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Smart Fifty Boston Final Round and Demo Day

Smart Fifty Demo Day at Brandeis IBS Sends Five Selected Companies to Compete in India

Nonspec presenting at Smart Fifty Boston Finals

February 14, 2018

Each company presented their “smart” solutions in a series of three sessions. With programs related to learning, agriculture, money, sustainability, living and health, every company adeptly answered a variety of hard-hitting questions by the esteemed panel of judges.

At Brandeis International Business School (IBS) Friday, 16 startup companies with ties from Massachusetts to California presented their transformational innovations, aimed to address India’s biggest socio-economic challenges. The companies were selected among 200 applicants that entered the inaugural Smart Fifty competition earlier this year.

Demo Day began with remarks from Brandeis IBS Interim Dean Peter Petri, who detailed the university’s longstanding academic relationship with India. He also noted that Indian students currently represent the fastest-growing segment of the graduate student population at Brandeis IBS.

Simone LaPray also remarked on the importance of day. As program manager at TiE Boston, the world’s largest nonprofit network dedicated to helping startups grow and a Smart Fifty partner, LaPray highlighted the critical social impact that all finalist companies would have on the socio-economic challenges India, in addition to functioning as profitable companies.

Each company presented their “smart” solutions in a series of three sessions. With programs related to learning, agriculture, money, sustainability, living and health, every company adeptly answered a variety of hard-hitting questions by the esteemed panel of judges. Ultimately, five global finalists were selected to move forward in the entrepreneurial competition seeking to identify 50 startup companies from around the globe with “smart solutions.”

the five winners of Smart Fifty Boston

The final winners that secured spots in the Delhi finals were: PlenOptika, a company that’s responding to the problem of low vision by enabling auto refraction easily, anywhere – without compromising quality; Nonspec, which provides affordable, adjustable prosthetic limbs to all amputees; Girls Health Champions, which trains adolescent girls worldwide as peer health educators and health leaders in their schools and communities; Sukriti, which heads up sustainable engineering initiatives and innovations; and Village Industrial Power, a mobile power plant that enables rural farmers to increase the value of their crops.

Ultimately, the top 50 companies of the Smart Fifty Global Competition will receive office space and other strategic and business support functions at the IIM Calcutta Innovation Park incubator, as well as a $6,000 grant and mentoring workshops on how to effectively expand to India. The top 10 companies will also have the opportunity to pitch for $1.5 million in equity funding. 

Following the announcement of the five Boston Round winners, the Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty spoke glowingly about all 16 finalists, and emphasized that even those were not selected to move onto Delhi should connect directly with the consulate to explore other opportunities to expand to India. He also remarked that in his “seven or eight months” in his role, his evening at the Smart Fifty Boston Final Round and Demo Day was “one of the most wonderful evenings I’ve spent.”


Smart Fifty Boston