Brandeis University Announces Finalists for Inaugural Smart Fifty Competition

Debarshi Nandy
- Advertisement -

WALTHAM, MA– Brandeis International Business School announced the 16 finalists from the Boston International Round that will move forward in the inaugural Smart Fifty competition, an entrepreneurial competition looking to identify 50 startup companies from around the globe addressing India’s biggest socio-economic challenges.

Together with TiE Boston, the world’s largest nonprofit network dedicated to helping startups grow, Brandeis International Business School partnered with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park and the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology in the search of solutions to transform India. The competition focuses on aspiring and early-stage startups working on solutions in learning, sustainability, agriculture, health, fintech and big data, and smart living.

“Indians have always been major players in the startup community in the US, and the recent emphasis on sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship-led growth in India provides an excellent opportunity for US-based startups to expand into the Indian market,” said Debarshi Nandy, Associate Professor and MSF Program Director at Brandeis International Business School. “Brandeis International Business School recognizes the value of global innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. That’s why we are proud to be partners in the inaugural Smart Fifty competition – with a goal to promote entrepreneurship and spur innovation in order to address some of the biggest challenges in India.”

Debarshi Nandy

“We are proud of all the applicants, and extend our congratulations to our 16 finalists,” said Sharon Tolpin Topper, program director for the Smart Fifty Competition at Brandeis International Business School. “The caliber of companies applying demonstrated the strength and breadth of Boston’s innovation ecosystem which was instrumental in identifying the best companies for this competition.”

Sixteen startups from the Boston International Round – which covered all companies located or associated with a university, incubator or accelerator outside of India and Asia – are progressing to the Smart Fifty Boston Final Round and Demo Day, hosted by Brandeis International Business School and TiE Boston. Winners from the Boston Round will be flown to Kolkata (Calcutta) to present their solutions and vie for a spot in the finals in Delhi and $1.5 million in equity funding.

The 16 global finalists include:

  • Girls Health Champions, San Francisco, CA: Trains adolescent girls worldwide as peer health educators and health leaders in their schools and communities.
  • India Health Link, Chicago, IL/Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India: Bringing primary care to India via technology.
  • Khethworks, Cambridge, MA/Pune, Maharashtra, India: Gives small-plot farmers across the world control over their lives and livelihoods through affordable and high-quality technology.
  • Nonspec, Lowell, MA: Provides affordable, adjustable prosthetic limb systems to all amputees.
  • Orora Global, Boston, MA: For-profit social enterprise that provides rural and urban communities globally with access to reliable, renewable energy.
  • ParkWise, New York, NY: Real-time street parking availability.
  • PlenOptika, Boston, MA: Responds to the problem of low vision by enabling autorefraction easily, anywhere – without compromising quality.
  • Puffin Innovations, Boston, MA: Focused on Smart Assistive Technology that allows people with disabilities to lead more functional and meaningful lives.
  • Sensen, Cambridge, MA: Wireless, data-logging sensor platform.
  • Startupwind Santa Clara, CA: Social network for entrepreneurs, investors and advisors from premier schools.
  • Sukriti, MassChallenge Israel/Delhi, India: Sustainable engineering initiatives and innovations.
  • Takachar, Cambridge, MA: Decentralized biomass conversion at source.
  • TalaSecure, Mountain View, CA: Security solution that protects IoT devices end to end throughout the lifecycle of the device.
  • Vata Verks, Arlington, MA: Non-invasive smart sensor that can monitor flow of water and natural gas to create high resolution flow data.
  • Village Industrial Power, Bradford, VT: Mobile power plant enables rural farmers to increase the value of their crops by up to 10x.
  • Voatz, Boston, MA: Enables citizens to vote in all kinds of elections or voting events via a smartphone.

The Smart Fifty Boston International Round and Demo Day is set for Feb. 9 at 2:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at Brandeis International Business School. For more information about the event, visit:

Brandeis IBS, located in the Boston suburb of Waltham, Massachusetts welcomes students from throughout the United States and around the world into its innovative and diverse community. The current student body includes representatives from over 40 countries.

Founded by entrepreneurs who immigrated from the Indus region, we are uniquely positioned to champion inclusion in the innovation ecosystem, and welcome innovators and enthusiasts from all backgrounds. We have been operating for 20 years, and have an unparalleled network of successful, seasoned entrepreneurs who are deeply engaged and committed to giving back to the community by providing mentorship, tactical advice, and expertise to rising entrepreneurs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here