Rice Business Plan Competition Wrap-Up

by | Apr 9, 2008 | Community Circle

Now that it is all said and done, the Rice Business Plan Competition was a resounding success. 36 plans were selected from 234 submissions. Congratulations to all who presented! You should be proud to be selected!

The plans are getting better and better each year. The difference between numbers one and seven in the final flight is getting smaller and the difference between numbers one, two and three in each flight is very small as well. The competition is tough!

Once piece of advice from the judge’s room: be prepared to make your pitch, and have lots of background information to assist in the presentation. This was a common theme amongst the flight winners. 

One of the teams in my flight, DiagNano, wrote and asked me to post the link to their website. I am more than willing to do so, they can be found at www.nanohc.com.

Below is the email the Rice Alliance sent out with the final results. Next year’s competition will be held April 16-18, 2009, so mark your calendars now.

Announcing the Winners of the 2008 Rice Business Plan Competition, April 3-5, 2008

The 2008 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) awarded more than $675,000 in cash and prizes at an awards banquet on Saturday, April 5, which almost doubled the prize money from 2007. The banquet was the largest ever, with 630 attendees, making it the largest entrepreneurship event in Texas.

Opportunity HoustonSM, a program of the Greater Houston Partnership, joined forces with the Rice Alliance this year to offer two new $100,000 awards for the best Life Science and best Technology businesses.

The GOOSE Society of TexasTM increased the overall grand prize to $125,000 investment.

FORTUNE Small Business joined with the Rice Alliance as the national media sponsor in 2008 and the competition will be featured in the May 2008 issue and on CNNMoney.com.

The competition’s Grand Prize was valued in total at over $325,000!! This included $225,000 in equity investment (in two parts), $20,000 additional cash and over $85,000 of business services including office space, marketing support, and business mentoring.  The Grand Prize was awarded to qcue, from The University of Texas at Austin. qcue is a dynamic pricing solution for concert promoters, sports teams, and venues. Its software application transforms existing box offices into electronic markets by implementing elements of airline pricing and NASDAQ trading to provide dynamic pricing based on market conditions, while hosting a secondary market which is seamlessly integrated with the primary market.

qcue from The University of Texas at Austin was awarded:

The Grand Prizes include:

  • $125,000 Investment Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas TM, (the “Grand Order of Successful Entrepreneurs”) comprised of Bob Brockman, Rod Canion, Nancy Chang, M.D., Arthur A. Ciocca, Terry M. Giles, Jack M. Gill, PhD, Michael Holthouse, and Leo Linbeck, III.
  • $100,000Technology Award from Opportunity HoustonSM and Greater Houston Partnership
  • $20,000 grand prize cash award provided by Kenda Capital and Shell
  • $2,500 cash award for receiving the DFJ Mercury IT Award for best IT company 
  • Marketing and design services provided by BrandExtract and The Padgett Group
  • Office space and facility services provided by Houston Technology Center and 1-Service
  • Strategic Assessment provided by SGT
  • Treasury services provided by Bank of America
  • Business mentoring provided by Silver Fox Advisors
  • Roundtrip airline tickets on Continental Airlines
  • Web site and hosting services provided by ContentActive
  • MS Office and Windows Server software package provided by Microsoft
  • Business Plan Pro Premier software package provided by Palo Alto Software
  • ACT! And Peachtree Accounting software package provided by Sage Software
  • Opportunity to give Venture Pitch at the Houston Angel Network
  • Opportunity to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ

All thirty-six teams that took part in this year’s RBPC received cash prizes.  Other top winners included:

2nd Place Team – Klymit, Brigham Young University ($15,000 cash award from Finger Interest and prizes of $5,550) 

3rd Place Team – NeuroBank, Carnegie Mellon ($7,500 cash award from Sirius Solutions):

4th Place Team – MicroTransponder, University of Texas at Dallas ($5,000 cash award from Sirius Solutions):

5th Place Team – Enexra, Harvard University/Hanover Medical School, Germany ($4,000 cash award from Administaff):

6th Place Team –  HeartSounds, University of Illinois – Chicago ($3,000 cash award from Administaff):

7th Place Team – Etoh Pharmaceuticals, University of Chicago ($3,000 cash award from Administaff):

In addition to cash awards, all finalists received software from Microsoft, Palo Alto Software and Sage Software.  The top three finalists received business mentoring from Silver Fox Advisors.

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