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:
|Paldara||Oklahoma State University|
|bruxAway||University of Texas at Austin|
|Smoove Creations||Northern Kentucky University|
|FloWaste||University of Notre Dame|
|Polair||Johns Hopkins University|
|Kit Switch||Stanford University|
|Kegstand||University of Colorado Boulder|
|BullyProof||University of Arkansas|
|AI POW||Texas A&M University|
|Solbots Technologies Private Limited||BITS Pilani|
|Early Intervention Systems||George Washington University|
|PhenoLogic||Michigan State University|
|Ai-Ris||Texas A&M University|
|LiRA||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|Shelly Xu Design (SXD)||Harvard University|
|Transfoam||University of Virginia|
|Almond Finance||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|MindTrace||Carnegie Mellon University|
|Renew Innovations||Chulalongkorn University|
|MentumQR||University of Western Ontario|
|Hubly Surgical||Johns Hopkins University|
|FibreCoat GmbH||RWTH Aachen University|
|LFAnt Medical||McGill University|
|GABA||Morehouse School of Medicine|
|EasyFlo||University of New Mexico|
|blip energy||Northwestern University|
|Cerobex Drug Delivery Technologies||Tufts University|
|M Aerospace RTC||CETYS University|
|NASADYA||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Flux Hybrids||North Carolina State University|
|ANIMA IRIS||University of Pennsylvania|
|Big & Mini||University of Texas at Austin|
|Padma Agrobotics||Arizona State University|
|VRapeutic||University of Ottawa|
|SEAAV Athletics||Quinnipiac University|
|AgZen||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Blue Comet Medical Solutions||Northwestern University|
|Land Maverick||Fairfield University|
|Anthro Energy||Stanford University|
|ShuffleMe||Indiana University Bloomington|
|ElevateU||Arizona State University|
|SimpL||University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon|
|Ichosia Biotechnology||George Washington University|