HOUSTON – (July 27, 2022) – OwlSpark, Rice University’s high-growth tech startup accelerator, is celebrating 10 years of facilitating entrepreneurship and its 10th cohort, along with debuting the inaugural class of the small business accelerator BlueLaunch, which is focused on growing ventures of any industry.
OwlSpark and BlueLaunch, run by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, will join the University of Houston’s RED Labs and RED Launch Aug. 3 at the ninth annual Bayou Startup Showcase, a celebration of entrepreneurship and the community that champions new ventures.
The showcase, held at Saint Arnold Brewing Co., will feature 24 companies from the four accelerators. Attendees will be able to engage with the entrepreneurs, sign up for preorders and buy products at their booths. Teams have prerecorded their pitches for those interested in learning about them in advance, watching during the event or reviewing afterward.
The ventures from OwlSpark Class 10 are:
- Blyss is building a dating app that safely facilitates the ideal date.
- PB & Chicken designs wrestling shoes for women, by women.
- Sapling Jobs trains and connects India-based college students with American entrepreneurs for part-time remote work in web development, graphic design and social media marketing.
- SWITCH is building an ed tech platform matching economically disadvantaged high school students with businesses to fill entry-level positions with diverse candidates, aiming to lower company turnover and provide long-term career opportunities.
The ventures from BlueLaunch Class 1 are:
- BakedBones® crafts handmade, organic, hemp-infused supplements and treats for dogs.
- Flumos handcrafts fountains of metal and glass, creating displays of fire and water for high-end residential use.
- Highland Bell offers sophisticated glassware featuring the architectural patterns of universities.
- Paige & Demi is a full-service organizational company specializing in home relocation.
- Starfire Vintage is a vintage clothing resale and personal styling business.
- Tarel Laboratory creates skin care products at the intersection of science and affordability, without the side effects of conventional products.
Since its inception in 2012, more than 180 founders — primarily Rice students, faculty and staff — and 73 tech startups have benefited from participating in OwlSpark, gaining valuable knowledge and skills while raising more than $51.5 million combined.
Both OwlSpark and BlueLaunch provide hands-on entrepreneurship experience for new ventures through targeted training and mentoring. Along with these accelerator programs, Rice Alliance’s partnerships with university and community organizations create an environment that cultivates emerging entrepreneurs and early-stage startups, enabling founders to experience the value of collaboration and surround themselves with the best people and resources to help them succeed.
OwlSpark also helps alumni startups transition into other highly ranked startup programs on the national stage, most notably TMC Innovation, Capital Factory, MassChallenge, Y Combinator and AWS Healthcare Accelerator. It also opens doors to entrepreneurship-adjacent career opportunities, from starting new companies to joining venture firms or becoming intrapreneurs at leading corporations.
RSVP here for the Bayou Startup Showcase. Attendance is free.