Cash Prizes & Awards

Acrobat Icon   2015 RBPC Official Rules and Judging Criteria   Acrobat Icon   2015 Prize Summary   

Summary of Major Prizes:

NEW $100,000 Department of Energy Clean Energy Prize will encourage students from across the country to develop successful business plans to create a new generation of American clean energy companies.

Summary of Major Prizes:

In total, more than $1.3 Million in cash and in-kind prizes was awarded to the 2011 winning teams.

1.) $150,000 – GOOSE Society Investment Prize: the Grand Prize winner will receive $150,000 in the form of equity investment from The GOOSE Society of TexasTM in the form of a Convertible Debt Note.

2.) $100,000 - OWL Investment Prize: the OWL prize was created to increase the total Grand Prize of the competition, create a new community of involved judges, and continue to encourage the most promising teams to compete at the Rice Business Plan Competition. The OWL Investment Prize is provided in the form of a Convertible Debt note.

3.) $200,000 – Opportunity Houston Investment Prizes: two additional $100,000 equity investment prizes will be awarded for:
- $100,000 for the best Life Science team
- $100,000 for the best Technology team from among the following areas: Energy and Petrochemicals (including Clean Tech), Information Technology, Nanotechnology, and Aviation/Aerospace.
To qualify for these two $100,000 awards the company must locate its Headquarters in the Houston region. Teams that qualify for this award will also qualify to receive the Houston Technology Center Incubation Award (client services and office space for up to 1 year). These two $100,000 awards are sponsored by the Opportunity HoustonSM program of the Greater Houston Partnership.

4.) $100,000 – DFJ Mercury Technology Transfer Investment Prize: DFJ Mercury will award a $100,000 Tech Transfer Investment Prize to the best business plan based on a technology that is a “university spin-out.” The purpose of this award is to encourage the commercialization of university technologies.

5.) $100,000 – Waste Investment “Think Green” Investment Prize: Waste Management will award a $100,000 prize to the team with the best “Think Green” Technology business plan.

6.) $100,000 – KPCB Prize for Clean Tech Innovation is intended to encourage business and technology solutions for cleaner power, transportation and water.

7.) $213,000 – Other Cash Prizes: Every team that competes in every round and attends the Awards Banquet will be guaranteed to win at least one of 72 cash prizes. Some teams win more than one cash prize; see prize listing below.

RBPC – Finalist Prizes:

Grand Prize (1st Place Team):

Total Grand Prize Value: $641,600

$300,000 GOOSE Society Equity Investment Prize
$100,000 OWL Investment Prize
$100,000 Opportunity Houston / GHP Investment Prize*

(must be technology or life science team)
$20,000 Cash from Shell
$121,600+ In-kind Awards

+ One year of Incubation Services at the Houston Technology Center and one
year of computing support provided by 1-service ($35,000 value)
+ ERP/CRM Business Application Software and Support from PKF Texas
($25,000 value)
+ Branding Design & Marketing Communications from BrandExtract and The
Padgett Group ($25,000 value) + One year of free website development from ContentActive ($25,000 value) + Treasury Services from Bank of America ($5,000 value)
+ Business Mentoring from Silver Fox Advisors ($3,600 value)
+ Roundtrip tickets on United Airlines ($3,000 value)
+ Ring NASDAQ bell in NYC
+ Automatic entry into 2011 Venture Lab Investment Competition
(criteria to be met)  

Second Place Team:               

Total Prize Value: $154,100
$15,000 Cash
$100,000 Opportunity Houston / GHP Investment Prize

(awarded to the top technology or life science team*)
$39,100 In-kind Awards + One year of Incubation Services at the Houston Technology Center and one
year of computing support provided by 1-service ($35,000 value)
+ Business Mentoring from Silver Fox Advisors ($3,600 value)
+ Plug & Play Services from ($500 value)  

Third Place Team:                   

$7,500 Cash + $4,100 In-kind Awards

+ Business Mentoring from Silver Fox Advisors ($3,600 value)
+ Plug & Play Services from ($500 value)

Fourth Place Team: $5,000 Cash + $500 In-kind Awards
+ Plug & Play Services from ($500 value)

Fifth Place Team:

$4,000 Cash + $500 In-kind Awards
+ Plug & Play Services from ($500 value)

Sixth Place:   $3,000 Cash + $500 In-kind Awards
+ Plug & Play Services from ($500 value)

* See competition rules for qualifying criteria 


 NASA “Game Changer” Commercial Space Innovation Cash Prize - Best Business Plan Related to Commercial space innovation. ($25,000)


This $25,000 cash prize encourages the identification and development of breakthrough technologies and business models in the commercial space market or market creation. The award will go to the team that is judged to have the best business plan that supports the commercial space market by addressing a need in technology, service or product for sub-orbit, Earth orbit,  moon or beyond.


 NASA Earth/Space Life Science Innovation Cash Award – Best Life Science Plan with Earth and Space Application ($20,000)


 A team will win a $20,000 cash prize for the best technology company that has applicability to NASA and the space program (with some type of application on Earth) in the area of life sciences. NASA will give special consideration to submissions that demonstrate disruptive technologies and that allow NASA to accelerate innovation from current capabilities on the International Space Station (ISS) to capabilities required for long duration exploration missions.

* Technology innovations that address:


            - Bone loss and osteoporosis

            - Cardiovascular alterations and cardiac problems

            - Sleep problems, human performance factors and chronobiology (biorhythms)

            - Radiation effects

            - Muscle changes and muscular atrophy

            - Neurobehavioral and psychosocial factors

            - Nutrition, physical fitness and rehabilitation

            - Neurovestibular adaptation (inner ear and balance) 

* Smart medical devices: remote medical care / telemedicine
* Technology development; transportable diagnostic devices, minimally or non-invasive tools and low-power/self-powered device
* Biomedical and environmental health technologies
* Human factors engineering, habitability design and human-robotics interaction technologies

 Heinlein Prize Trust Award – Best Commercial Space Activity Business Plan ($15,000)

The team with the best business plan dedicated to commercial space activity will receive the Heinlein Prize Trust Award. The Heinlein Prize Trust is a non-profit foundation which promotes the commercial uses of space. It provides financial prizes to commercial space entrepreneurs, enhances public awareness of commercial space, and uses space to inspire students about opportunities of the next frontier. The Trust is a legacy of Robert and Virginia Heinlein; Robert Heinlein is one of the most popular American science fiction authors and is often called the “dean of science fiction writers.”

Courageous Women Entrepreneur Award – Best Business Plan for Women-led Businesses ($10,000)

 nCourage Entrepreneurs Investment Group will award the $10,000 investment prize to a team with:
* a woman CEO or woman in a senior leadership role,
* OR business that has a significant percentage (50%) women ownership.
The purpose of this award is to encourage women in entrepreneurship and business.

Sheafor-Lindsay Social Venture Award – Best Social Venture Business Plan ($10,000)

The $10,000 Sheafor-Lindsay Social Venture Award is a cash prize that will be awarded to the university team that presents the best business plan for a Social Venture at the 2011 Rice Business Plan Competition.

The purpose of this award is to encourage business leaders to develop enterprises which contribute to the social good and contribute to society, in addition to generating a financial profit. This award recognizes the best new business ideas that create and measure both social and financial returns.

Categories of “social value” include, but are not limited to energy, healthcare, food, water, housing and education:
* Making healthcare available for underdeveloped or underserved populations
* Clean energy or alternative energy (to reduce carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, pollution, etc.)
* Making energy (or light or heat, etc.) available for underdeveloped or underserved populations
* Making food available
* Making clean water
* Making low-cost housing available
* Making affordable, effective education available to disadvantaged or underdeveloped individuals

 Miller, Egan, Molter & Nelson LLP – Edward H. Molter Memorial Prize for Best Presentation ($10,000)

All teams are eligible for The Edward H. Molter Memorial Prize for Best Presentation. This $10,000 prize will be awarded to the team that best presents and defends its plan, without regard for if its business is one in which the judges would choose to invest. Teams with businesses that are very early stage, have small markets, or are social ventures, for example, can compete successfully with those whose plans have extraordinary and immediate commercial potential. The purpose of this prize is to award a team for exceptional work with respect to oral presentation and Q&A.

 FLS Associates Social Venture Mentoring Award – Mentoring to Social Venture Teams ($15,000)

 FLS Associates will award this prize to the six finalists in the Social Venture round at the RBPC. The purpose of the prize is to further educate and mentor the social venture teams on the unique aspects of social entrepreneurship as well as the challenges and opportunities it offers.

 Semi-Final Round: (Saturday morning)

Note: The first and second place teams of the First round and the highest scoring third place team over all (15 teams total) will advance to the Semi-Final Round on Saturday morning. The first and second place winners of the Semi-Final Rounds will advance to the finals on Saturday afternoon. (Six teams total)

  3rd Place: 4th Place: 5th Place:
Semi-Final Round 1 $2,000 $1,500 $1,250
Semi-Final Round 2 $2,000 $1,500 $1,250
Semi-Final Round 3 $2,000 $1,500 $1,250

Shark Tank Round: (Saturday morning)

Note: all teams that do not advance to the Semi-Final Round will advance to the Shark Tank Round on Saturday morning.

  1st Place: 2nd Place:  3rd Place:   4th Place:
Shark Tank Round 1 $1,000 $700 $600 $500
Shark Tank Round 2 $1,000 $700 $600 $500
Shark Tank Round3 $1,000 $700 $600  $500 
Shark Tank Round 4 $1,000 $700  $600 $500 
Shark Tank Round 5 $1,000 $700  $600  $500
Shark Tank Round 6 $1,000 $700  $600  $500 
Shark Tank Round 7 $1,000 $700  $600  N/A

Special Cash Award Categories:

BBVA Compass Most Bankable Team Award $2,500 Most Bankable Team
ContentActive / HBJ Sales & Marketing Plan Award $2,500 Best Sales & Marketing Plan
Gimmal I.T. Award $2,500 Best I.T. Business Plan
Essex Woodlands Health Ventures Life Science Award $2,500 Best Life Science Business Plan 
Fairway Medical Technologies Medical Device Award $2,500 Best Medical Device Business Plan
Palo Alto Software Outstanding Business Plan Award $2,500 Best Written Business Plan
Pearland EDC Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award $3,500  Best Plan Demonstrating the Spirit of Entrepreneurship
Energy Ventures Energy Award $2,500  Best Energy Business Plan
McGuireWoods Showcase Award $1,000  Best Company Showcase Table at the Awards Banquet. All teams are eligible for this award. Voted by all attendees at the Awards Banquet.

 Austin Ventures Elevator Pitch Competition: (Thursday evening)

First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $750
Third Place: $750
Fourth Place: $500
Fifth Place: $500

ELEC 394 Elevator Pitch Competition: (Thursday evening)

First Place: $1,000

 Teen Judges Elevator Pitch Competition: (Thursday evening)

First Place: $1,000

Note: All teams are eligible for, and compete for, all three of the Elevator Pitch cash  awards.

NCIIA Venture Lab Awards

Three teams will receive a tuition waiver and travel stipend to attend an NCIIA VENTURE LAB Workshop or Advanced Innovation to Venture (AI2V) Workshop. Each of these three teams will receive a stipend to help cover travel costs and tuition costs of this four-day workshop.

VENTURE LAB and AI2V are unique, invitation-only opportunities for your startup to set aside a few days and conduct critical and strategic thinking about your venture with assigned mentors and coaches who are accomplished entrepreneurs in your industry. Sponsored by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, these workshops are for company founders who have committed to start a company around their technology.

Intent to Compete Software Awards

Palo Alto Software
All teams that completed an Intent to Compete for the Rice Business Plan Competition were eligible to receive a free 6-month subsription to LivePlan by Palo Alto Software.