2015 Rice Business Plan Competition-World’s Richest & Largest Graduate-Level Student Startup Competition.

2015 Rice Business Plan Competition-World’s Richest & Largest Graduate-Level Student Startup Competition.

Deadline: February 27, 2015

The Rice Business Plan Competition 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, which is Rice University’s flagship initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.The goal of the RBPC is to provide the best overall educational and entrepreneurial experience of any business plan/new venture competition

Forty-two teams will be invited to compete in the 2015 RBPC at Rice University.  Last year’s teams competed for nearly $3 million in prizes, including $2 million in investment offers, more than $330,000 in other cash prizes, and nearly $500,000 in in-kind awards.  Teams will have the opportunity to meet and network with over 250 venture capital principals, early stage investors, and successful entrepreneurs who will serve as judges for the competition.


Real-world opportunities to learn what’s required to successfully launch a new business

  • Chance to receive mentoring from investors and experienced entrepreneurs
  • Scheduled opportunities to network with potential venture capitalists and other investors for three days
  • High caliber of judges, all senior level investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders
  • Opportunities to receive individual feedback during 3 separate sessions
  • 2013: $1.5 Million + in prize money was awarded with all teams winning at least one cash award (2012 Prizes and Winners)

 Important Dates

February 27, 2015Deadline to submit Application, Executive Summary, and optional Video Pitch
March 13, 2015: RBPC announces 42 Teams to Compete
March 18, 2015: Deadline for Invited Teams to confirm commitment to compete.Withdrawal Deadline–last day to withdraw without penalty
March 23, 2015: Deadline to submit Written Business Plan and Media materials online

Eligibility Requirement

Each team must meet the following requirements in order to compete in the 2015 RBPC:

  • The competition is for students currently enrolled on a full- or part-time basis (i.e., from July 2014 through June 2015)
  • The competition is for student-created and -managed ventures, including new ventures launched by licensing university technology.  Students are expected to:(1)  be the driving force behind the new venture, (2)  have played the primary role in developing the business plan, (3)  have key management roles in the venture, and(4)  own significant equity in the venture.
  • The presenting (competing) team should include at least two current students and not exceed five current students.  (At least two students must travel to Houston to compete and both must participate in the oral presentation of the business plan)
  • This is a competition for graduate students, and at least one currently enrolled graduate student must be a member of the venture’s startup management team, and must be part of the team that presents in the competition (competing team).  A team with some undergraduates will be allowed to compete, and the undergraduates may participate fully.  All graduate students, not just MBA candidates, are eligible to participate in the competition.  This includes executive MBAs, MD candidates, JD candidates, other Masters Candidates, and PhD Candidates.  Students in Certificate programs or other non-degree programs, and Post-docs are excluded.
  • All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital, typically early stage venture investment or early stage angel investment.  All ventures must be “for profit” entities
  • Each team MUST have the endorsement of a faculty advisor at their school and must provide contact information for their faculty advisor, regardless of whether or not the advisor will travel with the team to Rice University.  All faculty advisors will be contacted for verification.
  • The business plan must be prepared under faculty supervision.  Ideally, the business plan will be prepared for credit in a regularly scheduled course or as an independent study.  The business plan must represent the original work of members of the team.  All teams are strongly encouraged to send faculty or other university advisors to accompany their team to Rice, but this is not required.

Prizes For Finalist

First Place Team
  • Grand Prize (1st Place Team):Total Grand Prize Value: $495,000*
  • $200,000 GOOSE Society Investment Prize
  • $100,000 OWL Investment Prize
  • $100,000 Opportunity HoustonSM Investment Prize (Greater Houston Partnership)
  •  One year of Incubation Services at the Houston Technology Center and computing support provided by 1-service ($35,000 value)
  •  Branding Design and Marketing Communications from BrandExtract and The Padgett Group ($25,000 value)
  • One year of free website development from ContentActive ($30,000 value)
  • One year of Treasury Management Services from BBVA Compass ($3,000 value)
  • Present their company at a monthly meeting of HAN
  • Ring NASDAQ bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City

Second Place Team

  • Total Prize Value: $150,000*
  • $100,000 Opportunity HoustonSM Investment Prize (Greater Houston Partnership) $15,000 Cash
  • $35,000 In-kind Prize: One year of Incubation Services at the Houston Technology
  • Center and one year of computing support provided by 1-service ($35,000 value)

Third Place Team:$7,500 Cash

Fourth Place Team: $5,000 Cash
Fifth Place Team: $4,000 Cash
Sixth Place Team: $3,000 Cash
EW $100,000 Department of Energy Clean Energy Prize will encourage students from across the country to develop successful business plans to create a new generation of American clean energy companies.
Major Prizes:In total, more than $1.3 Million in cash and in-kind prizes was awarded to the 2011 winning teams.
  1.  $150,000 – GOOSE Society Investment Prize: the Grand Prize winner will receive $150,000 in the form of equity investment from The GOOSE Society of TexasTM in the form of a Convertible Debt Note.
  2. $100,000 – OWL Investment Prize: the OWL prize was created to increase the total Grand Prize of the competition, create a new community of involved judges, and continue to encourage the most promising teams to compete at the Rice Business Plan Competition. The OWL Investment Prize is provided in the form of a Convertible Debt note.
  3.  $200,000 – Opportunity Houston Investment Prizes: two additional $100,000 equity investment prizes will be awarded for: $100,000 for the best Life Science team;$100,000 for the best Technology team from among the following areas: Energy and Petrochemicals (including Clean Tech), Information Technology, Nanotechnology, and Aviation/Aerospace. To qualify for these two $100,000 awards the company must locate its Headquarters in the Houston region. Teams that qualify for this award will also qualify to receive the Houston Technology Center Incubation Award (client services and office space for up to 1 year). These two $100,000 awards are sponsored by the Opportunity HoustonSM program of the Greater Houston Partnership.
  4.  $100,000 – DFJ Mercury Technology Transfer Investment Prize: DFJ Mercury will award a $100,000 Tech Transfer Investment Prize to the best business plan based on a technology that is a “university spin-out.” The purpose of this award is to encourage the commercialization of university technologies.
  5.  $100,000 – Waste Investment “Think Green” Investment Prize: Waste Management will award a $100,000 prize to the team with the best “Think Green” Technology business plan.
  6.  $100,000 – KPCB Prize for Clean Tech Innovation is intended to encourage business and technology solutions for cleaner power, transportation and water.
  7. $213,000 – Other Cash Prizes: Every team that competes in every round and attends the Awards Banquet will be guaranteed to win at least one of 72 cash prizes. Some teams win more than one cash prize; see prize listing below.

For a complete list of prizes, please visit RBPC Prizes

How to Enter

  • To enter, one individual from the team should complete the online enrollment form found at iStart Platform
  • In addition to the iStart Business Setup information, the Application and Executive Summary must be completed no later than Noon CST, Friday, February 27, 2015.
  • All teams that complete an Application will receive a free 6 month subscription to Live Plan by Palo Alto Software.  Instructions for your subscription will be provided after receiving your completed Application.
  • For official rules and judging criteria visit RBPC rules

Helpful Tips

For more information visit RBPC ; for questions, e-mail competition director at [email protected]