Team from RWTH Aachen University, Germany, wins 2014 Rice Business Plan Competition

Nearly $3 million awarded at world’s richest, largest student startup competition

Medical Adhesive Revolution of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, became the first international team to win the Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) over the weekend.

Rice President David Leebron, fifth from left, and Jones School Dean Glick, second from right, cheer on Rice team A-76 Technologies' successful performance at the 2014 Rice Business Plan Competition. The team took second, winning nearly $550,000. (Photo courtesy of Rice Alliance)

The team developed a high-strength biodegradable surgical adhesive that can be used inside the human body to seal wounds within seconds and won $507,500 of the record-high nearly $3 million in cash and prizes awarded at the world’s richest and largest student startup competition April 10-12.

BetaGlide, from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagur, India, was awarded a $1 million investment prize from the Mercury Fund. The announcement was a surprise for the team and the 800 attendees at the banquet. BetaGlide developed a one-stop destination for mobile app developers to create better and more efficient apps in an intelligent way.

Rice University’s own team, A-76 Technologies, came in second with development of a corrosion inhibitor. The team is initially targeting customers in the oil and gas industry and plans for future expansion in transportation, marine, utilities and infrastructure. The team walked away with more than $550,000 in investment, cash and prizes.

This year’s competition also marked the first time two international teams finished in the top six: Medical Adhesive Revolution and EcoBreeze of National Taiwan University, Taiwan, who finished third.

Described by Fortune magazine as “the Super Bowl and World Series of business plan competitions,” the 2014 contest brought 42 university teams from across the globe to pitch their new technology businesses to more than 270 venture-capital and investor judges. Judges evaluated the businesses based on the investment potential.

The teams competed in four categories — energy, clean technology and sustainability; information technology, Web and digital media; life sciences, biotechnology and health care; and social-impact ventures — by presenting 15-minute investment pitches. They also competed in a rapid-fire 60-second elevator-pitch contest on the first night of the competition.

Since the RBPC’s inception in 2001, more than 155 competitors have successfully launched their companies and are in business today or have had successful exits. Competing teams have raised more than $844 million in funding and had successful exits of more than $250 million, for a total market value of more than $1 billion.

The top six finalists based on the judges’ overall score in the 2014 RBPC were:

Medical Adhesive Revolution GmbH, RWTH Aachen University, Germany — grand prize, more than $507,500 total value
Medical Adhesive Revolution developed a high-strength biodegradable surgical adhesive that can be used inside the human body to seal wounds within seconds.

The grand prize includes:

  • $200,000+ Investment Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas. 
  • $100,000+ OWL Investment Prize.
  • $100,000 Technology Award from Opportunity Houston and Greater Houston Partnership.
  • One year of incubation services at the Houston Technology Center and a year of computing support provided by 1-Service ($35,000).
  • Marketing and design services provided by BrandExtract and The Padgett Group ($25,000).
  • Website development and hosting services for one year provided by ContentActive ($30,000).
  • Treasury services provided by Bank of America ($5,000).
  • Dun & Bradstreet Credit Builder Prize ($1,398).
  • Business Plan software provided by Palo Alto Software.
  • Opportunity to ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ Stock Market in New York.

A-76 Technologies, Rice University — second place, $550,000
A-76 Technologies manufactures corrosion inhibitors. A-76 Technologies will initially target customers in the oil and gas industry and plans for future expansion in transportation, marine, utilities and infrastructure.

EcoBreeze, National Taiwan University, Taiwan — third place, $22,500
EcoBreeze is a company based on researching and commercializing innovative, powerful and green cooling technology for customers in ICT/LED field.

Innoblative, Northwestern University — fourth place, $20,000
Innoblative is innovating the treatment of breast cancer by delivering therapy in minutes instead of weeks, for a fraction of the cost and without dangerous ionizing radiation.

Tympanogen, Tulane University — fifth place, $44,000
Tympanogen is commercializing a patent-pending gel patch for resolving a medical condition called chronic tympanic membrane perforations – holes in the eardrum – without the need for surgery.

LymphoTech, Georgia Institute of Technology — sixth place, $38,000
LymphaTech has developed a revolutionary diagnostic that enables prevention of lymphedema, a debilitating disease that affects 50 percent of all breast cancer survivors.

Winners of individual prizes:
BetaGlide, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagur, India — $1 million Mercury Fund prize.

SioTex Corporation, Texas State University — $125,000 Texas Halo Fund prize.

KAir Battery, The Ohio State University — $100,000 U.S. Department of Energy Clean Tech prize.

TheraBracelet, University of Louisville — $100,000 Mercury Fund prize.

A-76 Technologies, Rice University — $80,000 SURGE Most Innovative Energy Tech Startup Investment prize.

focalCast, Marquette University — $50,000 Trailblazer Capital Startup Entrepreneur prize.

LymphaTech, Georgia Institute of Technology — $25,000 Women’s Health and Wellness Innovation prize.

Innoblative, Northwestern University — $15,000 Women’s Health and Wellness Innovation prize.

mHealth Solutions Center, Kenya Medical Training College and Kisii University, Kenya — $3,000 Women’s Health and Wellness Innovation prize.

Microbe Detectives, University of Wisconsin-Madison — $25,000 nCourage Courageous Women Entrepreneur prize.

Tympanogen, Tulane University — $20,000 nCourage Courageous Women Entrepreneur prize.

A-76 Technologies, Rice University — $25,000 CASIS ISS National Lab Space Flight prize.

Tympanogen, Tulane University — $20,000 NASA Earth/Space Life Science Innovation prize.

PolyDrop LLC, University of Washington — $15,000 Heinlein Commercial Space Activity prize.

Waave, University of Houston — $15,000 Wells Fargo Clean Tech prize.

EcoBreeze, National Taiwan University — $15,000 Novak Druce Innovation prize.

SPOUTS of Water, Harvard — $10,000 Cindy Lindsay and Steve Sheafor Social Impact Venture Award.

LymphaTech, Georgia Institute of Technology — $10,000 Edward H. Molter Memorial Prize for Best Presentation.

SPOUTS of Water, Harvard — $10,000 Shell Technology Ventures Energy prize.

A-76 Technologies, Rice University — Pearland EDC Spirit of Entrepreneurship prize.

GestVision, Yale University — $4,000 RBPC Alumni prize.

Medical Adhesive Revolution GmbH, RWTH Aachen University, Germany — $3,000 Palo Alto Best-Written Business Plan prize.

NanoLinea, Rice University — $1,000 Venture Fellows Company to Watch prize.

Iowa Approach Inc., University of Iowa — $3,000 Houston Business Journal Leadership prize.

focalCast, Marquette University — Gimmal Best IT prize.

A-76 Technologies, Rice University — Energy Ventures Energy prize.

Medical Adhesive Revolution GmbH, RWTH Aachen University, Germany — Austin Ventures Best Elevator Pitch prize.

Nandio, University of Notre Dame — Sante Ventures Best Life Science Elevator Pitch prize.

About Jeff Falk