Cell phone device for convenience store owners wins 2021 Rice Business Plan Competition

A device that allows convenience store owners to remotely manage and monitor their businesses from their smartphones took home the grand prize during the 2021 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC).

SwiftSku from Auburn University was selected by the judges as the startup with the highest investment potential and is taking home $432,667 in cash and other prizes.

The annual event hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business is the world’s largest and richest student startup competition. This year’s event attracted the highest number of participants ever, with 54 startups vying for over $1.6 million in prizes. The winners were announced virtually this afternoon at the conclusion of the four-day event.

A competitive, high-quality applicant pool led the Rice Alliance to expand this year’s RBPC, offering more student entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for prizes and receive the quality mentorship, feedback and real-world experience the competition boasts.

Significant prizes this year and the teams that won them include:

* $350,000 GOOSE Capital Investment Grand Prize – SwiftSku, Auburn University

* $100,000 Jon Finger and Finger Interests, David Anderson and the Anderson Family Fund, Greg Novak and Tracy Druce Second-Place Investment Prize – AgZen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

* $50,000 Jon Finger and Finger Interests, David Anderson and the Anderson Family Fund, Greg Novak and Tracy Druce Third-Place Investment Prize – FibreCoat, RWTH Aachen University

* $300,000 The OWLs Investment Prize – AgZen, MIT

* $100,000 Houston Angel Network Investment Prize – AgZen, MIT

* $100,000 TiE Houston Angel Group Investment Prize – FibreCoat, RWTH Aachen University

* $100,000 Artemis Fund Investment Prize – Kit Switch, Stanford University

* $100,000 TMC Innovation Healthcare Investment Prize – ArchGuard, Duke University

* $50,000 Business Angel Minority Association Investment Prize – SwiftSku, Auburn University

* $25,000 Southwest National Pediatric Device Prizes – Blue Comet Medical Solutions, Northwestern University; Neurava, Purdue University

* $50,000 nCourage Investment Group’s Courageous Women Entrepreneurs Investment Prize – Shelly Xu Design (SXD), Harvard University

* $25,000 Urban Capital Network Investment Prize – OYA FEMTECH Apparel, UCLA

* $25,000 Pearland Economic Development Corporation Spirit of Entrepreneurship Prize – SimpL, University of Pittsburgh

* $25,000 RG Advisory Partners’ CFO Consulting Prize – SwiftSku, Auburn University

* $20,000 Johnson & Johnson Innovation | JLABS Life Science Award – LFAnt Medical, McGill University

* $20,000 OFW Law FDA Regulatory Strategy In-Kind Prize – Paldara, Oklahoma State University

* $20,000 Silver Fox Advisors Mentoring In-Kind Prizes – Ai-Ris, Texas A&M University; bruxAway, University of Texas at Austin; Karkinex, Rice University

* $20,000 Baker Botts Legal Service In-Kind Prizes – AgZen, MIT; FibreCoat, RWTH Aachen University; SwiftSku, Auburn University

* $30,000 Polsinelli Energy Tech Innovation In-Kind Award – AgZen, MIT

* $5,000 Eagle Investors Prize – OYA FEMTECH Apparel, UCLA

* $3,500 in total prizes for the Mercury Fund Elevator Pitch Competition – Anthro Energy , Stanford University; AgZen, MIT; Blue Comet Medical Solutions, Northwestern University; EasyFlo, University of New Mexico; SwiftSku, Auburn University; FibreCoat, RWTH Aachen University

* $3,000 in total prizes for Anbarci Family People’s Choice Awards – AgZen, MIT; OYA FEMTECH Apparel, UCLA; SwiftSku, Auburn University

* $3,000 Palo Alto Software Outstanding LivePitch Prize – LiRA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The seven finalists for the grand prize based on the judges’ overall scores were:

SwiftSku, Auburn University – Grand prize and individual prizes worth a total of $432,667.

The grand prize includes:

  • $350,000 Investment Prize from Goose Capital.
  • Business plan software provided by Palo Alto Software.
  • Opportunity to ring the closing bell at the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York.
  • $25,000 in-kind CFO Consulting from RG Advisory Partners.
  • In-kind legal services from Baker Botts

AgZen, MIT – second place and a total of $538,667 in prizes.

AgZen’s field-tested and patented spray and formulation technology reduces pesticide usage by 50% while maintaining optimal pest control.

FibreCoat, RWTH Aachen University – third place and $157,166 in total prizes.

FibreCoat developed a fiber coating process to economically produce composite fiber; the first product is a basalt fiber with aluminum coating that performs like full aluminum fibers.

Candelytics, Harvard University – fourth place and more than $5,000 in total prizes, including the $5,000 Norton Rose Fulbright Fourth-Place Cash Prize.

Candelytics is a lidar and 3D analytics startup that aims to pioneer the digital infrastructure that will make complex 3D data accessible, intelligent and impactful.

OYA FEMTECH Apparel, UCLA – fifth place and more than $36,000 in total prizes, including the $5,000 EY Fifth-Place Cash Prize.

OYA FEMTECH Apparel is revolutionizing sportswear leggings with fabrics, designs and innovations that support feminine health.

LFAnt Medical, McGill University – sixth place and more than $25,000 in total prizes, including the $5,000 Chevron Technology Ventures Sixth-Place Cash Prize.

LFAnt Medical is a Canadian biotechnology startup dedicated to revolutionizing point-of-care diagnostics for at-home detection of sexually transmitted infections.

SimpL, University of Pittsburgh – seventh place and more than $30,000 in total prizes, including the $5,000 Shell Ventures Seventh-Place Cash Prize.

SimpL is a digital health company that uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to improve outcomes for people with back pain by recommending home exercise programs based on user-specific biomechanics and pain points.

Additionally, Anthro Energy, Stanford University, won the elevator pitch competition and a $1,000 cash prize from Mercury Fund. The top five elevator pitches in each sector were awarded cash prizes.

All competitors also receive:

  • Entrepreneur Futures Network (EFN) mentoring
    • EFN mentors offered pre-competition mentoring and advice to each of the teams invited to participate at the 2021 RBPC. They provided advice in areas such as refining a business plan, refining financial models and improving presentation skills.
  • Amazon Web Services
    • Amazon Web Services will provide up to $5,000 in service credits for each of the 54 startup teams for 2 years.

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