2014 Rice Business Plan Competition Awards Nearly $3 Million in Prizes – Largest Amount Ever!

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TiE Partner is “World’s Richest and Largest Global Student Startup Competition

2014 Rice Business Plan Competition awards nearly $3 million, crowns global champion
RWTH Aachen University, Germany wins more than $500,000 at world’s richest, largest student startup competition.

The 2014 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) awarded nearly $3 million in cash and prizes in a record number of prizes at the Awards Banquet on Saturday night, April 12. Medical Adhesive Revolution of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, the startup that has developed a high-strength biodegradable surgical adhesive that can be used inside the human body to seal wounds within seconds, emerged as the top startup company winning $507,500 in the world’s richest and largest student startup competition. This is the first time an international team has won the competition and the first time two international teams have finished in the top six.

The GOOSE Society of Texas presented Medical Adhesive Revolution with the $200,000 investment grand prize. Medical Adhesive Revolution also received a $112,500 investment prize from the OWL Investment Group and $100,000 from the Greater Houston Partnership’s Opportunity Houston program. In addition. Medical Adhesive Revolution will have an opportunity to ring the NASDAQ bell in New York City.

The size of this year’s total purse was reflective of both of the quality of 42 startups that were selected to compete from about 500 applicants, as well as the strength of the Houston and Texas entrepreneurship community, which has emerged as one of the leading entrepreneurial hubs in the United States. Two recent additions to the Houston startup scene, the Texas Halo Fund and SURGE, an energy accelerator, both provided sizable new investment prizes at this year’s competition. Moreover, the Houston Angel Network was ranked as the third most active angel network in the U.S. in 2013.

BetaGlide, from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India was awarded a $1 million investment prize from the Mercury Fund, one of the most active early-stage venture capital firms in the mid-continent. The announcement by Aziz Gilani, Mercury Fund Director, that the Mercury Fund was leading an already oversubscribed investment round of $1 million, took the 800 attendees at the Awards Banquet by surprise. BetaGlide has developed a one-stop destination for mobile app developers to create better and efficient apps in an intelligent way. The OWL Investment Group has committed to participate in this investment round, as well.

Aziz Gilani surprised the crowd a second time by announcing that the Mercury Fund was awarding a second investment prize to TheraBracelet from the University of Louisville in the amount of $100,000.

Even before this announcement, the prize money for this year’s competition had already reached over $1.6 million prior to the start of the 2014 Rice Business Plan Competition, a new record. The RBPC was launched in 2001 with nine teams competing for $10,000, and has grown in the quality of the competitors and size of the prize money each year. The growth of the competition was led by the GOOSE Society of Texas in 2005, with additional fuel provided by the Greater Houston Partnership, Mercury Fund, the OWL Investment Group, and others in subsequent years.

The OWL Investment Group was founded in 2010 by Robert Winter (daVinci Capital Group) and Susan Hardin (successful entrepreneur), with legal support by Chuck Powell and Scott Brown from Norton Rose Fulbright and tax & accounting support provided by Del Walker and Kenneth Guidry at PKF Texas. Banking support is provided by Mark Montgomery at BBVA Compass Bank. The group started with 12 angel investors providing a $60,000 prize in 2010. This year, the OWL Investment Prizes totaled $225,000 (a new record), with about 35 investors participating.

The OWLs decided to offer two prizes for the second year in a row, with $112,500 going to the overall winner (Medical Adhesive Revolution) and a second investment prize of $112,500, the OWL Choice Award, going to A-76 Technologies. In addition, the OWL Investment Group is investing in BetaGlide as part of the $1 million funding round, bringing to the total potential OWL Investment prizes at the 2014 RBPC to over $300,000.

Rice University’s own team, A-76 Technologies, came in second with a corrosion inhibitor that was developed in the lab of Dr. James Tour, the T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering. The company is initially targeting customers in the oil and gas industry but has future plans to expand in transportation, marine, utilities, and infrastructure. They walked away with more than $550,000 in investment, cash and prizes.

The largest of the A-76 prizes came from the OWL Investment Group as Robert Winter and Susan Hardin announced the $112,500 OWL Choice Award. The GOOSE Society of Texas added to the A-76 prize total when Rod Canion announced that the GOOSE Society was augmenting the OWL prize with an additional $100,000. The team went on to rack up several prizes, including the $80,000 SURGE Most Innovative Energy Tech Startup Investment prize announced by Kirk Coburn and the Greater Houston Partnership $100,000 Technology prize announced by Bob Pertierra.

The new $125,000 Texas Halo Fund prize went to SioTex Corporation from Texas State University, announced by Victor Elgohary from the Texas Halo Fund. SioTex, a specialty chemical and performance materials manufacturer, has developed a drop-in replacement for fumed silica called Eco-Sil.

KAir Battery from Ohio State University won the $100,000 U.S. Department of Energy Clean Tech prize announced by Jennifer Garson from DOE/Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. KAir produces highly energy efficient and cost effective 1kWh potassium air batteries for mass energy storage.

focalCast from Marquette University won this year’s $50,000 Trailblazer Capital Startup Entrepreneur prize announced by Joel Fontenot from Trailblazer Capital. focalCast is a mobile application that allows mobile users to present PowerPoints from their tablet or smartphone directly to a display device.

A special Rice University Entrepreneurial Leadership Award was presented by Rice President David Leebron to Dr. Jack Gill on behalf of the GOOSE Society of Texas, the group of successful entrepreneurs and investors who have provided the Grand Prize at the Rice Business Plan Competition since 2005. Over the past 10 years, not only has the group provided the RBPC grand prize, but the group has invested more than $12 million in past RBPC winners. Eight of the 11 GOOSE members were in attendance at the Awards Banquet, including Founding Members, Rod Canion and Dr. Jack Gill.

Heath Butler, Managing Director, Business Development, at Insperity, provided special opening remarks. Insperity has been the title sponsor of the Rice Business Plan Competition since 2010. Insperity, itself a Houston entrepreneurial success story, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance, serving over 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees.

The RBPC has turned into the preeminent showcase for the most promising student-based startups. More than 155 competitors have successfully launched their companies after competing at the Rice Business Plan Competition. These companies are in business today (or have had successful exits) and have raised more than $844 million in funding. This includes 11 successful exits totaling more than $250 million. In total the market value of past competitors exceeds $1 billion.

Described by Fortune magazine as “the Super Bowl and World Series of business plan competitions combined” the 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 evaluate the startup ventures based on their investment potential.

Startup 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.

This year’s field was the most diverse in RBPC history, with teams representing 4 continents and 8 countries: Bangladesh, Canada, Germany, India, Kenya, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States.

The top six finalists in the 2014 RBPC:

 

  • 1st Place: Medical Adhesive Revolution GmbH – RWTH Aachen University, Germany, Grand prize: $507,500 – Medical Adhesive Revolution has developed a high-strength biodegradable surgical adhesive that can be used inside the human body to seal wounds within seconds.
  • 2nd Place: A-76 Technologies, Rice University – second place, $550,000 – A-76 Technologies is commercializing a novel corrosion inhibitor initially targeting the oil and gas industry.
  • 3rd Place: EcoBreeze, National Taiwan University, Taiwan – EcoBreeze is commercializing an innovative, powerful and green cooling technology that is more efficient, lower cost, and provides longer life for computer manufacturers.
  • 4th Place: Innoblative, Northwestern University – Innoblative has created a novel medical device to destroy any residual breast cancer in a matter of minutes instead of weeks, without the need for dangerous ionizing radiation, while significantly reducing the need for re-excision for a fraction of the cost.
  • 5th Place: Tympanogen, Tulane University – Tympanogen is commercializing the first ever non-surgical treatment for tympanic membrane perforations using a patent-pending gel patch.
  • 6th Place: LymphaTech, Georgia Institute of Technology – LymphaTech is commercializing a revolutionary diagnostic that enables prevention of lymphedema, a debilitating disease that affects 50% of all breast cancer survivors.

Winners of Other Major Prizes include:
$25,000 Women’s Health and Wellness Innovation Prize:
LymphaTech, Georgia Institute of Technology

$15,000 Women’s Health and Wellness Innovation Prize:
Innoblative, Northwestern University

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

$25,000 nCourage Courageous Women Entrepreneur Prize:
Microbe Detectives, University of Wisconsin

$20,000 nCourage Courageous Women Entrepreneur Prize:
Tympanogen, Tulane University

$25,000 CASIS ISS National Lab Space Flight Prize:
A-76 Technologies, Rice University

$20,000 NASA Earth/Space Human Health and Performance Innovation Prize
Tympanogen, Tulane University

$15,000 Heinlein Commercial Space Activity Prize:
PolyDrop, LLC, University of Washington

$15,000 Wells Fargo Clean Tech Prize:
Waave, University of Houston

$15,000 Novak Druce Innovation Prize:
EcoBreeze, National Taiwan University

$10,000 Cindy Lindsay and Steve Sheafor Social Impact Venture Prize:
SPOUTS of Water, Harvard

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

$10,000 Shell Technology Ventures Energy Prize:
SPOUTS of Water, Harvard

$8,000 Pearland EDC Spirit of Entrepreneurship Prize:
A-76 Technologies, Rice University

$4,000 RBPC Alumni Award Prize:
GestVision, Yale University

$3,000 Palo Alto Software Best Written Business Plan Prize:
Medical Adhesive Revolution GmbH, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

$3,000 Houston Business Journal Leadership Prize:
Iowa Approach, Inc., University of Iowa

$3,000 Gimmal Best IT Prize:
focalCast, Marquette University

$3,000 Energy Ventures Best Energy Team Prize:
A-76 Technologies, Rice University

$1,000 Austin Ventures – Best Elevator Pitch Prize:
NanDio, University of Notre Dame

$1,000 Santé Ventures Best Life Science Elevator Pitch prize
Nandio, University of Notre Dame

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

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2014 RBPC Insert

Rice Business Plan Competition sets record by awarding nearly $3 million in prizes, local startup wins big

Behind the deal: Mercury Fund wows Rice competition with $1M investment prize

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2014 RBPC Awards Nearly $3 Million in Prizes – Richest Ever (press release)

 

XConomy 

Big Money Follows Big Talk at Rice University’s Startup Competition

Posted on April 29, 2014 in TiE UK North News

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