Tufts University announces winners of 2017 $100k New Ventures Competition

Annual competition celebrates innovation and entrepreneurship across Tufts community
100k students
Members of the Tarsier team celebrate their first place win in the healthcare and life science category at the 2017 $100k New Ventures Business Plan Competition (Credit: Paul Rutherford, Tufts University)
April 13, 2017

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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (April 13, 2017) -- A group developing an accessible headset to diagnose and monitor glaucoma, an enterprise that designs and produces socially responsible footwear, and a company that sanitizes and repurposes urban wastewater were among the top winners of the 13th annual $100k New Ventures Competition, organized by the Gordon Institute's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at Tufts University. The annual competition draws entries from alumni, faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students from across the university.

Seventeen finalist teams competed for prizes and in-kind services totaling more than $100,000. Winners represented an array of academic disciplines and solutions for a variety of societal challenges. Teams competed in three tracks: healthcare and life science, social impact and general/high-tech.

First place winners included:

Tarsier, which is developing an accurate and accessible headset that can aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. Tarsier's system eliminates several layers of bias and gives medical professionals higher quality data to make more informed decisions about their patients. Tarsier is focused on reaching a wider range of audiences, specifically those at higher risk.

Adelante Shoe Co., a new social enterprise that creates socially responsible footwear that does not compromise without compromising on quality, style, or price. Adelante works with craftsmen in Guatemala to hand-make modern classic footwear, and promises to pay all laborers and craftsmen living wages. Adelante Shoe Co. was among the winners of the 2016 Tufts Ideas Competition, which provides early-stage startups with funding and support as a springboard to success in the $100K New Ventures Competition.

Author and entreprenuer Seth Godin (center-left), the 2017 Alan Shaprio Entrepreneurial Lecture speaker, talks with Tufts student entrepreneurs at the 2017 $100k New Ventures Business Plan Competition (Credit: Paul Rutherford, Tufts University)

Epic CleanTec, an innovative urban wastewater management company that installs on-site treatment systems into individual buildings. The Epic system collects and processes all of the building's wastewater, converting the organic solids into a high quality fertilizer that can be used to grow crops, enhance gardens, and beautify green spaces. The separated water, with the solids now removed, can be treated and reused for toilet flushing, irrigation, and cooling towers.

"With entries from across the university community, the Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition celebrates the full spectrum of innovation at the university," said Inge Milde, director and senior lecturer of the Tufts Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program. "The competition provides a platform for students, faculty and alumni to take their research and entrepreneurial ideas to the next level by providing mentorship, guidance and financial support.”

Successful entrepreneur and author Seth Godin, a Tufts alumnus, delivered the 2017 Alan Shapiro Entrepreneurial Lecture as part of the award ceremony. 

Corporate sponsors for this competition included Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati; Lowenstein Sandler; Cummings Property; WilmerHale; Shoobx; RedBand; The Capital Network; and Durable Creative.

For a complete listing of all of the winners in the 2017 competition go to: http://gordon.tufts.edu/competitions/2017-winners.

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About Tufts University

Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, 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 schools is widely encouraged.