they engage with...”
The STEAM Team
“We aspire to give every child, no matter their socioeconomic situation, the opportunity to develop the skills and mindsets to tackle and solve complex problems that require innovative solutions. Our [educational] kits [that we’re designing] contain original storybooks, activities that guide families through the engineering design process, and an assortment of materials to kickstart creative solutions to problems presented in our books. Our mission is to create fun and meaningful opportunities for parents and their children to practice critical thinking, creative problem solving, curiosity, and communication skills, making everyone better equipped to solve tomorrow’s problems. We bolster relationships between parents and children by embracing people’s natural tendency to play while empowering our future problem-solvers. The STEAM Team strives to attain educational equality with every purchase through our “Have Fun, Send One” program…”