On May 10, Craig Taylor, founder and CEO of Houston-based Iapetus Holdings, was named as one of the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2022 finalists in the program’s Central South region. Meanwhile, Taylor last month was named 2022 Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year by the Rice Business Veterans Association at Rice Business.
LIDROTEC, a student startup from RWTH Aachen University in Germany that aims to increase production in the semiconductor industry, took home the grand prize at the 2022 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC).
Amid semiconductor shortages worldwide, LIDROTEC says its technology can eliminate material waste in the cutting process during manufacturing, both saving money and increasing productivity.
The RBPC, hosted annually by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, is the world’s largest and richest student startup competition. This year’s edition saw 42 startups competing for more than $2 million in prizes.
The winners were announced at the conclusion of the three-day pitching, mentoring and networking event which included an Elevator Pitch Competition, Practice Round, Semi-Finals, Wildcard and Final Round. Compelling innovations presented by this year’s teams led sponsor companies to add a number of cash prizes at the last minute.
The 42 startups represented 34 universities from four countries, with 11 universities represented by two different teams. They were chosen from more than 400 applicants to compete in one of five categories: energy, clean tech and sustainability; life sciences and health care solutions; consumer products and services; hard tech; and digital enterprise.
The RBPC’s more than 250 judges act as — and most are — early-stage investors evaluating the startups’ potential. Teams pitch their businesses to investors, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and ecosystem partners during the event, then network and receive real-time feedback, advice and mentorship.
Significant prizes this year and the teams that won them include:
- $350,000 GOOSE Capital Investment Grand Prize — LIDROTEC, RWTH Aachen.
- $155,000 The OWL Investment Prize — Hoth Intelligence, University of Pittsburgh.
- $65,000 The OWL Investment Prize — Mallard Bay Outdoors, Louisiana State University.
- $50,000 The OWL Investment Prize — TransCrypts, University of Toronto and Harvard University.
- $250,000 TMC Innovation Healthcare Investment Prize — LymphaSense, Johns Hopkins University.
- $125,000 Softeq Venture Studio Prizes (two prizes) — Mallard Bay Outdoors, Louisiana State University; LIDROTEC, RWTH Aachen University.
- $100,000 Jon Finger and Finger Interests, David Anderson and the Anderson Family Fund, Greg Novak and Tracy Druce Second-Place Investment Prize — Hoth Intelligence, University of Pittsburgh.
- $50,000 Jon Finger and Finger Interests, David Anderson and the Anderson Family Fund, Greg Novak and Tracy Druce Third-Place Investment Prize — Invitris, Technical University of Munich.
- $100,000 Houston Angel Network Investment Prize — Hoth Intelligence, University of Pittsburgh.
- $100,000 TiE Houston Angel Group Investment Prize — LIDROTEC, RWTH Aachen University.
- $50,000 RBPC Alumnus, Thomas Healy, Investment Prize — LIDROTEC, RWTH Aachen University.
- $25,000 RBPC Alumnus, Thomas Healy, Investment Prize — Mallard Bay Outdoors, Louisiana State University.
- $10,000 RBPC Alumnus, Thomas Healy, Investment Prize — Bold Move Beverages, University of Texas at Austin.
- $40,000 nCourage Investment Group’s Courageous Women Entrepreneurs Investment Prize — Invitris, Technical University of Munich.
- $10,000 nCourage Investment Group’s Courageous Women Entrepreneurs Investment Prize — Pareto, Stanford University.
- $25,000 Southwest National Pediatric Device Prizes (two prizes) — Advanced Optronics, Carnegie Mellon University; EpiSLS, University of Michigan.
- $25,000 Urban Capital Network Investment Prize — Woobie, Brigham Young University.
- $25,000 IN2 Energy, Cleantech and Sustainability Prize — EpiFresh, Rice University.
- $25,000 Pearland Economic Development Corporation Spirit of Entrepreneurship Prize — Hoth Intelligence, University of Pittsburgh.
- $25,000 New Climate Ventures Investment Prize — Mantel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- $20,000 OFW Law FDA Regulatory Strategy In-Kind Prize — Advanced Optronics, Carnegie Mellon University.
- $5,000 Eagle Investors Prize — LIDROTEC, RWTH Aachen University.
- $3,000 Nixon Institute Prize — LymphaSense, Johns Hopkins University.
- $3,000 DK Innovation Energy Prize — Mantel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- $1,000 Mercury Elevator Pitch Competition Prize — EpiFresh, Rice University
The seven finalists based on the judges’ overall scores were:
- LIDROTEC, RWTH Aachen University — grand prize and individual prizes worth a total of $682,200.
- Hoth Intelligence, University of Pittsburgh — second place and a total of $386,700 in prizes.
Hoth Intelligence’s software uses augmented reality to let health care providers see “through” and “into” patients to guide procedures and reduce error.
- Invitris, Technical University of Munich — third place and a total of $97,200 in prizes.
Invitris leverages synthetic biology to create novel therapeutics to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
- LymphaSense, Johns Hopkins University — fourth place and $258,000 in prizes, including the $5,000 Norton Rose Fulbright Fourth-Place Cash Prize.
LymphaSense’s wearable screening device is revolutionizing the way breast cancer patients are monitored for signs of lymphedema following treatment.
- INIA Biosciences, Boston University — fifth place and the $5,000 EY Fifth-Place Cash Prize.
INIA Biosciences is developing a noninvasive, home-administered bioelectronic device to provide treatment following a kidney transplant.
- Bold Move Beverages, University of Texas at Austin — sixth place and $15,000 in prizes, including the $5,000 Chevron Technology Ventures Sixth-Place Cash Prize.
Bold Move Beverages is an early-stage alcohol brand that combines coffee and whiskey to create Cold Brooze in two flavors.
- Anise Health, Harvard University — seventh place and the $7,000 Shell Ventures Seventh-Place Cash Prize and Edward H. Molter Memorial Wildcard Prize from Egan Nelson.
Anise Health is a digital platform offering culturally adapted mental health care to racial and ethnic minorities, starting with Asian Americans.
All competitors also received:
- Entrepreneur Futures Network (EFN) mentoring: EFN mentors offered pre-competition mentoring and advice to each of the teams on topics such as refining a business plan, refining financial models and improving presentation skills.
- Amazon Web Services: Service credits for each of the 42 startup teams for two years.
- Palo Alto Software: Access to Live Plan presentation and analysis software
- Allianse: 3-month trial to investors and capital platform
For more information about the 2022 Rice Business Plan Competition, visit rbpc.rice.edu.