Nearly $1.5 million awarded at world’s richest, largest student startup competition
HOUSTON – (April 18, 2015) – KiLife Tech from Brigham Young University emerged as the top startup company in the Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) today at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. The annual event is the world’s richest and largest student startup competition.
Selected by 275 judges from the investment sector as representing the best investment opportunity and taking home $500,000 in cash and prizes, KiLife Tech bested 41 other competitors hailing from some of the world’s top universities. KiLife Tech developed the Kiband, a smartband for parents concerned about keeping track of young children in crowded public spaces.
The winner of a new $5,000 online People’s Choice Competition was MyHelpster, University of Manchester. More than 20,000 people voted for their favorite team via a Facebook survey held March 23 through noon U.S. CDT today.
The prizes were presented tonight at a banquet at the Omni Houston Hotel that concluded the three-day event, which began April 16.
This year’s competitors were the most diverse in the history of the competition and came from top universities around the globe. The teams were chosen from more than 400 entrants to compete in four categories: life sciences; information technology/Web/mobile; energy/clean technology/sustainability; and other. Each team made its case in 15-minute investment pitches and a rapid-fire 60-second elevator-pitch contest on the first night of the competition.
Since the RBPC’s inception in 2001, when nine teams competed for $10,000, more than 155 former competitors have gone on to successfully launch their ventures and are still in business today; another 15 have successfully sold their ventures. Past competitors have raised in excess of $1.3 billion in funding and created more than 2,000 new jobs.
The 15th annual RBPC was hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and the Jones School.
The top six finalists based on the judges’ overall score in the 2015 RBPC were:
KiLife Tech, Brigham Young University — grand prize, more than $588,000 total value
KiLife Tech developed the Kiband, a smartband for parents concerned about keeping track of young children in crowded public spaces.
The grand prize includes:
Inscope Medical Solutions, University of Louisville -- second place and $133,000, awarded by one of the sponsors of the first RBPC in 2001, Finger Interests.
Leveraging 35 years combined experience in the healthcare industry, Inscope Medical has developed an innovative laryngoscope that integrates several devices into one, improving patient outcomes for airway intubation.
Hyliion, Carnegie Mellon University -- third place and $162,500.
Hyliion is creating an add-on hybrid module for tractor-trailers that can reduce fuel costs by over 30 percent. In addition, it will improve the driver's quality of life as well as reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Veritas Medical, University of Utah -- fourth place and $137,100.
Veritas Medical is a medical device company that has developed a groundbreaking technology using light to sterilize medical devices and prevent hospital-acquired infections.
DexMat, Rice University --- fifth place and $64,000.
DexMat manufactures high-performance carbon nanotube fibers as a stronger, more flexible and lightweight replacement for old-fashioned metal wires that are currently being used in aerospace cables.
Aerox, Thammasat University — sixth place and $31,000.
Aerox manufactures A-Shield Silica Aerogel, a NASA grade insulation, but at only 10 percent the cost. This unlocks an opportunity in building material worth $37 billion.
Mary Lynn Fernau