Rice Business Plan Competition announces 2021 teams

Startups from top universities in six countries will showcase their big ideas at the 21st annual Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) – the world’s largest and richest student startup competition – in hopes of taking home big cash prizes, with totals expected to exceed $1 million.

The competition, hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and the university’s Jones Graduate School of Business, will be held virtually April 6-9.

This year’s startups were chosen from more than 440 applicants and will compete in five categories: energy, clean tech and sustainability; life sciences and health care solutions; consumer products and services; hard tech; and digital and enterprise software.


The largest sector represented at the RBPC is consistently life science, but this year’s competition is bringing a substantially higher number of consumer startups to the stage – with many already demonstrating initial revenue traction.

“With the unusual and trying year, we are excited to have so many student founders continuing to persevere and stay committed to their startups,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. “Our applicant pool was incredibility robust and included a deeper variety of quality startups. It was because of this and the virtual competition that we extended invitations to 54 promising startups and we’re looking forward to bringing them to a global stage at the competition in April.”

More than 250 judges will decide which startups represent the best investment opportunities. They will also provide valuable feedback, mentorship and guidance to the startups, one of the most important components of the RBPC.

Startups accepted to the competition have the opportunity to engage with experts before, during and after the event, helping founders make their businesses stronger and better equipped to raise funds and excel in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, according to the organizers.

More than 230 RBPC alumni have successfully launched their ventures and most are still in business today, with 31 startups making a successful exit. Past competitors have raised more than $2.7 billion in capital and created more than 3,700 jobs. Two past alumni have achieved “unicorn status” with valuations greater than $1 billion each: Hyliion (2015 RBPC finalist) and Owlet Baby Care (2013 RBPC finalist).

2021 Rice Business Plan Competition teams:

Startup nameUniversity
CandelyticsHarvard University
PaldaraOklahoma State University
bruxAwayUniversity of Texas at Austin
Smoove CreationsNorthern Kentucky University
FloWasteUniversity of Notre Dame
PolairJohns Hopkins University
Kit SwitchStanford University
KegstandUniversity of Colorado Boulder
BullyProofUniversity of Arkansas
AI POWTexas A&M University
Solbots Technologies Private LimitedBITS Pilani
Early Intervention SystemsGeorge Washington University
PhenoLogicMichigan State University
Ai-RisTexas A&M University
LiRAUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Shelly Xu Design (SXD)Harvard University
TransfoamUniversity of Virginia
Almond FinanceMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Aspire360Columbia University
MindTraceCarnegie Mellon University
Renew InnovationsChulalongkorn University
MentumQRUniversity of Western Ontario
Hubly SurgicalJohns Hopkins University
FibreCoat GmbHRWTH Aachen University
LFAnt MedicalMcGill University
GABAMorehouse School of Medicine
EasyFloUniversity of New Mexico
SwiftSkuAuburn University
FloeYale University
blip energyNorthwestern University
Cerobex Drug Delivery TechnologiesTufts University
M Aerospace RTCCETYS University
NASADYAUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Flux HybridsNorth Carolina State University
ANIMA IRISUniversity of Pennsylvania
Big & MiniUniversity of Texas at Austin
OYAUCLA
ArchGuardDuke University
Padma AgroboticsArizona State University
VRapeuticUniversity of Ottawa
SEAAV AthleticsQuinnipiac University
Adatto MarketUCLA
KarkinexRice University
AgZenMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Blue Comet Medical SolutionsNorthwestern University
Land MaverickFairfield University
Anthro EnergyStanford University
ShuffleMeIndiana University Bloomington
ElevateUArizona State University
QBuddyCornell University
SimpLUniversity of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon
Ichosia BiotechnologyGeorge Washington University
NeuravaPurdue University

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