42 teams selected to vie for over $1M in prizes at Rice Business Plan Competition

World’s richest and largest student startup competition offers tech startups big prizes

Rice Business Plan Competition

As in years past, the winner of the 2018 Rice Business Plan Competition will ring the closing bell at Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City. Photo courtesy of Nasdaq

Forty-two teams hailing from some of the world’s top universities will vie for more than $1 million in prizes at the 18th annual Rice Business Plan Competition at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business April 5-7.

For the third year, teams will compete for the $5,000 People’s Choice Competition, sponsored by SoFi, which challenges the spirit of each university. Team members, fellow students, alumni, family and friends can vote for their favorite team via a Facebook survey beginning at noon March 12. To vote, go to www.facebook.com/2018rbpc.

The teams for this year’s competition were chosen from more than 300 applicants to compete in four categories: life sciences; information technology/web/mobile; energy/clean technology/sustainability; and tech innovation.

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 MarketSite in New York City. Judges select the winner based on the company that represents the best investment opportunity.

“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, which hosts the event. “The competition has served as the launch pad for a great number of successful entrepreneurial ventures, and the success rate exceeds the national average.”

More than 201 former competitors have gone on to successfully launch their ventures and are still in business today. Past competitors have raised nearly $2 billion in funding and created more than 2,000 new jobs.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are the driving factors for economic growth in the United States,” Burke said. “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 300 judges from the investment sector and awards of more than $1 million in prizes. Among the top prizes in the 2018 competition are the $300,000 Investment Grand Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas; $200,000 OWL Investment Prize; $100,000 Houston Angel Network (HAN) Investment Prize; $50,000 Department of Energy Cleantech Prize; $50,000 Women’s Health and Wellness Innovations Prize; $25,000 nCourage Courageous Women Entrepreneurs Prize; $25,000 Texas Business Hall of Fame Best of Texas Prize; $10,000 Pearland Spirit of Entrepreneurship Prize; and two NASA Commercial Space Innovation prizes.

The competition takes place in McNair Hall, the home of the Jones School, 6100 Main St. The awards banquet will be held at 6 p.m. April 7 at Westin Galleria, 5060 W. Alabama St. The banquet is by invitation only but open to the news media.

2018 Rice Business Plan Competition teams

TEAM NAME                                                            SCHOOL NAME

Acention University of Pennsylvania
Active Energy Systems Cornell University
Aday Technologies, Inc. Harvard University
Aerospec Technologies Northwestern University
Alva Motor Solutions NTNU
BackWave Technologies Northwestern University & University of Michigan
CatheCare Columbia University
Clearcam The University of Texas at Austin
Embryotics Texas Tech University
Fairway Biomed Washington University in St. Louis
Feros Freight Innovations University of Oregon
find technologies Carnegie Mellon University
Four Growers University of Pittsburgh
FRED University of Pittsburgh
Infinite Cooling MIT
Instapath Inc Tulane University
Iterative Scopes MIT
Lapovations University of Arkansas
Lunula Health Georgia Institute of Technology
MedKairos The University of Michigan
Noleus Technologies Rice University
NUMiX Northwestern University
Ocella Inc. University of California, San Diego
Oculus Prime Georgia Institute of Technology
OptiML Duke University
OZÉ MIT
Paragon Real Estate Technologies, Inc. Yale University
PolarPanel University of Houston
Rubi Brigham Young University
SalvePeds University of Notre Dame
SeatPotato The University of Texas at Austin
Sightecho Limited Hong Kong University of Science and Techhnology
Smart Blox University of Arizona & Queensland University of Technology
Smartenius Inc. University of Delaware
Sonodontics University of Michigan
Spine Align Johns Hopkins University
SurgePower Materials Texas State University
Syntr Health Technologies, Inc University of California, Irvine
BellaNove UCLA
Uchooze Lunchbox University Of Arkansas
WCB Robotics Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani – Hyderabad Campus
Wunderite Boston College

For more information on the 2018 Rice Business Plan Competition, visit www.rbpc.rice.edu.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.