A Winning Season
As a full-time student at the Jones School, Allison Lami Sawyer ’10 and her Rebellion Photonics team won first place at the mai Bangkok Business Plan Challenge and second place at the Rice Business Plan Competition, earning over $125,000 in prizes. Two years later, as CEO, she credits her experience at the Jones School with giving her the business knowledge to be successful.
“I always knew I wanted to start a business. With my background in physics and nanotechnology I thought the Rice curriculum was the perfect fit, especially since the Jones School has such strong relationships with the Houston Technology Center and Rice Alliance.”
Allison’s technical experience gave her the background to understand the technology, but her MBA experience shaped her into a CEO. “The knowledge I gained through my courses is absolutely vital to running a business. On at least a weekly basis, I reflect on what I learned in my accounting, finance, negotiations, and communications courses. I can now manage my business’ pro-forma financial statements and confidently negotiate directly with presidents of other companies to attract the required investment.”
Invented at Rice University in 2009, Rebellion Photonics’ patent-pending technology is essentially a video camera that ‘sees’ chemicals and has a wide variety of applications, from cancer research to gas leak detection on rigs. In less than two years, Rebellion Photonics is cash flow positive with over $2M in income and $1.1M in venture capital.
Looking ahead, Allison hopes to secure an additional $10 million in second-round financing. With eight employees, Rebellion Photonics has also hired two interns from Rice.
To learn more about their technology visit www.rebellionphotonics.com.