Deadline: February 10, 2017 | Apply here
April 6-8, 2017
Eligibility: teams of 2-5 current students in which at least one student must be a member of the venture’s startup management team
Prizes: USD 1,500,000,- in cash and in-kind prizes
Location: Houston, The United States

Editor’s note: don’t miss the 2018 edition of Rice Business Plan Competition! Check out the latest release here.

Rice Business Plan Competition 2017

World’s Richest and Largest Student Startup Competition

The Rice Business Plan Competition 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, which is Rice University’s internationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.

This is the 17th 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. Startups participating in the RBPC have gone on to raise more than $1.8 billion in capital and exit funds.

Teams must meet all the following eligibility requirements in order to be selected to compete

Outside Funding: All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital, typically early stage venture investment or early stage angel investment. All ventures must be “for profit” entities.

Student Enrollment: The competition is for students currently enrolled on a full- or part-time basis. Students who graduated before July 2016 are not eligible to participate.

Team Size: The competing team should include at least two current students and not exceed five current students. At least two students must travel to Houston to compete and both must participate in the oral presentation of the business plan.

Team Composition: This is a competition for graduate students, and at least one currently enrolled graduate student must be a member of the venture’s startup management team, and must be part of the team that presents in the competition (competing team).

A team may have a maximum of one post-graduate scholar on the competing team in addition to the current graduate student. The post-grad should be within three years of graduation, and currently participating in a university-based educational program in innovation or entrepreneurship.

Student Involvement: The competition is for student-created and -managed ventures, including new ventures launched by licensing university technology. Students are expected to:

  • be the driving force behind the new venture
  • have played the primary role in developing the business plan
  • have key management roles in the venture
  • have own significant equity in the venture

Faculty Involvement: Each team MUST have the endorsement of a faculty advisor at their school and must provide contact information for their faculty advisor, regardless of whether or not the advisor will travel with the team to Rice University.

Nature of Ventures: The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early growth stages.

Prior Activity: Technologies may be presented in the RBPC only once. Competing team members may participate in the RBPC more than once if entering with a new venture/new technology.

Submission and presentation guidelines

Executive Summary: Please submit the file in Adobe Acrobat PDF. No other format will be accepted. Files should be named according to the following format: ES_CompanyName_UniversityName.pdf and should be submitted as part of the team’s online application.

Executive summaries should be a maximum of 2 to 5 pages of text and must include the following information:

  • Company summary
  • Customer/market analysis: market size, potential market share and the problem or need your company solves
  • Product or service description including current state of development
  • Intellectual property: status of patents and licenses (if applicable)
  • Competitive differentiation
  • Company Management team and/or advisor bios, including relevant experience
  • Financial: 3-5 year projection of revenue, profit and cash flow
  • Amount of investment you are seeking and use of funds

Video Elevator Pitch (Optional): Teams should submit a 60-second Video Elevator Pitch as part of the online application.

Written Business Plan: Written business plans are limited to 10 pages of text and should include the executive summary and summary financial data. Your business plan must include the following information:

  • Executive Summary
  • Product or service description (incl. current status of development – beta, prototype, etc.)
  • Customer/Market analysis (market size and potential market share)
  • Sales and Marketing Plan (how you will go-to-market)
  • Intellectual property status (e.g., patents, licenses, etc.)
  • Competitor Analysis (competitors and your competitive differentiation)
  • Company Management team and/or advisor bios, including relevant experience
  • Financial highlights (cash flow, income statement, & balance sheet)
  • Offering of the company (how much investment you are seeking, uses of funding, possible exits)

Business Plan Financial Data: Financial data should include a cash flow statement, income statement, and balance sheet. This data should be included in a summarized fashion in the main section of the business plan. Include an explanation of the offering to investors indicating how much money is required, how it will be used, and the proposed structure of the deal, (i.e., stock, debentures, etc.) and possible exit strategies.

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