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Rice Business Plan Competition

February 10, 2019


DEADLINE TO APPLY: February 10, 2019 at 5:00pm.

The Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) 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 and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. The Rice Alliance is Rice University’s internationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship. This will be the 19 th 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 $1.5 million in cash and prizes.


The competition is designed to give collegiate entrepreneurs a real-world experience to pitch their startups to investors, receive mentoring, network with the entrepreneurial ecosystem, enhance their startup strategy, and learn what it takes to launch a successful startup. Judges will evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges are asked to rank the presentations based on which company they would most likely invest. In fact, 87% of the 275 judges at the 2018 RBPC said they were considering investing in a team they saw pitch or met, or said they referred a team to an investor in their network. Alumni from the RBPC have raised more than $1.9 billion in funding and have generated more than 30 successful exits, valued at nearly a billion dollars.


We provide an intense, immersive experience over the course three days for student startup founders to pitch to investors, receive multiple rounds of feedback and advance their startup. There will be over $1.5 million in prizes, and all 42 teams who compete at Rice University in Houston are guaranteed to win cash prizes. Currently, the minimum cash prize is $500 and the grand prize winner receives a $300,000 investment (typically in the form of a convertible debt note, without geographic restrictions.)


Your startup/venture/team must meet all the eligibility requirements in order to be selected to compete.

Please confirm that you meet the following criteria before applying:

Team composition

The startups competing at Rice must include at least two degree-seeking students:

  • One of these students must be a current or recently-graduated graduate-level student. This includes MBA, PhD, MD, JD, and Master’s candidates.
  • The other student may be a current or recently –graduated graduate-level student, or current or recently-graduated undergraduate-level student.
  • “Current” means currently seeking a degree, enrolled on a full- or part-time basis (i.e., in the academic year from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019).
  • “Recently graduated” means students who will graduate any time after July 1, 2018. (For example, December 2018 graduates are eligible to compete).
  • Adjustments may possibly be made for teams from non-U.S. universities that have a different academic calendar; please contact the RBPC Director if you are from a non-U.S. school and feel this applies to you.  Teams may be comprised of students from different schools
  • Up to 5 team members will be allowed to compete and present at the RBPC. All of those 5 team members must be current or recently-graduated students, and at least one of those students needs to be a graduate degree-seeking student.
  • At least 2 team members must present in every round on Friday and Saturday, with at least 2 of those members meeting the student requirements above, including one of them being a graduate degreeseeking student.
  • The exception is the Elevator Pitch Competition on Thursday night; only one student in the startup will present then.
  • Not eligible: Students who graduated before July 1, 2018
  • Not eligible: Startups that have competed in prior Rice Business Plan Competitions
  • Not eligible: teams or technologies that previously presented or competed in the RBPC


February 10, 2019
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