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.

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.