3 Day Startup was a Huge Success!

On the weekend of September 23rd, the ELS department hosted a 3 day event called 3 Day Startup that had a fantastic turnout and innovative ideas nurtured. There were 85 students at the event from various schools including the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. We also had a great article in the Tufts Daily who did extensive coverage on the event. Read more about it here!

At No. 34, Tufts is Among the World's Most Innovative Universities

According to Reuters' most recent assessment, Tufts ranks no. 34 in its list of the World's Most Innovative Universities. Using an array of ten different metrics considering elements such as institutions' value of basic research as well as intellectual property worth protecting, the analysis team compared factors from the universities' generation of research papers to the number of patents filed. 



Here's what Reuters had to say:

Tufts College was founded in 1852 by members of the Universalist church, and received financial support from entertainment and circus entrepreneur P. T. Barnum. Today it is a private, nonsectarian research university with campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, Grafton, and Talloires, France. Tufts' Office for Technology Transfer and Industry Collaboration collected $74 million in revenue from fiscal 2001 to 2015, according to the university. In fiscal 2015, the office reported 53 invention disclosures, filed 76 U.S. patent applications, received 25 U.S. patents, executed 13 licenses/options and launched five startups. Cocoon Biotech, cofounded by the chair of Tuft's Department of Biomedical Engineering, is developing innovative therapeutics for osteoarthritis using silk protein. Another biotech firm, GliaCure, licensed a promising Alzheimer's treatment developed at Tufts, and closed a $5.8 million round of funding in July 2014. (Tufts University is tied with Vanderbilt University for #34 on the Reuters Top 100.)

Tufts Ranks in Forbes' Top 50 Entrepreneurial Schools

VentureFizz highlights the entrepreneurial spirit of bay state universities, with eight schools making Forbes' list of the Top 50 Most Entrepreneurial Universities, including Tufts!

Ranked at #40, here's what they had to say:

Tufts’ Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies program (ELS) offers an innovative curriculum and programming that aims to deepen students’ knowledge of core business concepts and provides a wealth of hands-on experiences to put this knowledge into practice in the real world. The program is highly customizable and open to students from all schools and majors, allowing students to select individual classes as electives or work with an ELS advisor to structure a minor tailored to a student’s specific goals. Tufts encourages students to bring what they learn in the classroom into the startup world, providing early-stage startups with mentorship, funding, and support services. Early stage businesses can compete in The Tufts Idea Competition, awarding winners $1,000, mentorship, and invitations to startup-related workshops. Ventures can also apply for the $100k New Ventures Competition, one of the top entrepreneurship competitions in the US.

Forbes ranked the country’s most entrepreneurial schools based on the numbers of alumni and students who have identified themselves as founders and business owners on LinkedIn (adjusted to total student body size).

Have 3 Undergrads Just Created An Instagram For Music?

Energy and creativity are in abundance among the three budding entrepreneurs who created Cymbal.

On the heels of graduation this past May, Amadou Crookes, Gabriel Jacobs, and Mario Gomez-Hall landed $1.1 million in seed financing led by New York’s Vaizra Investments (Yik Yak, Casper) and Cambridge’s General Catalyst (Snapchat, Airbnb), valuing the freshly minted startup at $6.1 million! Get the full story at Forbes.com →

Jack Derby Receives the 2015 Henry and Madeline Fisher Award

Congratulations to Jack Derby, the winner of the 2015 Henry and Madeline Fisher Award. This award is given to the best engineering teacher of the year.  Derby is the first faculty member from the Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program (ELS) to be given this recognition. Derby was honored with the award this spring based on his excellence in teaching, ability to inspire and motivate students to achieve their greatest potential, and his ability to create a profound intellectual classroom experience.  

Here is Dean Linda Abriola D speech given in honor of Derby:

Jack Derby has been a lecturer in the Tufts Gordon Institute Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies program for the past seven years. Jack is the first part-time lecturer that we have put up for this award.  For a number of years, he has been regularly named by a significant number of graduating students on the Senior Survey as an “influential individual who contributed significantly to [their] intellectual/personal development and as an instructor of an exceptional college course.”   However, this past year, the number of students who cited him was extraordinary: 43 seniors!  

Jack is a graduate of Boston College, where he majored in English, with a minor in Biology. His passion for teaching was evident from a young age. Soon after graduation, he moved to Tanzania and spent two years teaching English with the Peace Corps. 

Since then Jack has become an expert in emerging and middle business markets. He is the president and founder of Derby Management, and brings a great deal of ‘real-world’ experience to his teaching here at Tufts, which students really appreciate. Jack’s previous roles in industry include serving as the CEO of Mayer Electronics Corporation, President of CB Sports, President of Litton Industries Medical Systems, CEO of Datamedix Corporation, and President of Becton Dickinson Medical Systems.  

Jack’s business expertise and connections have substantial benefits for his students. The world of marketing is changing at breakneck speed, and this is reflected in Jack’s fast-paced Entrepreneurial Marketing class, which is built on the latest marketing strategies and tactics and which engages students with projects in local companies. With such a firm base in industry, Jack is able to connect many of his students with internships, start-up funding, and jobs after graduation. Jack teaches his students the subject of marketing but also how to market themselves for success in the business world. 

Jack’s course evaluations reveal that students view his classes as highly worthwhile, and as one student put it, “Dynamic, realistic, practical, difficult, and taught by an expert.” Here are some other excerpts:

“No person at Tufts has contributed to my personal and professional development as much as Jack Derby has. His course, Entrepreneurial Marketing, is the reason why I decided to finish the ELS minor.” 

“Incredible professor with true interest in student success.”

“The course was professionally run and Professor Derby was excellent.”

“Best professor I have ever had.”

And my favorite:  “Jack happens to be the best, most wonderful and most generous professor in the world... and I don't say this lightly. Hold on to him as tightly as possible... he's an incredible asset to this university.”

Jack, we thank you for your dedication and many contributions to the education of our students; thank you for making such a positive impact on their experience at Tufts and beyond. Please come forward to accept this award with my congratulations.

Professor Derby’s success goes to show how special the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program has become, which is due to the success of our faculty and their contributions to the student body.  For all those interested in taking Derby’s Entrepreneurial Marketing class this fall, I am sorry to say that is has already filled up due to his incredible reputation. I am one of the lucky students in that class –an am excited more than words can say.  I wish you all luck in registering for the Spring semester class as it should be as popular as ever.  A round of applause for Jack Derby!

Written by Shannon McHenry A16

Congratulations to the 2015 Tufts $100k Winners!

Last night the winners of the 2015 Tufts $100k Competition were announced.  Please help us to congratulate our winners:


Audience Choice Award: Spotlight Parking LLC

Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize: Spotlight Parking LLC

AARP Foundation Prize: MySupport: The Future of Home Care


General Track:

Tied for First Place:  Spotlight Parking LLC and Orange Analytical Devices

Second Place: N2Cube


Life Sciences Track:

First Place: Adecto Pharmaceuticals

Second Place: MySupport: The Future of Home Care

Third Place: MicroLife


Social Track:

First Place: Global Literacy Project

Second Place: SolarRoute

Third Place: Knowledge Center


If you are interested in learning more about each company a summary of each can be found below.


SpotLight Parking LLC

SpotLight Parking revolutionizes the way valet parking works. Today, drivers waste time, gas, and money circling the block looking for a parking spot. By bringing valet parking to your fingertips, SpotLight enables drivers like you to simply #FindReserveRelax anywhere in the city. Behind the scenes, SpotLight’s innovative asset management technology offers an unrivaled level of efficiency for parking operators. Instead of paper tickets and cash, SpotLight-enabled valets are equipped with a mobile application that allows them to greet you by name, park your car safely and efficiently, and return it promptly – accepting your pre-registered credit card for payment. VPNE Parking Solutions, the largest parking operator in New England, is the first to adopt the technology, and will power SpotLight’s operations through launch. With several other partnerships in the final stages of negotiation, SpotLight is poised to become the preferred parking solution for drivers and valets across the nation.

SpotLight Parking Team: Michael Miele, A15 | Karan Singhal, E15 | Joseph Price, A2000 |Jaime Sanchez E15


Orange Analytical Devices

Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado in Late 2012 the legal marijuana market has grown explosively to become a $1.3 billion market. The unprecedented market expansion is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with an expected market size of $10 billion by 2018. Orange Photonics is poised to meet the needs of the growers, retailers and regulators fueling this market expansion. We have created a portable, low-cost and simple marijuana potency analyzer that can measure tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), key components that can help differentiate products. Strains high in THC or CBD can yield double the revenue as less sought after varietals. The Orange Photonics flexible analytical platform can be easily reconfigured to serve numerous markets in multiple capacities, providing further growth opportunity. These markets include cosmetics, petroleum and tobacco.

Orange Analytical Devices Team: Dylan Wilks, G14 | Stephanie McArdle



N2Cube is an enclosed, kitchen appliance which provides a preservative-free environment that naturally extends the shelf-life of fragile foods. The average family of 4 wastes upwards of $2,300 annually on squandered food. This fact clearly illustrates a new approach for consumers to be able to store their valued purchases. The N2Cube is for the specialized storage of baked items such as muffins, cupcakes and chips. There has been a year-over-year increase in the market size for small appliances. Our BPA-free, unique countertop appliance is approximately one cubic foot with a clear door that allows the customer to see their fresh food. It uses a replaceable cartridge to purge the oxygen in the cube using safe, inert nitrogen, thus extending the life of the food. The N2Cube will be a huge success for families saving their food and their money. The N2Cube: Keep your food fresher, longer.

N2Cube Team: Patrick Mulcahy, G16 | Michael McNulty | Khaled Aly | Paetrice Jones | Edgar Cuji


Adecto Pharmaceuticals

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) represents only 15% of breast tumor cases but is highly metastatic, and accounts for more than 25% of the 500,000 breast cancer deaths yearly worldwide. Current treatment options for TNBC are restricted to chemotherapy and radiation, which are insufficient to block tumor progression, relapse or metastatic dissemination, and have severe side effects. Thus, there is an urgent need for new therapeutic regimens for TNBC. We have recently identified and validated in breast cancer mouse models, a non-essential protein on the surface of TNBC cells that drives their metastases. Adecto Pharmaceuticals is developing new antibodybased therapeutics targeting this accessible protein for TNBC treatment. This new therapy could revolutionize treatment modalities for TNBC patients by providing safe, effective interventions to reduce the mortality associated with these highly aggressive tumors.

Adecto Pharmaceuticals Team:  Nora D. Mineva, Postdoctoral Fellow, Tufts University School of Medicine | Gail E. Sonenshein, Professor, Tufts University | Sonia Das, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sackler School of Biomedical Science | Stefania Pianetti, Research Associate, Sackler School of Biomedical Science


MySupport: The Future of Home Care

MySupport helps seniors, families, and people with disabilities find support workers that match their values and manage these ongoing support relationships over time. Geared towards the Medicaid market, MySupport helps consumers and workers simplify the entire process by asking targeted questions around what they’re looking for to help both sides find their best matches. MySupport is at its core an integral service for agencies to help them facilitate these long-term relationships, enabling them to take a more hands-off approach while saving money and increasing their consumer’s satisfaction. Although the Medicaid market is large, the community itself is very small and we have been able to leverage our team and our advisors’ decades of disability policy experience at the national level, along with our connections to the grassroots disability community, to create a unique product that has resonated very strongly with all stakeholders involved.

MySupport Team: Yin Lin, A11 | Ari Ne’eman | Nelson Chu | Maria Town



Millions of children die and suffer from profound disabilities due to brain damage caused at birth. MicroLife is developing a low cost and miniaturized tool to accurately measure vital characteristics of blood flow in the brain of infants. Oximetry, which involves the use of non-invasive optical techniques to measure changes in tissue optical properties associated with brain activity, is a well-known method. Conventional cerebral oximeter instruments use bulky, power-hungry components that are not suited for miniaturization. By combining complex signal detection and processing circuitry on a single piece of silicon using microchip technology, The MicroLife chip will enable the realization of a unique class of portable cerebral oximeter instruments with a transformative impact on the field of pediatric neuroscience and early detection of developmental disorders in infants.

MicroLife Team: Chirag Sthalekar, G14 | Valencia Koomson, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering, Tufts University


Global Literacy Project

More than 770 million people in the world are non-literate. The cost of illiteracy to the global economy is $1.19T annually. Traditional solutions, such as building schools and handing out books, are costly, slow and will not reach the 100 million children who need an education now. The Global Literacy Project emerged from a radical way of thinking about education and technology from a team of experts committed to the right of every child to a high-quality education. After field testing our Curious Learning System in 5 countries we discovered: children, guided by their own curiosity, can teach themselves early literacy skills using mobile devices. The Curious Learning System tracks how children learn and provides information valuable to schools, governments, and other organizations interested in eradicating illiteracy. The Global Literacy project will reach 100 million people within a decade and by doing so, will dramatically reduce global poverty.

Global Literacy Project Team: Stephanie Gottwald, Assistant Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University | Tinsley Galyean, Executive Director of the Global Literacy Project| Miriam Nelson, Associate Dean of Tisch College | Maryanne Wolf, Director of the Tufts Center for Reading and Language Research



SolarRoute bridges the last mile gap in developing markets in order to alleviate energy poverty among base of the pyramid households. The issue with access to electricity rests not in a lack of solution or affordability, but a lack of distribution and access. Access is difficult and costly because consumers live at the last mile in geographic and economic isolation, with little access to resources, technology and services to lift themselves out of poverty—including energy poverty. SolarRoute recruits and trains solar sales agents with optimal last mile reach in order to create convenient and consistent point of sales for the consumer. SolarRoute works with agrochemical stores, microbanks, top-up cell credit distributors, and rural kiosks in order to offer sustainable lighting technologies to the two million under-electrified consumers in Nicaragua. SolarRoute is currently headquartered out of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Please visit solarroute.org or follow @Solar- Route on Twitter for more information and updates.

SolarRoute Team: Morgan Babbs, A15 | James Downer, A15


Knowledge Center

The Knowledge Centers are 24x7 Wi-Fi enabled rooms connecting children in low-income countries with information, opportunities, and educational resources. Students living in smaller towns and villages of low-income countries have limited or no access to educational resources such as books, newspapers, magazines, the Internet and sometimes even a proper study room. Most such places don’t have libraries either and even if they do, the libraries aren’t well equipped. The Knowledge Centers are solving this problem with 24x7 Wi-Fi enabled multipurpose rooms. The Knowledge Centers are on a mission to connect every single child with books and laptops to use or rent, free access to printers and scanners, newspapers and magazines and a place to study with friends. The Knowledge Centers are helping communities overcome financial and geographical constraints enabling millions of students to use world-class facilities to learn irrespective of where they come from.

Knowledge Center Team: Sharad Sagar A16

Congratulations to all!

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Tufts $100k New Venturing Competition

    On April 7th and 8th, Tufts University will gather to host one of the largest annual start-up competitions in the Boston area.  Students, faculty, staff, researchers and alums will pitch their business ideas to a panel of world-class judges selected to identify the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. Candidates from across the University will be arriving in Medford ready to showcase their companies and convince the judges that they can solve real world problems.  These entrepreneurs are competing to gain recognition and funding for their startup companies, but they are not the only people to benefit from this experience.  So why should you attend?  Here are the Top 10 reasons…

You can:

1. Learn about the world of startup companies.

Whether you are a serial entrepreneur or someone who is simply intrigued by new ventures, this competition will give you a taste for the Boston startup scene and how Tufts is bringing innovation to this community.

2. Connect with new mentors with priceless advice.

You will be in a room full of successful entrepreneurial leaders from a variety of different backgrounds including technology, science, fashion, finance and engineering, just to name a few.  You would be hard pressed to find a more mentor-rich environment.

3. Eat Free Food!

Yes, my friends, there will be delicious food and lots of it so come hungry and leave happy.  Free is always good! Lunch will be served on Tuesday April 7th at 12:30pm and the Showcase and Awards Ceremony on April 8th from 5-8:30 will have complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.

4. Hear pitches from the new Life Sciences Track.

Your inner scientists will revel at the new ideas to come.  We are launching a brand new category of the competition, which will include businesses focused on health and medicine such as dental, biomedical and nutrition-based startups.  The Life Sciences Track will begin at 1:30 pm on Tuesday April 7th.

5. Network with some of Boston’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Mingle with our renowned judges and potential investors; there will be a plethora     of opportunities to interact with impressive entrepreneurs.  Some include, the breakfast and lunch sessions on April 7th, and the Showcase and Awards Ceremony which starts at 5:00pm on April 8th. Take a look here to learn more about the networking opportunities.

6. Watch Diane Hessan give the Keynote Speech.

At 6pm on April 8th, come hear Diane Hessan give the Keynote Speech.  She is the CEO of Startup Institute, which helps people transform their careers, the former CEO of Communispace, a modern market research company.  Hessan is also a Tufts Alumna and a Trustee.  A seasoned entrepreneur, business executive, marketing researcher and author, she will provide great insight.

7. Jumpstart your own endeavors.

With all the new ideas zipping around, the $100k event is a breeding ground for inspiration.  Absorb some passion from the competitors and channel it into your own venture.  Each pitch has the potential to spark a new idea in your own head.

8. Participate in a live competition where Shark Tank meets Survivor.

Who doesn’t crave reality TV? We all love entertainment so let our finalists blow your mind with their startup plans as you help to decide who is the winner of the Audience Choice Award. Be a shark and vote to help your favorite startup win $1000.  This competition will be filled with drama and suspense.  Who needs television when you can be a part of the action?

9.Celebrate at our after party.

College Rule #1: Never pass up a good party. After the awards are presented on April 8th, there will be a reception starting at 7:30 to celebrate the winners.  Join us to let loose after a great two days of entrepreneurial activity!

10. Support the Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies program.

The ELS program is becoming a powerful force in the entrepreneurial community.  Be a part of the program and help change the world, one pitch at a time.

Join us for two days of motivation at the Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition.  Click here for tickets.

Tufts Student Startup Mimir Insights Takes 1st Place

"Mimir Insights automates the sales environments of life science companies that sell to researchers, saving them time."

On March 26th, Mimir Insights, a Tufts student startup team, took 1st place in the Student Track at the Quincy Quick Pitch Competition. They received $1,000 in cash and 3 months of co-working space at the Quincy Center for Innovation (QCI). Representing the company were Jon Arbaugh, Ian Leaman and Ethan Kopit. 

The impressive judging panel was made up of the following members of the startup and business community:
John Maguire, CEO - Friendly’s Ice Cream LLC
Alec Stern, Founding Member - Constant Contact
Rory Cuddyer, Startup Manager - City of Boston
Doug Banks, Executive Editor of Boston Business Journal and Mass High Tech
Tim Barton, Angel Investor 
Drew Gaffney, Angel Investor and Entrepreneur

Create Your Network with the Tufts $100k

The Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition is a microcosm of one of the hallmarks of Tufts University itself: the diversity of the student body, faculty, staff, researchers and alumni. This is reflected not only in the way diversity is often defined, such as by race or gender, but in the wide range of academic disciplines and research represented by the applicants.

On April 7 and 8, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, staff and researchers from seven schools across Tufts’ will compete for prizes of cash and in-kind services as they endeavor to turn their ideas into real ventures. Competitors from the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medical School, Fletcher, Tisch, Sackler, Dental Medicine, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, are gearing up to connect with judges, investors and other entrepreneurs to showcase their business ideas. 

While the main draw is the competition itself, the event offers another real benefit to competitors and audience members alike: the chance to network with university peers as well as a growing number of leaders from outside the Tufts community who attend this energizing event.

Networking is a vital skill for any entrepreneur, but it can be challenging to find new connections. The Gordon Institute’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program supports the development of intra-university and external relationship-building through a combination of Founders Workshops, Lectures and Symposia, as well as by encouraging members of affiliated groups to connect with ours.

Join us as we head into our spring season of entrepreneurship events. Follow the link below to the Tufts Entrepreneurial Network website, where you can find information on the Tufts $100k New Ventures competition. 

And while you’re there, learn more about other participating Tufts-affiliated organizations that provide even more opportunities for networking and learning about entrepreneurial activity across the University. Here’s a list of a few to get you started:

Student-led entrepreneurial organizations include:

Tufts Entrepreneurs Society - a resource community for student entrepreneurs

Tufts Make - team-based product design group

Fletcher International Business Club - providing opportunities in global business

Tufts Biomedical Business Club - organization to bridge the business + science communities

180 Degrees Consulting - provides real world consulting experience in the collegiate environment

Tufts MedStart - MD/MBA student organization for global entrepreneurship in healthcare

Tufts Computer Science Exchange - platform for intellectual exchange

Tufts Consulting Collective - preparing students pursuing a career in consulting

Tufts Archimedes Project - supports global social enterprises in creation and launch

Entrepreneurs seeking mentorship can connect with:

Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Fellows - peer mentorship

Tufts-Experts-in-Residence - provides entrepreneurs across the University with coaching and mentorship for their ideas and startups

Empower Fellows - mentoring social entrepreneurs

Compass Fellows - connecting freshman and upper-class social entrepreneurs

If you are an alum, consider joining one of these entrepreneurial networks:   

Tufts Entrepreneurial Alumni Network

Tufts Social Impact Network

Other beneficial resources for Entrepreneurs include:

The Institute for Business in the Global Context

Tufts Institute for Global Leadership

Tufts Institute for Innovation 


Written by Shannon McHenry, Psychology Major, Class of 2016

NEW Spring 2015 Course: Special Topics: Creative Design Process of Products (ELS 193)

The Creative Design Process of Products course covers the engineering process of product design from conception to pre-production of a new product.  The course teaches the creative design process through lectures and the creation, engineering, and prototype of a novel product. Students learn to identify and evaluate a problem (opportunity) and sketch, create, develop, test, and select best prototyping strategies for their product.  Basic project and risk management, engineering, and analysis skills are used to deliver a robust working product on time and on budget. Fundamental principles and practices are emphasized and explored including design specifications, Occam’s Razor, Abbe Errors (as it relates to design and design theory), professional responsibilities, and ethics. Students are assumed to be competent in basic problem solving skills. (ELS 193)

Learn more about ELS lecturer Josh Weismann.