$100k New Ventures Competition

Hosted by the Derby Entrepreneurship Center, the $100k New Ventures Competition is the flagship venture competition at Tufts. Early stage innovators and entrepreneurs pitch their ideas in three tracks: General Technology, Social Impact and Healthcare & Life Science. We welcome applicants across the Tufts community: Undergraduate and graduate students, recent alumni, faculty and staff across all 11 schools and colleges at Tufts.

Through educational workshops, 1×1 coaching and pitch practice in February and March, you will make rapid progress on your venture and learn to pitch your venture to excite and inspire potential employees, advisors, investors and more.

The competition culminates in live pitch competitions at the virtual semi-finals and finals. Winners will take home prizes valued over $100k in non-dilutive funding and in-kind services.


What you need to know about the $100k

Key Dates

Competition tracks

  • General Technology
  • Social Impact
  • Healthcare and Life science

Prizes for each track

  • Three winners for cash prizes totaling $25k (1st place: $12k; 2nd place: $8k; 3rd place: $5k)
  • One winner for a free office space prize valued at $25k

Additional prizes administered alongside the $100k


  • Prizes are paid out to an individual and are treated as taxable income by Tufts and the IRS
  • Non-US citizens are taxed at 30% which will be withheld from their prize check

Eligibility Requirements & Conditions

  • Teams of 1-5 (we strongly encourage applicants to apply as a team of at least 2)
  • Applicants to the Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition must have actively participating executive or founding team members in major roles who are one, or more, of the following: Matriculated Tufts undergraduate or graduate student; full time postdoc, research fellow or resident; faculty, staff or current researcher; recently graduated alumni (graduated within the last 5 years)
  • Applicants must not have raised more than $250,000 combined in grants, fellowships, convertible notes, SAFE notes, equity-based financing or other funding sources as of the application deadline
  • Applicants must not have already won in a previous $100k competition with the same venture
  • Applicants must be seriously considering building their venture in a full time capacity moving forward
  • Applicants must commit to being available to pitch in the live virtual Semi-finals and virtual Finals
  • The Ricci Prize and the FFNI Prize have additional eligibility requirements. Learn more on their respective landing pages.

Non-Tufts team members: 

Non-Tufts team members may be part of the venture’s management team and may participate in planning the venture.  However, the Tufts team member(s) are expected to:

  • Have an ongoing active role in the day-to-day operations of the venture
  • Be the driving force behind the venture
  • Hold an executive role in the founding management team of the venture
  • Be the primary presenter if chosen to compete in the semi-finals or finals

Pitch format

  • The live semi-final and final pitches will be 5 minutes long with 5 minutes of Q&A from a panel of judges
  • In addition to pitch practice, semi-finalists and finalists will be coached on lighting and audio/visual setup for the best virtual pitch possible

Application and selection process

  • Applicants will submit their application (including a 2 minute video pitch) by the application deadline of February 28th.
  • A panel of judges will screen all applications and select 30 semifinalists – 10 teams for each track: General Technology, Social Impact, Healthcare & Life Science
  • Semifinalists who commit to the live pitching will participate in mandatory pitch practice
  • 30 teams will pitch in front of a second panel of judges to compete for 15 finalist spots – 5 per track
  • Finalists will have access to additional pitch practice sessions
  • 15 teams will pitch in front of a third and final panel of judges
  • Winners for 3 cash prizes and one real estate prize will be selected for each track

Judging rubric for all stages (Screening, Semi-final judging, Final judging)

  • Problem: Does the team understand the problem and target customer?
  • Solution: Does the proposed solution solve the problem in a unique manner compared to the alternative?
  • Go to market strategy: Does the team have a credible and thoughtful go-to-market strategy?
  • Unit and overall economics: Is the proposed business model financially sustainable?
  • Scale: Is the venture capable of scaling up to impact a large number of people?
  • Impact: How is the world a better place if the team solves this problem?
  • Team: Did the team convince the judges they are the right people to solve this problem?
  • Presentation: Was the team effective in presenting their venture?
  • Wildcard: Did anything about the team particularly impress you?

Cash Prizes

  • General Technologies Track: $25,000 in cash prizes, generous funded by an anonymous donor
  • Healthcare and Life Science Track: $25,000 in cash prizes, generously funded by the Hirsch Family Funderpants
  • Social Impact Track: $25,000 in cash prizes, generous funded by an anonymous donor and by Tisch College

Add-on prizes

  • Ricci Prize: $15,000 awarded to an eligible interdisciplinary engineering team
  • Friedman Prize: $10,000 awarded to an eligible team in the area of food, nutrition science and policy, generously funded by the Friedman School Food and Nutrition Innovation Initiative

In-kind prizes

  • Cummings Properties Rent Credit: Free office space at Cummings Properties for 1 year; Three 1-year rent credits valued at $25k each
  • WE Global Studio: Up to six 1-year memberships, valued at $924 each to WE Global Studio, an online venture studio and digital startup platform for women entrepreneurs

Resources to help you prepare for the $100k

Brought to you in partnership with the following Tufts schools: