Entrepreneurs capture funding, support in new venture competitions at Tufts University

Annual contests celebrate innovation, entrepreneurship across Tufts community
Finalists in Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition, organized by the Gordon Institute's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at Tufts University, pose for a group photo inside Breed Hall on Tufts University campus in Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts on April 5, 2019
Finalists in the 2019 $100k New Ventures Competition inside Breed Hall on the Tufts University campus in Medford, Massachusetts on April 5, 2019. (Matthew Healey for Tufts University)
April 16, 2019

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Johnny Corson

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (April 16, 2019)—Five new ventures, including a noninvasive alternative to traditional methods of spay and neuter and a “hard” kombucha, took home top prizes at Tufts University’s annual entrepreneurship competitions: the 15th annual $100k New Ventures Competition and the Tufts Food and Entrepreneurship Competition.

Twenty-six finalist teams, comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, faculty, and staff from across the university, competed in both competitions for prizes and in-kind services totaling more than $175,000.

The winners represent an array of interdisciplinary partnerships and solutions for a variety of marketplace opportunities and societal challenges. Finalists in the $100k New Ventures Competition competed in three tracks: general technology, medical devices & life science, and social impact. Two teams tied for first place in the general/high-tech track.

First place winners in the $100k New Ventures Competition include:

Dyne (General Technology), a platform that enhances the dining experience at sit-down restaurants by digitizing the order and payment processes for the customer, providing ease and convenience that results in higher margins for restaurants through targeted exposure, faster turn times, and bigger check sizes.

Kandula Hard Kombucha (General Technology), founded in pursuit of crafting an alcoholic drink that is naturally fermented from organic tea with 5 percent alcohol by volume but only 104 calories.

The Now Exchange (Social Impact), an effort to bring health access and choice to women in the Bangladeshi garment industry. Via on-site clinics, the Exchange will deliver free improved health services, starting with contraceptives and expanding to other offerings, and train clinic staff in an effort to strengthen the health systems that most directly affect garment workers.

Sterilyse (Medical Devices & Life Science), a non-surgical, humane and cost-effective alternative to traditional methods of companion animal spay and neuter.

First place in the Food and Entrepreneurship Competition was awarded to Baravena, a nutritious and sustainable frozen dessert made with oats.

“We received a record number of applications from across all 10 of the University’s schools, which met our 2018-2019 mission to bring an increased level of entrepreneurship throughout all of Tufts,” said Jack Derby, director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center and Cummings Family Professor of Entrepreneurship. He noted that the 100K competition capped a yearlong effort to increase the number of courses in entrepreneurship and triple the number of Founder’s Workshops, conversations with alumni entrepreneurs and weekly Jumbo Café events.

Entrepreneur and author Diane Hessan, a Tufts alumna and trustee, delivered the 2019 Alan Shapiro Entrepreneurial Lecture as part of the award ceremony. Hessan was also awarded the 2019 Tufts Legend of Innovation and Entrepreneurship award.

The Gordon Institute's Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts University sponsored both events, collaborating with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy as co-sponsors of the Tufts Food and Entrepreneurship Competition.

Corporate sponsors for this year’s $100k New Ventures Competition included Cummings Properties; Burns & Levinson; Lowenstein Sandler; MassChallenge; Silicon Valley Bank; and Wolf Greenfield. Generous individual sponsors also contributed to the competition.

The Tufts Entrepreneurship Center provides business-focused academic instruction and real-world exposure for Tufts students across all disciplines. The program faculty is comprised of successful business leaders, who bring their firsthand industry knowledge and entrepreneurial skills to the classroom.

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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.