2012 Rice Business Plan Competition Awards $1.55 Million in Prizes – Richest Ever
NuMat Technologies from Northwestern crowned World Champion and takes home $874,300 from world’s richest and largest business plan competition.
– April 16, 2012 – The 2012 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) crowned NuMat
Technologies from Northwestern as the World Champion startup company Saturday
night, awarding more than $1.55 million in cash and prizes at the awards banquet.
This is a record year for prizes, with The GOOSE Society of Texas TM
tripling their prize purse from $150,000 to $450,000 as Jack Gill and Bob
Brockman handed out their Grand Prize check to the winning team. The world’s
richest and largest business plan competition brought 42 teams from across the
globe to pitch their new technology business plans to more than 250 judges who themselves are successful venture capital investors,
entrepreneurs, and business leaders. More than 600 people attended the
banquet that marked the conclusion of the three-day RBPC. The event, hosted by
the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and Jesse H. Jones
Graduate School of Business at Rice University, marked the twelfth installment
of the RBPC.
Insperity, itself a Houston
success story founded in 1986 that provides an array of human resources and
business solutions to over 100,000 clients and customers, served as the title
sponsor for the third year in a row. FORTUNE covered the competition again this
year and will feature the winners, teams and competition in the May 7, 2012
issue of the magazine and on FORTUNE.com.
In addition to the Grand
Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas, the overall winners took home the
$125,000 OWL Investment Prize, led by Robert Winter and Susan Hardin, and
supported by Fulbright & Jaworksi, PKF Texas, and BBVA Compass Bank. This year, 25 judges and investors came
together to support 2012 OWL Investment prize.
The participation of first year federal sponsor, U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE), demonstrated that clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship is an
effort that both the public and private sectors can, and must, support.
Representing the Obama Administration’s Startup America Initiative, Dr. Karina
Edmond from DOE, spoke to the importance of business plan competitions in
driving technical innovation and entrepreneurship forward, and handed out the
inaugural $100,000 DOE Clean Energy Prize.
competed in five categories: life sciences,
information technology, energy, green tech, social ventures and other technologies,
in the April 12-14 event. The teams presented 15-minute business plans and also
competed in a rapid fire 60-second elevator pitch contest on the first night or
Since 2001, 128 RBPC teams have launched their companies and are still in business today, raising a total of nearly $500 million in funding. Read their Success Stories.
Eight Prizes of $100,000 or more:
$450,000 GOOSE Society of
Texas Grand Prize – NuMat Technologies, Northwestern University
Investment Prize - NuMat Technologies, Northwestern University
Mercury Tech Transfer Investment Prize – Lemm Technologies, Purdue University
Perkins Caufield & Byers Clean Tech Innovation Prize – NuMat Technologies,
Management “Think Green”® Investment Prize – Mimas Nanotechnologies,
HoustonSM Life Science Technology Prize – Medtric Biotech, Purdue
Opportunity HoustonSM Technology Prize – NuMat Technologies,
NEW $100,000 U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy Prize –
competition’s Grand Prize was valued at $874,300 and included $775,000 in equity
investments and $99,300 of business services including office space, marketing
support, and business mentoring.
The top six finalists were:
NuMat Technologies, Inc. from Northwestern University
won the Grand Prize of $874,300:
invented a nanomaterial that can store gases just like a sponge soaks up water.
One significant application for their nanomaterial is for natural gas tanks
used in everyday motor vehicles. The
material stores gases at lower pressure thereby reducing infrastructure costs
and increasing design flexibility. This allows tanks to be designed around
current automobile underpinnings. The lower pressure storage is also a major safety
factor for this and other uses. NuMat Technologies is currently in discussions
with some major chemical and technology and transportation companies to
commercialize their nanomaterials.
The Grand Prize includes:
- $450,000 Investment Prize from The GOOSE Society
of Texas TM, (the “Grand Order of Successful Entrepreneurs”)
comprised of Bob Brockman, Rod Canion, Nancy Chang, PhD, Arthur A. Ciocca,
Dino Cortopassi, Terry M. Giles, Jack M. Gill, PhD, Michael Holthouse, Eric
Pulaski and Dan Steppe.
- $125,000 OWL Investment Prize
- $100,000 Life Science Award from
Opportunity HoustonSM and Greater Houston Partnership
- One year of
incubation services at the Houston Technology Center and year of computing
support provided by 1-Service ($35,000)
- Marketing and
design services provided by BrandExtract and The Padgett Group ($25,000)
- Web site
development and hosting services for one year provided by ContentActive
- Treasury services
provided by Bank of America ($5,000)
- Best Energy Team
Award sponsored by Energy Ventures ($3,000)
- Roundtrip airline
tickets on United Airlines ($3,000)
- Business Plan
software provided by Palo Alto Software
- Opportunity to
ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ Stock Market in New York
Biotech, LLC, Purdue University, won
second place overall for a total of $146,000, which included the $100,000
Opportunity HoustonSM Technology Prize from the Greater Houston Partnership and the $15,000
cash prize for second place sponsored by Finger Interests, the $25,000 NASA
“Game Changer” Award, $3,000 Life Science Award from Essex Woodlands Health
Ventures, the $3,000 Outstanding Written Business Plan Award from Palo Alto
Software. Medtric provides the measurable difference in wound management with their
infection fighting nanotechnology.
Lemm Technologies, LLC , Purdue University
won third place from Murphree
Venture Partners, the $100,000 DFJ Mercury Tech Transfer Investment Prize, the
$3,000 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award from the Pearland Economic Development
Corporation and the Life Science elevator pitch award from Sante Ventures for a
total of $111,500. LEMM Technologies is a start-up
medical device company with the mission to develop a non-invasive device that
performs sensitive blood chemistry analysis.
MIT won fourth place from Fulbright
& Jaworski and $100,000 U.S. Dept. of Energy
Clean Energy Award and $15,000 Robert & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust for a
total of $120,000. SolidEnergy improves the safety and energy density of
rechargeable lithium batteries. Its battery technology will help speed up the
deployment of electric vehicles, and be a game-changer in the oil drilling
Solanux, Inc., University of Idaho won $25,000, with fifth place award sponsored by
Ernst & Young, the $20,000 Courageous Women Entrepreneurs Award sponsored
by nCourage Entrepreneurs Investment Group, and the $1,000 Elevator Pitch First
Place Award sponsored by Austin Ventures. Solanux produces patented potato food
ingredients with high amounts of resistant starch (RS) which help lower a
person’s glycemic index response, improve insulin levels, improve digestive
health, and lower fat and cholesterol levels.
Salveo Vascular, Johns Hopkins University won $3,000 sixth place award sponsored by Comcast
Salveo Vascular has developed
the Sonicade, an innovative medical device which reduces the morbidity and
mortality associated with central venous catheters. Their vision is to prevent
the unnecessary death and suffering of healthcare’s most vulnerable patients by
developing novel medical devices which deliver hospitals and patients both
clinical and financial value.
Other major prize winners include:
Mimas Nanomaterials, Northwestern University won $101,500 in the competition, taking $100,000 Waste Management “Think
Green” Investment Prize. Mimas Nanomaterials manufactures a suite of next
generation, high margin, micro- and nano-scale materials by upcycling and
reducing post-consumer plastic waste
Johns Hopkins University won $22,750
including the $20,000 NASA Earth/Space Life Science Innovation Award and the
$1,000 Teen Judges Elevator Award. Innovostics is a for-profit social venture
producing point-of-care diagnostic technologies to same patient lives around
Massachusetts Institute of Technology won $26,250 including the $10,000Sheafor–Lindsay Social Impact Venture
Award, the $10,000 Edward H. Molter Memorial Prize for Best Presentation
sponsored by Miller, Egan, Molter & Nelson LLP, and the $5,000 Courageous
Women Entrepreneurs Award sponsored by nCourage Entrepreneurs Investment Group. SasaAfrica is e-commerce for the developing world,
connecting craftswomen from developing countries to the global marketplace,
using a simple mobile phone.
Scientific, Johns Hopkins University won $10,000 including the new $8,000 Women's Health and Wellness Innovations Award
sponsored by Sandi Heysinger and Dick Williams.
University of Copenhagen, Denmark won $5,000 including the $3,000 Disruptive Technology Award sponsored by InContext
Solutions. Senseye is a software that makes it
possible for to activate and operate mobile device using the eyes.
Other prize winners (in alphabetical order) were:
Action Figure Laboratories, Rice
University took home
$7,300. Action Figure Laboratories is an exciting retail concept that will
provide young boys with the experience of creating custom-built toys, similar
to Build-a-Bear Workshop®.
Amaethon, Rice University won $7,750 in prize money. Amaethon
provides an alternative sugar source utilizing a proprietary sweet sorghum
seed. Compared to corn or sugar cane,
Amaethon sweet sorghum yields more sugar per hectare of farmland with minimal
water requirements, resulting in sugar production at a fraction of the price.
ArborVita Associates, University of
Chicago is a
biotechnology company that has developed a proprietary platform technology to
rapidly modify DNA in biomedical research, drug development, and the production
of novel human therapies. They won $700 in this year’s competition.
Athena Laboratories, University of Texas
at Austin won $7,000.
Athena Laboratories is a Medical Device company providing a patented laser
technology to physicians. The laser will be sold under the name FemtoSmooth™
and will be used to treat cellulite.
BeFree!, Johns Hopkins University/ Harvard
University is developing
a vaginal, drug delivery platform technology. The company has received funding
through Obama's Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project and has patents
pending. They won $700 in this year’s competition.
Bladepad, Brigham Young University won $2,000 for their technology, a
razor-thin gamepad for iPhone and iPod touch.
For more information, please visit www.bladepad.com.
Cleanoventions, Indian Institute of Technology,
Kharagpur, India took home $600.Cleanoventions is a start-up on clean energy by IIT Kharagpur
students internally driven by the passion to make India energy self-sufficient.
DrilLight, LLC, Northern Institute of Technology
Management, Germany won $1,000. DrilLight
LLC offers oil rig operators a patent pending solution for monitoring and
compensating harmful drill string vibrations to ensure faster, more profitable
and safer oil drilling.
Dynamo Micropower, Duke University won $1,250. Dynamo Micropower
is a small power products company that provides a unique generator (<30kW
genset) that is tailored to our target market’s needs by leveraging a
proprietary novel micro gas turbine architecture.
Lancaster University Management School, England won $500. eBiogen is an in-vitro diagnostic devices
for non-invasive tests suffer from low accuracy, leading to delay in diagnosis.
eBiogen's patent pending technology has the potential to address this grave
Enzymes, University of Missouri won $1,000. Elemental Enzymes is based off a platform
production technology that reduces process steps, lowers costs, and produces
ultra-durable enzymes for use in the remediation of soil and groundwater.
Global Paradigmz LLC, Carnegie Mellon University. Global
Paradigmz is a software development company founded on the principle of
leveraging outcome-driven innovation (ODI) to forge new paradigms in defying
the global challenges of our time. They won $500 at the competition.
Dartmouth College won ELEC 394
Elevator Pitch Competition Award and $2,000 total.
House Inc enables
homeowners to manage home energy efficiency modifications as investments
instead of purchases, including one-stop online management, financing,
micro-loans, and ROI calculation.
Technologies, University of Illinois at Chicago, IOMI Technologies develops innovative,
sustainable, and socially responsible water remediation and reclamation
solutions to improve public health and environmental welfare. They won $700.
Jola Venture, Northeastern
University, $1,000 winner. Jola
will set up a village technology center, create and distribute sustainable
technologies to Common Initiative
Groups, and sell high valued and packaged foods to local and regional African
University of Louisville won $2,000, including the Company Showcase award
sponsored by McGuire Woods. Kentucky Chia will become the premier distributor of domestically
produced chia seeds, an ancient grain with unrivaled benefits for people and
Instruments, Stanford University took home $500. Lifetime Instruments is an optical
instrumentation company founded by scientists and engineers. Their goal is to
apply the latest breakthroughs in optical imaging to solve pressing real-world
problems, including forensic science and portable medical diagnostics.
University of Utah, Ligadon,
targeting orthopedic and hand surgeons, provides a simple and more effective
device for treating ligament and tendon injuries. They won $500.
Tech, Georgia Institute of Technology, won $600. Mekong Green Tech provides a clean
alternative to Vietnam's brick-making industry through simple, low-cost,
culturally sensitive rice husk gasifiers.
Diagnostics, University of Illinois at Chicago won $2,250. NovoView Diagnostics is an early stage
medical device company created to safely and effectively assess the risk for
stroke through conjunctival blood flow measurement.
Brigham Young University won $4,500, including the $3,000 Best Sales and
Marketing Award sponsored by ContentActive and Houston Business Journal. PhoneSoap is a cell phone accessory
company focused on keeping smartphones sanitary.
PiezoPowerTech, Wayne State University won $600. PiezoPowerTech is an emerging company that develops batteryless
technology for mobile wireless sensors, in particular focused on vibration
energy harvester technology.
Arizona State University, won $500, reNature is a biotech company with a goal of developing
economically viable sustainable alternatives to waste production and energy
Water Solution, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, India won $600. Samriddhi Water Solutions aims to commercialize
biosorption technology from the proprietary technology developed in house for
waste water effluents from industries.
Washington University in St. Louis won $600. Saturnis is commercializing a
patent-pending process that involves a single-step conversion of biomass to a
refiner-ready synthetic crude oil, and looks to raise $750,000 for process
The University of Chicago won $600. SlideStacks is online presentation software that changes the way
we deliver presentations. They provide an elegantly simply user interface that
makes it easy for presenters to introduce the right slides, at the right time,
based on the flow of the conversation.
Solutions, University of Arkansas won $700. SpatiaLink is reinventing the shelf
planning process by integrating with the supply chain to improve on-shelf
availability. Their trade-secret algorithms optimize product assortment to
maximize retail sales and market share for product manufacturers.
Nitrogen Group, Stanford University won $1,000. The Stanford Nitrogen Group has developed
a new wastewater treatment process that recovers renewable energy from waste
LLC University of Delaware won $600. T3D Nanotech, LLC is a high technology startup spun off from
patented nanotech research from the University of Delaware.
Innoventions, Pvt. Ltd. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India won $1,000. Think Innoventions Pvt. Ltd. is a firm
conceived to provide advanced low cost digital pen products and solutions based
on our patented "Intelligent Image Capture Technology".
The University of Pennsylvania/Harvard University won $700. Vasculogic is a medical device company
developing blood flow regulator technology to reduce cardiovascular
complications in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients.
Other major sponsors of the Rice Business
Plan Competition (not
already mentioned above) include: NASDAQ OMX Educational Foundation, the Ewing
Marion Kauffman Foundation, SURGE Accelerator, ConocoPhillips, UK Trade &
Investment – British Consulate-General Houston, VS Elgohary & Associates,
Sim-Tex, LP, FLS Associates, Haynes and Boone, LLP, Oracle, Comerica Bank,
Access Global, Bennu, S3 Ventures, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Minuteman
Press, Silver Fox Advisors, NCIIA, and Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
About the Rice Business Plan
Competition and Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship
The Rice University Business Plan
Competition is the world’s largest and richest graduate-level business plan
competition. It is hosted and organized by the Rice Alliance for Technology and
Entrepreneurship along with the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at
This is the 12th year
for the competition. In that time, it has grown from nine teams competing for
$10,000 in prize money in 2001, to 42 teams from around the world competing for
more than $1.55 million in cash and prizes.
More than 130 corporate and
private sponsors support the business plan competition. Venture capitalists and
other investors from around the country volunteer their time to judge the
competition, with the majority of the 250+ judges coming from the investment
sector. One hundred and twenty-eight competitors have gone on to successfully
launch their business and are still in business today, raising in excess of
$450 million in funding and employ more than 1000 people.
The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship
(Rice Alliance) is Rice University’s nationally-recognized initiative devoted
to the support of technology commercialization, entrepreneurship education, and
the launch of technology companies. It was formed as a strategic alliance of three schools:
the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences
and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.
Since inception in 1999, the Rice Alliance has hosted over 1,400
start-up companies at its programs which have raised more than $2.5 billion in
early-stage capital. More info: www.alliance.rice.edu.