Former Pepsi Co. President and Apple CEO John Sculley to Keynote Alan Shapiro Entrepreneurial Lecture Series as Part of Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition

Tufts University's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program announces 18 finalist teams in competition

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (March 30, 2016)— American businessman and entrepreneur John Sculley will speak on  "Purpose Led Innovation" at the Alan Shapiro Entrepreneurial Lecture Series April 7 at 6:00p.m. on Tufts University’s Medford/Somerville campus. The lecture is part of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Showcase, which includes the awards celebration for the 12th annual $100K New Ventures Competition on April 6. Other entrepreneurial prizes celebrated include the Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize, the Montle Prize, and the Fletcher D-Prize. The competition, coordinated by the Tufts’ Gordon Institute’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program allows students, recent alumni and faculty from schools across the university to compete.

John SculleyJohn Sculley

All events are free to Tufts’ faculty and students.  Members of the general public can also attend.  Registration is available here. Members of the news media who would like to attend  the competition and/or the lecture should contact Katie Cinnamond Benoit at 617-627-4703 or Patrick Collins at 617-627-4173.

Sculley’s speech and the $100K competition are part of a weeklong series of entrepreneurial events at Tufts, including the School of Engineering Dean’s Lecture Series, featuring Jeff Rothschild, former vice president of engineering at Facebook, to be held April 4 at noon, and the Karol Professorship lecture, featuring School of Engineering Dean Jianmin Qu, to be held April 8 at 4:30 p.m.

Sculley started his career at the Pepsi-Cola Company where he ultimately served as their youngest-ever president. He launched the highly successful Pepsi Generation and Pepsi Challenge campaigns, both of which tapped into consumer experience and helped Pepsi become the largest-selling consumer packaged goods brand in America. He went on to become the CEO of Apple, where he was recruited by Steve Jobs. He is currently focused on sharing his experiences with future entrepreneurs and companies that are not afraid to take risks and adapt to change.

"We are honored and pleased to have John Sculley speaking this year at the Tufts Entrepreneurship Showcase,” said Inge Milde, director and senior lecturer of the Tufts Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program. “His enthusiasm for advancing the state of the art in biomedical research, technology, and innovation for social impact mirror Tufts’ unique blend of entrepreneurship and leadership."

The Alan Shapiro Entrepreneurial Lecture Series was established by the Shapiro family in memory of the late Alan Shapiro. The series affords students and alumni the opportunity to hear from distinguished guests who are recognized for their achievement and expertise as entrepreneurial leaders. This lecture series honors Shapiro’s legacy by showcasing entrepreneurs whose stories about disruptive innovations, effective change-making and leadership can inspire students and alumni about what is possible.

As a part of the Tufts' Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, 18 finalist teams were chosen in late February to advance in the $100k New Ventures Competition, which is geared towards encouraging business ideas in their early stages. These final teams will deliver presentations to a panel of judges and audience members April 6, full details accessible here. Winners of the competition will be announced on April 7 after the Shapiro Lecture.

The competition finalists were chosen in three different tracks: health & life science, social impact and general/high tech.

Finalists in the life science track are:

  • Atanse – enables the treatment of devastating neurological diseases through pioneering drug delivery technology;
  • BrainSpec – software platform that enables efficient, accurate and non-invasive diagnosis of brain disorders;
  • Cocoon Biotech, Inc.- helps to fill a void for patients suffering with osteoarthritis, which currently only has a short-term symptomatic relief; uses innovative therapeutics to restore independence and alleviate suffering for millions of people;
  • Peri-Free Systems (Liquipaste) – allows dentists to provide individualized toothpastes for their patients and an easier and more economical and hygienic way to dispense it;
  • PhagePro – reduces the spread of cholera in disadvantaged communities through a product that helps kill Vibrio cholera, the causative agent of cholera;
  • Smart Sutures – proposes wound care with smart, real-time wound monitoring. Smart Sutures sense established biomarkers of wound healing and transmits this information wirelessly to a physician over the Internet, thus monitoring wound status before serious infection arises.

Finalists in the social impact track are:

  • Blue Water Metrics (BWM) – creates an ocean data revolution by equipping ocean vessels with smart sensors connected to a powerful cloud database;
  • PowerShare International – offers a mobile platform where voters and elected officials communicate and prioritize their community's goals in real time;
  • Rashmi – through a TV platform, allows people to bring forward the most pressing issues they face and seek solutions within their own communities;
  • S.H.I.N.E. On: Solar Harnessing for Income, Nutrition, and Empowerment – empowers rural agrarian communities, through women and youth, to feed their families, increase their nutrition, generate income, build community and gain confidence through solar preservation of their overabundant harvests;
  • ULink – integrates end-to-end service to alleviate the counseling gap between community college students and community college transfer advisers;
  • Uliza – allows anyone with a phone to call a toll-free number, ask a question in their own language and receive an answer, for free.

Finalists in general/high-tech track are:

  • Bendi –invites users to receive instant feedback on their outfits and to provide it to others through a mobile application;
  • Hire Notes – makes hiring a musician for events such as weddings easy and accessible and guarantees musicians on-time payment online;
  • Hujambo – provides inexpensive, quality smart phones to create the next wave of major internet growth; utilizes 3-D printing and smaller, more compact circuit boards to develop these cost-effective phones;
  • Mimir Insights – aggregates scientific data in an online platform that helps research tool companies find the researchers they want to sell to and empowers sales teams with the information they need to close sales;
  • Rugged Communications- extends profitable phone and internet service to the most remote regions on earth with solar and low-cost telecommunications equipment;
  • Taduka –seeks to address the highly informal and fragmented wholesale and retail industry in Kenya through an android application that facilitates the ordering and efficient transportation of goods and processing of payments.

Corporate sponsors for this competition include Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, Allied Minds, Cummings Properties, WilmerHale, The Capital Network, MassChallenge, durable creative and LaunchPlan.


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 campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university is widely encouraged.


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