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Rice Alliance Recognized as Leading U.S. Entrepreneurship Center

October 15, 2007—The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship (“Rice Alliance”) was recently recognized as the leading university entrepreneurship center in the United States for the creation of successful new enterprises by the National Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (NCEC) on October 6, 2007 in Syracuse, New York.
 
The Rice Alliance is the flagship entrepreneurship initiative of Rice University.  Founded in 1999, the Rice Alliance is a strategic alliance among three schools at Rice University: the Jones Graduate School of Management, the Brown School of Engineering, and the Wiess School of Natural Sciences.  Since inception, the Rice Alliance has assisted in the launch of more than 210 new technology-based companies that have raised more than $300 million in early stage funding.
 
“The Rice Alliance has proved to be a powerful catalyst for cultivating entrepreneurship within the Jones School and for Houston,” said Bill Glick, dean of the Jones Graduate School of Management. “This prestigious recognition will certainly enhance their ability to impact business on a global basis.”
 
Successful start-up companies that have licensed Rice University technology include Nanospectra Biosciences, Oxane Materials, NanoComposites, itRobotics, and Carbon Nanotechologies, Inc. (now Unidym).
 
The NCEC is the premier organization of university-based entrepreneurship centers in the United States.  More than 150 of the top university entrepreneurship programs in the United States participate as members.  The NCEC Award for Outstanding Contributions to Enterprise Creation recognizes entrepreneurship centers that support enterprise creation and job growth.
 
The NCEC award for Outstanding Contributions to Enterprise Creation recognizes a center that helps to establish a high number of viable, successful new companies. Criteria include the number of new enterprises supported by the center, investment by venture capital and outside investors in these businesses, business incubation services, and the organization of business plan competitions.  The award was determined by directors of entrepreneurship centers at NCEC member peer institutions.
 
“The Rice Alliance is proud to receive this award on behalf of Rice University.  This represents a collaborative effort among the Schools of Engineering, Science, and Management, the Rice Office of Technology Transfer, and our partners in the business and investment community,” said Brad Burke, Managing Director of the Rice Alliance.  “This would not have been possible without the close working relationship with Rice faculty, staff, and students in science, engineering, and management, together with support from the entrepreneurial business community in Houston and Texas.”
 
In addition to supporting new technology-based companies, the Rice Alliance organizes the annual Rice Business Plan Competition, which has rapidly grown to become the largest and richest intercollegiate business plan competition in the world, with more prize money, teams, and judges than any other competition.  In 2007, 36 of the top graduate schools from around the world competed for more than $345,000 in total cash and prizes in front of a selective judging panel of more than 150 individuals.
 
The winning team received a prize package valued at over $175,000, including $100,000 equity funding, $20,000 in cash, and $55,000 in business services, including free office space, marketing support, and business mentoring.  The 2008 Competition will take place at Rice University, April 3-5, 2008.
 
More than 30 new ventures have been launched after competing at the Rice Business Plan Competition, including:

  • The 2005 winner, Auditude from UCLA, received a $1.1 million investment from the competition sponsors.
  • A 2006 competitor, OrthoAccel from the University of Illinois at Chicago, was funded by Houston investors and has relocated the company to Texas. 
  • The 2004 winner, ClearCount Medical Solutions from Carnegie Mellon, received angel funding from a group of Houston investors, and received FDA approval to market their device in early 2007.
  • The 2003 winner, MicroMRI from Wharton, began its first human clinical trial at UTMB-Galveston in 2006 and is now marketing their MRI technology to improve diagnosis of osteoporosis.