Tufts Gordon Institute Names 12 Finalists in University's Tenth $100K New Ventures Business Plan Competitions

Tufts' Entrepreneurial Leadership Program also announces winners of New Ideas Competition
March 17, 2014

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Alexander Reid

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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Twelve finalists in Tufts University's 10th annual business plan competitions will present their plans to judges on April 7 on the university's Medford/Somerville campus. Six teams are competing in the Classic Venture Business Plan Competition and six are competing in Social Entrepreneurship.

The 12 finalists were chosen from a field of proposals that reflects a range of academic disciplines, including medicine, biomedical engineering, technology, and bioengineering.  In addition, Tufts' Entrepreneurial Leadership Program announced the winners of its first New Ideas Competition which is geared towards encouraging business ideas in their early stages.

Corporate sponsors for the competitions include Allied Minds, Burns & Levinson, The Capital Network, Cooley LLP, Cummings Properties, MassChallenge and LaunchPlan, Loupe Consulting, and Lowenstein Sandler LLP.

"Tufts $100K New Ventures competition is the culmination of the vast variety of innovative ideas being cultivated across academic disciplines, from international relations to medicine, at Tufts University. Few other university-wide events bring together as many Tufts undergraduates, graduate students, Ph.D. candidates, faculty and alumni," said Inge Milde, manager of the $100K competition and an Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty member. "Tufts' entrepreneurial ecosystem has rapidly expanded in the 10 years since the competition launched and I'm excited for the next decade of entrepreneurial growth at the university."

Coordinated through the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at Tufts University's Gordon Institute, the two competitions allow students, recent alumni and faculty from schools across the university to compete.

Winners of the $100K will be announced at the 10-Year $100K Anniversary celebration on April 8 where President Anthony P. Monaco and Boston Globe columnist and blogger, Scott Kirsner will be speaking. For more details and to RSVP visit: tufts100k2014.eventbrite.com

Finalists in the Classic Venture Competition are:

Benevolent Technologies for Health, presented by Tufts alumnus Jeremy Jo along with Ramin Abrishamian, Jason Hill and Liza Tsai —Benevolent Technologies proposes to develop low-cost, comfortable prosthetic liners for amputees.

GearCommons, presented by Tufts alumni James Rogers and Michael Brown, along with Joel Weber—GearCommons proposes a peer-to-peer website for customers seeking to rent outdoor gear.

Protector Medical, presented by Tufts School of Engineering seniors Briana Bouchard, Diana Burns and Claire Rogers— Protector Medical proposes a safer method to secure intravenous catheters while minimizing the overall number of needle insertions for pediatric patients in intensive care units.

Spectrasilk, presented by Biomedical Engineering Professors Fiorenzo Omenetto and David Kaplan;  Jonathan Kluge, a research associate at Tufts School of Engineering, and Keleigh Sanford, a Tufts graduate and department manager for biomedical engineering —Spectrasilk proposes using silk as a matrix to stabilize blood and saliva for on-demand screening of common diseases and infections without constant refrigeration.

Stwist.com, presented by Tufts engineering management graduate student Brian Kaufman—Stwist.com proposes to create a mass marketing software program that will deliver emails during the times at which recipients are likely to be answering emails.

Veraquel Technologies Inc., presented by Tufts postdoctoral student in chemistry Vittorio Montanari and Tufts University Chemistry Professor Krishna Kumar along with Vijay Murthy.—Veraquel Technologies Inc., proposes a technology for manufacturing peptide drugs.

Finalists in the Social Entrepreneurship Competition are:

AutismSees, presented by Tufts School of Engineering sophomore Danielle Feerst along with Catherine Mitchell, and Devika Patel—AutismSees proposes to develop a software application for users with autism.  The goal is to help users develop public speaking and presentation skills with reduced anxiety.

Clair de Lune-Solar Light Distributors, presented by Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy students Andrew Lala and Tommy Galloway—Clair de Lune proposes using buses and taxis in Sub-Saharan Africa to distribute solar-powered lights.

Evaptainers, presented by Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy students Michael Joyce, Ravi Kaneriya and Quang Truong, along with Simmy Willemann and Ed Winters—Evaptainers proposes to develop a refrigeration system for shipment of locally grown produce in developing countries.

Rugged Communications, presented by Tufts alumnus Alex Blum, along with Noah Haas and Greg Cherkowski—Rugged Communications proposes to develop solar-powered wireless communications services for rural communications with low populations.

ScriptEd Boston, presented by Tufts alumnus Rebecca Novak, along with Maurya Couvares—ScriptEd proposes to develop computer programming courses that will be taught to high school students in low-income districts around Boston.

Virtudent, presented by alumnus Dr. Hitesh Tolani, a chief resident at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine along with Shant Hagopian and Thomas Filip—Virtudent proposes to develop a cloud-based dentistry system for patients in areas that lack dental health services.

Separately, the Gordon Institute also selected three winners in the Ideas Competition. The judges were members of Tufts faculty, entrepreneurial alumni, as well as professionals from venture capital and angel funds

Winners in this competition were announced in February and received a $1,000 cash prize for their proposals.  They are:

Trapsaver, presented by Tufts School of Engineering seniors David Liebenberg and Willem Sandberg—Trapsaver proposes to produce a device that will help commercial fishermen recover traps they use to catch fish.

Hadori Catheter, presented by Tufts Medical Center Clinical Associate Thormika Keo and Tufts Medical Center Clinical Instructor Diana Winston—Hadori Catheter proposes a device
to help physicians visualize procedures during colonoscopy.

Syria Bicycle Company, presented by Tufts Fletcher School graduate student Ely Teitsworth— Syria Bicycle Company proposes to employ displaced refugees in the Zaatari camp through bicycle manufacturing.

Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's eight schools is widely encouraged.