Rice Business Plan Competition announces 42 finalists to compete for more than $1 million in prizes

World’s richest and largest student startup competition selects top teams from four continents

Forty-two teams hailing from some of the world’s top universities will vie for more than $1 million in prizes at the 14th annual Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business April 10-12.

The teams for this year’s competition were chosen from nearly 500 entrants to compete in four categories: life sciences; information technology/web/mobile; energy/clean technology/sustainability and social ventures.

The winner will take home a grand prize valued at more than $450,000, including seed funding and the opportunity to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ OMX Marketsite. Judges select the winner based on the company that represents the best investment opportunity.

This year’s competitors are the most diverse in the history of the competition and come from top universities around the globe, including India, Taiwan, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Germany, Kenya, Canada and the United States. (See below for the full list of teams.)

More than 155 past competitors have gone on to successfully launch their ventures and are still in business today. They have raised in excess of $844 million in funding and created more than 1,000 new jobs.

“The true measure of success for the Rice Business Plan Competition is the number of teams that launch, raise funding and go on to succeed in their business,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at Rice University, which hosts the RBPC. “The RBPC has served as the launch pad for a great number of successful entrepreneurial ventures and the success rate exceeds the national average.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are the driving factors for economic growth in the United States. We are pleased to do our part to support these young entrepreneurs who are willing to take risks to commercialize technologies that not only drive economic growth, but also lead to advances in health care, energy and other improvements in the lives of all people.”

More than 140 corporate and private sponsors support the business plan competition, which includes 250 judges from the investment sector and awards more than $1 million in prizes. Top prizes include the $200,000 Investment Grand Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas, two OWL Investment Prizes totaling at least $200,000, the $100,000 Mercury Fund Tech Transfer Investment Prize, the $100,000 Opportunity Houston/Greater Houston Partnership Technology Prize and the $100,000 Opportunity Houston/Greater Houston Partnership Life Science Prize.

This year’s prizes include a new $125,000 Texas Halo Fund Investment Prize, a $80,000 SURGE Accelerator Most Innovative Energy Tech Startup Prize, a $25,000 CASIS ISS National Lab Space Flight Prize, a $15,000 Wells Fargo Clean Technology Innovation Prize and a new $4,000 RBPC Alumni prize sponsored by former RPBC competitors. This is the third year for the $100,000 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Energy Prize to encourage students from across the country to create new businesses and transform promising energy technologies into innovative energy products that will help to create jobs, boost American competitiveness and strengthen the economy.

2014 Rice Business Plan Competition teams

TEAM NAME SCHOOL NAME
A-76 Technologies Rice University
Acera Surgical Inc. Washington University in St. Louis
Batterade The University of New Mexico
Berry Logistics University of Michigan
BetaGlide Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India
CommSense Purdue University
CrowdTunes Duke University
Datavis University of Arkansas
Detonation Dynamics The University of Texas at Arlington
DragAroundMe Wayne State University
EcoBreeze National Taiwan University, Taiwan
FilmShaker London Business School, England
focalCast Marquette University
GestVision Inc. Yale University
GreenPack University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Innoblative Northwestern University
InspireVive The University of Tulsa
Iowa Approach Inc. The University of Iowa
KAir Battery The Ohio State University
LymphaTech Georgia Institute of Technology
Medical Adhesive Revolution GmbH RWTH Aachen University, Germany
mHealth Solutions Center Kenya Medical Training College and Kisii University, Kenya
Microbe Detectives University of Wisconsin-Madison
Movellus Circuits University of Michigan
NanDio University of Notre Dame
NanoLinea Rice University
NextPotential Arizona State University
Nikweli London Business School, England
NuFortis University of Illinois at Chicago
NVBOTS Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Orpheden Therapeutics Northwestern University
Oxy-Zn University of Waterloo, Canada
plugSTRATE Columbia University in the City of New York
PolyDrop LLC University of Washington
SioTeX Corporation Texas State University
SPOUTS of Water Harvard University
StemSurgical University of Southern California
Superior Ecotech University of Colorado Boulder
TheraBracelet University of Louisville
Tympanogen Tulane University
vuPad University of California, Los Angeles
WAVVE University of Houston

For more information on the 2014 Rice Business Plan Competition, visit http://alliance.rice.edu/rbpc.aspx.

About Jeff Falk