Rice University Business Plan Competition awards $1.3 million in cash and prizes

Winning team takes home $642,000 from world’s richest and largest business plan competition

HOUSTON – April 18, 2011 – The 2011 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) awarded more than $1.3 million in cash and prizes at an awards banquet on Saturday, April 16. This is a record year for prizes, with the GOOSE Society of Texas doubling their prize money from $150,000 to $300,000 as they announced the grand prize winner on stage. The world’s richest and largest business plan competition brought 42 teams from across the globe to pitch their new technology business plans to more than 250 judges who themselves are successful venture capital investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. More than 700 people attended the banquet that marked the conclusion of the three-day RBPC. The event, hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, marked the eleventh installment of the RBPC.

Insperity served as the title sponsor for the second year in a row and FORTUNE covered the competition again this year and will feature the winners, teams and competition in the May 23, 2011 issue of the magazine and on CNNMoney.com beginning today.

The teams competed in six categories: life sciences, information technology, energy, green tech, social ventures and other technologies, in the April 14-16 event. The teams presented 15-minute business plans with the top six competitors vying for the grand prize valued at $642,000.

Top Prizes:
$300,000 GOOSE Society of Texas Grand Prize (increased from $125,000 in 2010)
$100,000 Waste Management “Think Green”® Investment Prize
$100,000 DFJ Mercury Tech Transfer Investment Prize
$100,000 Opportunity Houston Life Science Technology Prize
$100,000 Opportunity Houston Technology Prize
$100,000 OWL Investment Prize offered through a collaboration of individual Houston Angel investors

The 2011 competition featured seven, $100,000 plus investment prizes including the new $100,000 Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB) Prize for CleanTech Innovation. The KPCB prize is intended to encourage business and technology solutions for cleaner power, transportation and water. KPCB has backed entrepreneurs in more than 600 ventures, including Amazon, Amyris, Bloom Energy, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Google, Intuit, Netscape, Sun, Symantec and Zynga. To learn more about the firm’s CleanTech initiatives, please visit the KPCB website.

The competition’s Grand Prize was valued at $641,6000 and included $500,000 in equity investments, $20,000 cash and over $121,000 of business services including office space, marketing support, and business mentoring.

TNG Pharmaceuticals from the University of Louisville won the grand prize and other prizes, totaling $647,350 as well as $2500 for Essex Woodlands Health Ventures Best Life Science Team, $1000 Sante Ventures Best Life Science Elevator Pitch and third place overall elevator pitch sponsored by Austin Ventures for $750.

About TNG Pharmaceuticals - Of the 94 million cattle that reside in the United States, a vast majority of them are suffering due to a common pest, the horn fly. The horn fly is considered one of the most health-depleting and economically damaging pests of cattle. The blood-sucking horn fly causes over one billion dollars in economic-devastation annually in the United States. TNG Pharmaceuticals, a Louisville, Kentucky-based company, is furthering the development of a vaccine that will significantly reduce the horn fly population. The vaccine hinders the ability of the horn fly to effectively feed on cattle by counteracting the horn fly’s anti-clotting agent, Thrombostasin. This revolutionary vaccine will alleviate customer pain by increasing: fly control, beef production, milk yield, leather quality, and farmer efficiency, while having an environmentally friendly impact on the environment.

The Grand Prize includes:

  • $300,000 Investment Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas TM, (the “Grand Order of Successful Entrepreneurs”) comprised of Bob Brockman, Rod Canion, Nancy Chang, PhD, Arthur A. Ciocca, Dino Cortopassi, Terry M. Giles, Jack M. Gill, PhD, Michael Holthouse, Bill Monteleone, Jr., Eric Pulaski and Dan Steppe.
  • $100,000 Life Science Award from Opportunity HoustonSM and Greater Houston Partnership
  • $100,000 OWL Investment Prize
  • $20,000 grand prize cash award provided by Shell
  • One year of incubation services at the Houston Technology Center and year of computing support provided by 1-Service ($35,000)
  • ERP/CRM business application software and support from PKF Texas ($25,000)
  • Marketing and design services provided by BrandExtract and The Padgett Group ($25,000)
  • Web site development and hosting services for one year provided by ContentActive ($25,000)
  • Treasury services provided by Bank of America ($5,000)
  • Business mentoring provided by the Silver Fox Advisors ($3,600)
  • Roundtrip airline tickets on United Airlines ($3,000)
  • Business Plan Pro Premier software provided by Palo Alto Software
  • Automatic entry into the 2011 Venture Lab Investment Competition (criteria to be met)
  • A feature story in FORTUNE magazine
  • Opportunity to ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ Stock Market in New York

All forty-two teams that took part in this year’s RBPC received cash prizes. Other top winners included: (Winners are listed in order of finish, placement does not reflect total winnings amount, as lower placing teams may actually win more money because of individual prizes.)

Are You a Human?, University of Michigan won second place overall for a total of $154,100, which included the $100,000 Opportunity Houston Technology Prize and the $15,000 cash prize for second place sponsored by Finger Interests. Are You a Human? has developed a simple, secure, game-based human authentication tool that replaces the distorted text images known as CAPTCHAs.

PK Clean, Massachusetts Institute of Technology won third place from Murphree Venture Partners and $2500 Best Energy Team from Energy Ventures totaling $24,100. They also won the $10,000 nCourage Entrepreneurs Investment Group. PK Clean's technologies lie at the intersection of solving critical and mounting global resource issues: decreasing waste, generating fuel supplies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

cycleWood Plastics, University of Arkansas won fourth place taking home $9,000 with prizes from Murphree Venture Partners, $2500 Best Sales and Marketing Award from ContentActive / Houston Business Journal and Austin Ventures best elevator pitch for $1000. CWS is developing a lignin-based plastic, XyloBag, which functions like a regular plastic bag but decomposes within 150 days of exposure to bacteria found in natural environments.

Smartershade, University of Notre Dame won $105,500 total including fifth place overall, $4000, sponsored by Ernst & Young and $100,000 Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Prize for Clean Tech Innovation, and first place in the ELEC 394 Sheafor-Lindsay-Sinclair elevator pitch competition. SmarterShade uses proprietary light-control technology on products like windows, skylights and rearview mirrors –instantly adjusting them from clear to dark, or to an adjustable tint in-between.

TiFiber, University of Arkansas took home sixth place overall for $18,500 with $3000 from Fulbright & Jaworski as well as the $15,000 Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Trust Prize. TiFiber holds an exclusive license to prepare Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) into nano-fibers for use in filtration systems, aerospace, thermoplastics, textiles, and medical applications.

Other prize winners include:
Black Locus from Carnegie Mellon University winning the DFJ Mercury $100,000 prize for Technology Transfer. BlackLocus is a SaaS pricing intelligence platform for small and medium online retailers.

ReGenerate Solutions, LLC, University of Michigan won the $100,000 Waste Management “Think Green” prize. ReGenerate designs, markets and leases on-site waste management systems that reduce the cost and environmental impact of organic waste disposal for food manufacturing, retail, and service operations.

Antenatal Screening Kit, Johns Hopkins University won $26,250 including the Sheafor- Lindsay Social Venture Award for $10,000 and the $15,000 FLS Social Venture Mentoring Award. Antenatal Screening Kit is developing a sustainable, low-cost kit to screen pregnant women for potentially fatal conditions including pre-eclampsia, anemia, and gestational diabetes.

Arctic Sand, Massachusetts Institute of Technology walked away with $25,000 from NASA Johnson Space Center with the “Game Changer” Commercial Space Innovation Award. Arctic Sand is developing innovative technologies to reduce energy consumption, while simultaneously enabling a broader technology reach to the consumer and industrial sectors.

Diagenetix, Inc., University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa won the NASA Johnson Space Center $20,000 prize for Best Earth/Space Life Science Innovation. diagenetix, inc. is a molecular diagnostics company. Its DARTTM Platform enables quick, gene-specific detection of pathogens without expensive or complicated instrumentation, thereby increasing the accessibility of diagnostics.

RhoMania, Carnegie Mellon University was named the Edward H. Molter Memorial Prize for Best Presentation winner. The $10,000 prize was sponsored by Miller, Egan, Molter & Nelson, LLP. RhoMania makes restaurants more money by replacing their traditional drink list with an interactive tablet device designed to increase customer’s willingness-to-pay for more expensive, higher margin alcoholic beverage items such as wine.

QR Code City, Brigham Young University took home $9750 with the $3500 Pearland Economic Development Corporation Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award, the $2500 Gimmal Group award for Best I.T. and $1000 for winning theTeen Elevator Pitch Competition and $750 for second place overall elevator pitch competition. QR Code City leverages QR codes to transform typical broadcast advertising into a lead generation and sales machine. Allows users to push their stored personal data onto QR codes and interact with codes in exciting new ways, while also providing businesses with rich analytics.

Osteocene, Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University won the $2500 Fairway Medical Technologies and $1250 UK Trade & Investment Semi-Final round prize. Osteocene, LLC has developed a novel bioconstruct that provides superior mechanical properties, enhanced biocompatibility, surgical ease of use, and improved antibiotic delivery in bone graft and reconstruction surgeries. Quantitative Insights, Inc., The University of Chicago won the $2500 Best Written Business Plan Award from Palo Alto Software. Quantitative Insights was created to commercialize the next generation of computer-aided diagnosis software (CAD) for early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis of breast and other cancers.

Titin, Georgia Institute of Technology won the $2500 Most Bankable Team Award from BBVA Compass. Titin offers a patented, form-fitting, hyper-gravity training shirt with complementary shorts that takes your workout to the next level without sacrificing flexibility or comfort.

Semi-final Round Winners
Third Place - $2,000
Hemova Medical, Johns Hopkins University

Fourth Place - $1,500
DeepScan, Thammasat University, Thailand
GreenCoat, The University of Texas at Austin

Fifth Place - $1,250
Amma Healthcare Technologies, Rice University

Shark Tank Round Winners
First Place - $1,000
BOSS Medical, Johns Hopkins University
ClearBrook Imaging, The University of Texas at Austin
Purisorb Inc., Dalhousie University, Canada
ReGreen Technologies, Georgia Institute of Technology
Sulico, London Business School, England

Second Place - $700
iLumi Lighting Solutions, The University of Texas at Dallas
Neuvel, Northwestern University
Sahara Botanicals, University of Oxford, England
Secure InfoShare, Georgia Institute of Technology
Somatis Technologies, University of Southern California

Third Place - $600
Alusera, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
C5Bio - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EternoGen, University of Missouri
Innovators, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
Janus, Universidade Federal Minas Gerais, Brazil
PulmoCAD, Washington University in Saint Louis
ShuaTech Chemical Systems, Louisiana Tech University

Fourth Place - $500
Exciton Systems, University of Illinois at Chicago
Fiddlers' Green, Rice University
San + CO, Northwestern University
StaticFlow Analytics, University of Washington

About the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship
The Rice University Business Plan Competition is the world’s largest and richest graduate-level business plan 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.

This is the tenth 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 $1.1 million in cash and prizes.

In 2011, applications increased more than 20% from the previous year. More than 100 corporate and private sponsors support the business plan competition. Venture capitalists and other investors from around the country volunteer their time to judge the competition, with the majority of the 250+ judges coming from the investment sector. One hundred and twenty past competitors have gone on to successfully launch their business and are still in business today, raising in excess of $337 million in funding and employ more than 600 people.

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship (Rice Alliance) is Rice University’s nationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of technology commercialization, entrepreneurship education, and the launch of technology companies. It was formed as a strategic alliance of three schools: the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.

Since inception, the Rice Alliance has assisted in the launch of more than 250 start-ups which have raised more than half-a-billion dollars in early-stage capital. More than 1000 companies have presented at the 125+ programs hosted by the Rice Alliance. 


Media Contact: Mary Lynn Fernau
Rice Alliance for Technology & Entrepreneurship