Dylan Wilks, G15, founder
BIG IDEA: Products for the legal marijuana industry. First up will be LightLab, a “portable, lab-grade cannabis potency analyzer” that the company says will give growers, dispensaries, regulators, and manufacturers of marijuana-infused products a fast, reliable, and affordable way to maintain quality control. Instead of waiting several days for a lab to perform potency tests, they could get results in less than ten minutes.
STATUS: Wilks, whose background includes leading optics projects for NASA’s Mars Rover, founded Boston-based Orange Photonics in the spring of 2015 and won the Tufts $100K Business Plan Competition for it that same year. In April, he announced that Digipath Labs of Las Vegas, an independent cannabis testing firm, will evaluate LightLab. He told PRNewswire, “Third-party validation is essential for us to ensure that LightLab provides the level of performance the industry wants.” orangephotonics.com
Nick Horelik, E09, cofounder
BIG IDEA: Updating the 911 system for the twenty-first century. These days more than 70 percent of 911 calls are made from mobile devices, but because emergency responders are relying on Sixties technology, they can’t fully take advantage of what those devices might offer—like good data about the caller’s location, which the FCC estimates could save more than ten thousand lives a year. RapidSOS aims to remedy the problem by bringing a suite of advanced communications tools to 911 dispatchers.
STATUS: Horelik and Michael Martin, a Harvard Business School grad, founded RapidSOS in Boston in 2013 and began working with first responders to learn about the challenges they face. Now based in New York, the startup is preparing for the release of its app, RapidSOS Haven, which uses cutting-edge technology to pinpoint a caller’s whereabouts, and also lets users program emergency contacts into the system, along with notes on allergies, disabilities, and other conditions. With a single touch, they can notify loved ones of an emergency and also provide 911 with crucial medical and location details. RapidSOS is now working to help prevent emergencies, hoping it can use advanced communications to “warn people in harm’s way,” Horelik told Marketwatch. According to Boston magazine, it would do that by analyzing data—for example, information on traffic flow, road conditions, weather, and past car accidents. rapidsos.com
Send it Later
Tufts Medical School Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics John J. Donovan, E63, cofounder and vice chairman, and Jen Faucon, J90, chief marketing officer
BIG IDEA: Time travel for correspondence and gift giving. SendItLater is a free service that allows users to schedule the future delivery of messages, pictures, and presents. They can, for example, “pre-remember” anniversaries and other important dates.
STATUS: SendItLater got its start in early 2014, inspired by Donovan’s son, a young father who, upon learning that he had terminal cancer, created a series of messages to be delivered to his children on birthdays and graduation days over the next twenty years. Headquartered in Woodstock, Vermont, the company boasts an ever-expanding list of “gift partner” companies for users’ shopping convenience, including Fannie May, 1-800-Flowers, Harry & David, and Amazon. senditlater.com