Rice Alliance announces accelerator programs’ latest startups

Cohorts feature clean energy, health care and software ventures

McNair Hall, home of Rice Business

HOUSTON – (May 1, 2023) – The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, a catalyst for innovation and new business, has announced the 17 ventures participating in its summer accelerators for Rice University students, faculty, recent alumni and staff, the largest number of ventures in the 11-year history of these programs.

This year’s OwlSpark and BlueLaunch cohorts will bring together Rice MBAs, graduate students from engineering and social sciences, recent alumni and staff for three months of immersive, experiential training as well as support and growth in their businesses. The participating companies are leveraging new ideas in health care, food and beverage, construction, pet care, disaster recovery, clean energy, software, education and consumer products. 

The OwlSpark tech startup accelerator was founded in 2013 to ignite a passion for entrepreneurship in Rice students and faculty and to give them the knowledge, mentoring and investor connections to successfully launch their technology-based startups.

Launched in 2022, BlueLaunch is the newest accelerator supporting Rice-affiliated small businesses, with programming tailored for the non-tech entrepreneur. In total, more than 83 ventures have completed these two programs over the past 11 years and raised more than $103 million in funding.

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These 12-week summer accelerators blend supportive founders, industry leaders, investors, mentors, an unrivaled entrepreneurial curriculum and an invitation to Houston’s thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“I’m excited to support these new ventures with highly curated offerings and rich mentorship, propelling them to commercial success. We have built a long-standing culture of advocacy and collaboration, and look forward to upholding that in our largest cohort to date,” said Jessica Fleenor, managing director of BlueLaunch and OwlSpark. “I’m thrilled to also include two startups commercializing clean energy innovations, supporting a key pillar of the strategy of Rice Business and Rice University and helping to make Houston a leader in the energy transition.”

OwlSpark Class 11:

  • Terradote will manufacture cost-competitive, petroleum-free chemicals using captured carbon dioxide, methane and renewable bio-based materials.
  • Biomethanator’s biofilm bioreactors utilize biomethanation to convert industrial-waste carbon dioxide to methane, which can be used as fuel or in other industrial applications.
  • Taurus Vascular is developing a minimally invasive catheter for addressing the most pressing complication of endovascular aortic aneurysm repair: endoleaks.
  • Voythos offers a mobile physician companion that monitors electronic medical records, prompting action and initiating care workflows.
  • AiKYNETIX is developing a video analytics platform for human motion insights, focusing on a mobile running lab for runners and coaches.
  • AllStars is building an affect-sensitive educational tool for self-studying and blended classroom learning.
  • Eureka Hub is developing a marketplace where data and research scientists can publish, manage, share and revise analytical models for data sets across diverse applications.
  • ScoutBetter is an end-to-end recruiting platform that connects students with corporate campuses and provides recruiters access to university talent.

BlueLaunch Class 2:

  • Archway Family Medicine provides medical care to patients through a monthly membership model known as direct primary care.
  • rdy helps communities recover from disasters faster and more equitably by working with local organizations to plan for them.
  • 610 Smokehouse is a mobile food service and catering company that serves “Texan Fusion,” a unique cuisine that combines traditional Texas barbecue with diverse Houston food.
  • Serendipity Picnic is a unique picnic with all the goodies and essentials wrapped in a beautiful, lightweight, easy-to-carry and reusable “BlanKIT.”
  • La Mer Macaron offers an assortment of homemade French macarons.
  • TenTwelve provides residential construction and remodeling services.
  • DHA America customizes, designs and sells powder-coated and galvanized fence panels, posts and accessories.
  • All About Baby provides bespoke tableware for babies transitioning to solid foods.
  • MeowPlanet is opening a cat lounge.

Participating founders will work alongside other budding founders at the University of Houston, a partnership that dates back almost a decade. The accelerators are jointly run and culminate in the Bayou Startup Showcase — a community-wide demo day bringing more than 500 people together to discover new ventures.

“Our collaboration is truly remarkable because during the program, the founders become so intertwined that they are unaware of which university each person belongs to, and even after the program, we maintain connections between both sides, creating a valuable network that benefits everyone involved,” said Liana Gonzalez-Schulenberg, managing director of RED Labs and RED Launch at the University of Houston.

Built on years of refinement but uniquely crafted for each summer, the Rice Alliance programs meet founders where they are on their journeys with the tools they need for their unique milestones, activating their game-changing potential. Read more here about Rice Alliance venture success stories.