Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) Application Eligibility, Categories, Benefits and Application Guidelines for Recently-Graduated Graduate-Level Students.
The Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) is the world’s richest and
largest graduate-level student startup competition. It is hosted and
organized by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and
the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.
Rice Alliance is Rice University’s internationally-recognized initiative
devoted to the support of entrepreneurship. This will be the 19th 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 $1.5 million in cash and prizes.
will evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up
funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges
are asked to rank the presentations based on which company they would
most likely invest. In fact, 87% of the 275 judges at the 2018 RBPC said
they were considering investing in a team they saw pitch or met, or
said they referred a team to an investor in their network.
Sectors Startups should fall into one of four categories or sectors:
- Energy/Clean Technology (including
but not limited to): Sustainability, Water, Battery Technologies,
Control Systems, Smart Metering, PV Technology, Natural Gas,
Transportation/Mobility, Oil & Gas Technologies, Algae, Fuel Cells,
- Tech (including but not
limited to): Mobile Apps/Software, Digital Media, Consumer Web, B2B
Applications, Enterprise Software, SAAS, Web, Virtual Reality, Big Data,
Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Hardware, Robotics,
Unmanned Vehicles, Internet, IoT
- Life Sciences (including but not limited to): Medical Devices, Diagnostics, Digital Health, Health IT, Biotech, Therapeutics
- Other Innovations (including but not limited to): Advanced Materials, Composites, Nanotechnology, Consumer, Other Technology
startup/venture/team must meet all the eligibility requirements in
order to be selected to compete. Please confirm that you meet the
following criteria before applying:
The startups competing at Rice must include at least two degree-seeking students:
of these students must be a current or recently-graduated
graduate-level student. This includes MBA, PhD, MD, JD, and Master’s
- The other student may be a current or recently
–graduated graduate-level student, or current or recently-graduated
- “Current” means currently seeking a
degree, enrolled on a full- or part-time basis (i.e., in the academic
year from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019).
graduated” means students who will graduate any time after July 1, 2018.
(For example, December 2018 graduates are eligible to compete).
may possibly be made for teams from non-U.S. universities that have a
different academic calendar; please contact the RBPC Director if you are
from a non-U.S. school and feel this applies to you.
- Teams may be comprised of students from different schools
to 5 team members will be allowed to compete and present at the RBPC.
All of those 5 team members must be current or recently-graduated
- At least 2 team members must present in every round on
Friday and Saturday, with at least 2 of those members meeting the
student requirements above. The exception is the Elevator Pitch
Competition on Thursday night; only one student in the startup will
- Not eligible: Students who graduated before July 1, 2018
- Not eligible: Startups that have competed in prior Rice Business Plan Competitions
- Not eligible: teams or technologies that previously presented or competed in the RBPC
ventures must be seeking outside equity capital, typically early-stage
venture capital investment or earlystage angel investment.
- All ventures must be “for profit” entities.
- Startups may have raised ANY level of equity funding AFTER July 1, 2018.
- Equity funding awarded as part of an accelerator/incubator program does count toward funding limits.
and other grants; competition winnings; traditional loans; and any
friends and family funding do not count toward funding limit.
Startups that have raised more than $250,000 in equity capital from
sources other than the students or their friends or families prior to
July 1, 2018 are not eligible to compete.
Ventures with more than $100,000 in revenues in prior academic years
(meaning before July 1, 2018), are not eligible to compete.
provide an intense, immersive experience over the course three days for
student startup founders to pitch to investors, receive multiple rounds
of feedback and advance their startup.
- There will be over $1.5
million in prizes, and all 42 teams who compete at Rice University in
Houston are guaranteed to win cash prizes. Currently, the minimum cash
prize is $500 and the grand prize winner receives a $300,000 investment
(typically in the form of a convertible debt note, without geographic
Method of Application.
- One member of your startup, the designated leader, should complete the simple online application.
application consists of a answering a short survey, attaching an
Executive Summary (maximum 5 pages), and including an optional Video
Elevator Pitch (maximum 2 minutes).
- Multiple student startup
teams from the same school, institution or university center may apply
to compete. There is no limit on the number of applications per school.
- There no fees to apply or to compete.
- Once an application is submitted, no changes can be made.
application must be completed by Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 5:00 pm
CST. Teams invited to compete in the Rice Business Plan Competition will
be notified via our Facebook Live video event and by email on
Wednesday, February 27, 2019.