Companies receive top honors at Rice Alliance’s 10th annual IT and Web Venture Forum

Companies specializing in learning, fundraising and Web development were named among the “10 Most Promising IT and Web Companies” at the 10th annual IT and Web Venture Forum hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at Rice University‘s McNair Hall Dec. 6.

Rice Alliance's 10th annual IT and Web Venture Forum winners

Winners of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship's 10th annual IT and Web Venture Forum

The winners were chosen from 43 information technology and Web startup ventures and judged on their five-minute business plan presentations. A group of investors and business leaders from across the country judged the competition.

The winners were:

2FA (Austin, Texas), which provides strong authentication solutions with robust security features that are easy for companies to deploy and makes life easier for their users.

GroupRaise (Houston), a platform to organize and find meal fundraisers at local restaurants.

iLumi (Plano, Texas), which makes a multicolor LED bulb that users control and program wirelessly through a mobile app.

LRNGO (Houston), the only website directory of people who teach online and local lessons where anyone can learn for free.

Meshify (Houston), which develops Web and mobile apps that power the “Internet-of-things.”

QWIQQ (Dallas), which enables a local merchant to post what they want to sell, when they want to sell it and then instantly share it to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, email and SMS, all from the convenience of a single device.

RideScout (Austin, Texas), a mobile app that is like the Kayak of ground transportation; it aggregates all of a user’s ride options in one simple interface.

Taskbox (Austin, Texas), which turns an inbox into a task list.

The Metal Exchange (Austin, Texas), a global source for industrial metals where people can buy, sell and connect in an online marketplace.

TISA Software (Houston), a software engineering company focused on the oil and gas industry and social development.

“Every year the quality of companies improves,” said Rice Alliance Managing Director Brad Burke, who announced the winners at the event. “This year we had a diversity of companies, including several addressing niche social media markets, software that aggregates numerous sites and mobile apps. As a group, the companies this year are further along. Most have developed prototypes, sold to customers, demonstrated results and raised previous funding, which makes them more appealing to current investors, who have commented on the improved quality of the companies.”

Past startup company presenters at Rice Alliance venture forums have raised more than $2.1 billion, and this year’s crop of winners is expected to achieve similar results, Burke added.

The event is the largest venture capital conference in the Southwest; among the 400 attendees were venture capitalists and other investors, entrepreneurs, industry representatives, business leaders and service providers.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.