Rice Business Plan Competition announces 2019 teams vying for over $1.5 M in prizes

Jeff Falk

Mary Lynn Fernau

Rice Business Plan Competition announces 2019 teams vying for over $1.5 M in prizes
World’s richest and largest student startup contest now bigger than ever

HOUSTON – (Feb. 27, 2019) – Forty-two teams hailing from some of the world’s top universities will vie for more than $1.5 million in prizes at the 19th annual Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) April 4-6 at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. The RBPC is the richest and largest startup business competition in the world.

Credit: 123RF.com/Rice University

For a fourth year, teams will compete for the People’s Choice Competition, 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 1. To vote, go to www.facebook.com/2019rbpc.

The teams for this year’s competition were chosen from more than 300 applicants to compete in four categories: life sciences/medical devices/digital health; digital/information technology/mobile; energy/clean technology/sustainability; and other innovations/investment opportunity.

Select members of the entrepreneurship and investment community reviewed all applications. At the competition, a cohort of 275 judges will decide which company represents the best investment opportunity.

More than 210 former competitors have successfully launched their ventures and are still in business today, including 25 startups that have been acquired. Past competitors have raised over $2.2 billion in capital and created more than 3,000 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 event. “The competition has served as the launch pad for a great number of successful entrepreneurial ventures, and the success rate far exceeds the national average.”

Top prizes in 2019 are expected to be similar to last year, including the $350,000 Investment Grand Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas; the $100,000 OWL Investment Prize; the $100,000 Houston Angel Network (HAN) Investment Prize; the $100,000 TiE Investment Prize; and the $50,000 NASA Space Exploration Innovation Award.

Cisco is again offering the largest cash prize at the competition. The $100,000 Cisco Global Problem Solver prize aims to recognize entrepreneurs who promote and accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technologies, products and services that capture the value of technological innovation to society. Special consideration will be given to businesses that also benefit the environment.

The second-place investment prize has increased to $125,000 in 2019. Finger Interests, Anderson Family Fund and Greg Novak of Novak Druce have contributed to the prize.

New in 2019 are the $100,000 Texas Halo Fund Investment Prize and the $50,000 Pediatric Device Prize supporting the advancement and commercialization of novel pediatric medical devices.

Additional prizes:

  • $50,000 NASA Space Exploration Innovation Award
  • $25,000 nCourage Courageous Women Entrepreneur Prize
  • $25,000 Women’s Health and Wellness Prize awarded by Sandi Heysinger and Dick Williams
  • $25,000 Texas Business Hall of Fame Prize
  • $25,000 Texas Medical Center Accelerator, TMCx, Prizes, plus a guaranteed spot in their accelerator.
  • $20,000 Pearland Economic Development Corporation Prize
  • The winner of the grand prize will ring the closing bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York.

The RBPC has a new custom-designed application, judging and scoring system, developed and managed by Poetic, a Houston-based business technology solutions firm.

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.

2019 Rice Business Plan Competition teams

Startup name University
EnKoat Arizona State University
Crystal Sonic Arizona State University
Flux Marine Boston University
Formally Brown University
Tarseer Carnegie Mellon University
Delta Band Carnegie Mellon University
Colonai Columbia University
Incite Analytics Cornell University
Neutroelectric Dartmouth College
Chord Harvard University and MIT
Modulus Housing Solutions IIT Madras (India)
Treyetech Johns Hopkins University
Avesta76 Johns Hopkins University
Zilper Trenchless Massachusetts Institute of Technology
AeroShield Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Vita Inclinata Technologies Mitchell Hamline School of Law
BetterLife Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
Sunthetics New York University
Rhaeos Northwestern University
Odin Technologies Northwestern University
RagnaRock Geo Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Hearth Labs Princeton University
LilySpec Rice University
PL Biosciences RWTH Aachen University (Germany)
NABACO Texas State University
Embryologic University of California, Irvine
Tutorfly UCLA
Vascugenix University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Respira Labs University of California, Berkeley
AC Biode University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Beltech University of Chicago
BrewBike University of Chicago and Northwestern University
Curenav University of Houston
Speeko University of Iowa
Calcium Solutions University of Michigan
Dough University of Michigan
dermadiagnostics University of Notre Dame
Resonado University of Notre Dame
Heart I/O University of Pittsburgh
HRG Infrastructure Monitoring University of Victoria (Canada)
Astrolabe Analytics University of Washington

For more information on the 2019 Rice Business Plan Competition or to apply, visit http://rbpc.rice.edu.


For more information or to arrange an interview with a competition representative, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6775 or jfalk@rice.edu.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship is Rice University’s nationally recognized initiative devoted to the support of technology commercialization, entrepreneurship education and the launch of technology companies. Since inception, more than 2,300 early stage companies have participated at the 185-plus programs hosted by the Rice Alliance and raised more than $7.9 billion in funding.

About Jeff Falk

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