Entrepreneurs capture funding, support in Tufts University $100K New Ventures Competition

Annual contest celebrates innovation, entrepreneurship across Tufts community

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (April 9, 2018)—A venture that seeks to improve water recycling through nanofiltration, a company looking to better the lives of people using catheters, a treatment for stomach aches and a company aimed at increasing profits for smallholder farmers were the top winners of the 14th annual $100k New Ventures Competition. Organized by the Gordon Institute's Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program at Tufts University, the competition draws entries from alumni, faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students from across the university.

Eighteen 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. Two teams tied for first place in the general/high-tech track.

First place winners included:

Apollo Agriculture (Social Impact), which reduces the expense and operational complexity of smallholder lending for farmers. Apollo Agriculture uses high-resolution satellite imagery and machine learning to develop credit profiles for smallholder farmers, and automated processes for each customer touchpoint – from acquisition and enrollment, to extension services, monitoring, and repayment.

Cathbuddy (Med Tech& Life Sciences), a portable handheld UV-C catheter sterilizer that helps people who use intermittent catheters to regain agency and mobility while reducing their carbon footprint with medical grade technology and human centered design.

Ginger Time (General/High-Tech), a “shot” of ginger juice, B vitamins and citrus that temporarily sooths upset stomach and aids digestion. Ginger Time promises to donate profits to fund medical research on chronic stomach ailments.

ZwitterCo (General/High-Tech), nanofiltration membranes that improve produced water recycling in the oil and gas industry by effectively removing soluble organics prior to purification via a reverse osmosis (RO) system. By providing affordable organics pretreatment for RO systems, ZwitterCo membranes will allow oil and gas companies to recycle wastewater, simplify fluid management logistics and improve their environmental footprint.

“In all of our co-curricular ELS activities, we incorporate a simple guiding principal of creating active citizens who continuously change the world for the better,” said Jack Derby, director, Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program, and Cummings Family Professor of Entrepreneurship. “We are proud of the fact that the $100k New Venture Competition provides our winners with not only financial resources, but also the expertise and critical connections from the larger Tufts community of seasoned entrepreneurs, technical experts and future funding sources that will enable them to take their companies to the next level.”

Author, speaker and network TV news contributor Jamie Turner delivered the 2018 Alan Shapiro Entrepreneurial Lecture as part of the award ceremony. 

Corporate sponsors for this year’s competition included Burns & Levinson; Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati; Cummings Properties; and Lowenstein Sandler.

For a complete listing of all of the participants in the 2018 competition go to: http://gordon.tufts.edu/competitions/100k-new-ventures-competition/2018….

Tufts’ Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program provides business-focused educational opportunities for Tufts students across the greater Tufts community. The program faculty, comprised of successful business professionals, aims to provide students with real-world, practical experience as project leaders and interns and through full-time jobs.


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.

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