About the 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.
In 2016, more than 750 applications were submitted. More than 180 corporate and private sponsors support the business plan competition. Venture capitalists and other investors from around the country volunteer their time to judge the competition, with the majority of the 275+ judges coming from the investment sector. 161 past competitors have gone on to successfully launch their businesses and are still in business today, with another 15 having successful exits. These companies have raised in excess of $1.2 billion in funding.
The competition is designed to give collegiate entrepreneurs a real-world experience to fine tune their business plans and elevator pitches to generate funding to successfully commercialize their product. 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. 76% of judges surveyed considered investing in a team that presented at the 2016 RBPC or referred a team to a third-party investor.
We provide an unparalleled experience for the participants by designing a diverse program over the course of three-days; with significant time designated for feedback and interaction with the judging panel.
All teams will participate and present on all three days
- Thursday: Practice Round and Elevator Pitch Competition
- Friday: First Round and Feedback Session
- Saturday: Semi-Final Round, Challenge Round and Final Round
Highlights of the Competition include:
- Real-world opportunities to learn what’s required to successfully launch a new business
- Chance to receive mentoring from investors and experienced entrepreneurs
- Scheduled opportunities to network with potential venture capitalists and other investors for three days
- High caliber of judges, all senior level investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders
- Opportunities to receive individual feedback during three separate sessions
- 2016: $1.7 Million + in prize money was awarded with all teams winning at least one cash award
The goal of the RBPC is to provide the best overall educational and entrepreneurial experience of any business plan/new venture competition and we were very gratified by the feedback we have received from past competitors and judges.
For more information about the Rice University Business Plan Competition, please review the website, or email the Competition Director with specific questions not answered on the website.
About the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship
The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship (Rice Alliance) is Rice University’s nationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of technology commercialization, entrepreneurship education, and the launch of technology companies. It was formed as a strategic alliance of three schools: the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business in collaboration with the Vice Provost and the Office of Research.
Since inception in 2000, more than 1,700 early-stage companies have benefitted by participating in the 175+ programs hosted by the Rice Alliance and have raised in excess of $3.3 billion.
Withdrawal Penalty: If a confirmed team DROPS OUT AFTER MARCH 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm CDT FOR ANY REASON, their university will be ineligible to compete in the Rice Business Plan Competition for two years. In addition, a letter will be sent to their faculty advisor and to the Dean of their School informing them of the team’s failure to honor their commitment, and of their school’s disqualification for the next two years. Spaces are limited at the RBPC, and a last minute cancellation will prevent another university from competing.
Feedback: All teams which submit complete applications will receive feedback on their submissions from the RBPC Review and Selection Board. It is our expectation that, even if a team is not selected to compete, the application process will provide a unique coaching opportunity for developing ventures. Feedback will be available after invited teams are announced.
Non-confidentiality: All sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that could possibly enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged, or presented in these sessions.
Due to the nature of the competition, we are not able to ask judges, reviewers, staff, or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements. However, the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, the organizer of the RBPC, will make every effort to limit distribution of business plans presented at the competition. The Rice Alliance cannot guarantee that other individuals will not obtain access to electronic or hard copies of the business plan. All presentations are open to the general public, and some presentations may be videotaped. Attendance by media personnel is expected.
Copyrights & Permissions: If a team uses copyrighted materials and/or images from a third-party in their submissions or presentations, they must obtain permission and authorization in advance from the owners to use this material.
Information presented by the Company at the Rice Business Plan Competition is the sole responsibility of the Company. Rice University, including the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and any of its affiliates (collectively, “Rice”), has not taken, and does not intend to take, any steps to verify the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, materials or statements presented by the Company. The Company, and not Rice, is responsible for ensuring the Company’s compliance with all applicable federal, state and other securities laws, and it is solely the Company’s responsibility to comply with any of such laws that are applicable. Rice does not give investment advice, endorsement, analysis or recommendations with respect to any securities and is not a broker, venture fund or an investment advisor.
Entry Fees: The RBPC does not have an entry fee.
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.
Requirements: 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 due before February 10, 2016 at 5 pm CST. All teams will receive feedback from the Review and Selection Board on their presentation. Teams should upload their video to youtube, and paste the link into the appropriate field in their application. You must ensure the youtube video settings include permission to embed the video on an external site (check box). You may set the privacy settings to "Unlisted" but NOT "Private" if you wish to restrict viewing to the RBPC.
The video pitch should be in similar format to the elevator pitches presented at the competition—pitches from previous years can be found on our website, and format and guidelines are found below. You may use any recording device readily available (cell phone, computer, etc). The focus should be on your presentation and content, not video production quality.
Written Business Plan: Please submit the file in Adobe Acrobat PDF. No other format will be accepted. Files should be named according to the following format: BP_CompanyName_UniversityName.pdf and should be uploaded to the team’s online application
Requirements: Written business plans are limited to 10 pages of text and should include the executive summary and summary financial data. Detailed spreadsheets and appropriate appendices should follow the text portion of the plan but will be limited to 6 pages. Plans with fewer than 6 pages of appendices may not use the remaining pages to increase the size of their business plan beyond 10 pages. In total, the maximum number of pages is 18, if a cover page and table of contents are included.
Contents of the Written Business Plan: 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)
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. Detailed financial data and tables should be included in the appendix.
Please note: The team is not required to reveal the exact desired terms of the deal (i.e., proposed company valuation and percentage of company being offered). However, teams should expect to be asked about these terms and should be prepared to answer these questions in some fashion (if this information is not already provided in the written plan.) It is up to the team to assess the BEST way to address this question; however, past experience indicates that some judges will want to know a team’s estimated company valuation.
Appendices: should be included only when they support the findings, statements, and observations in the plan. Because of the number of teams in the competition, judges may not be able to read all the material in the appendices. Therefore, the text portion of the plan (10 pages) must contain all pertinent information in a clear and concise manner. All appendices must fall within the 6 page limit; any pages over this limit will not be posted or otherwise provided to the judges.
Revised Business Plan: Once the online business plan submission round closes on March 13, 2017 at 5 pm CDT, it will be provided for review by the judges who will judge your pitch in the First Round of the competition, and you will receive written feedback from them by noon CDT on Saturday, March 24, 2017. This feedback will not be used for advancement or placing in the competition, rather is for coaching purposes only.
After the feedback is released to teams, you will have the opportunity to submit a revised written business plan as part of your online application. This is advised, but not required. The revised plan should follow the same format as outlined above and is due Monday, April 3, 2017 by 5 pm.
Team Media Materials: Teams will be required to submit materials that will be used in print, web, and other media including:
- Team Descriptions
- Team/Team member photos
- Product or prototype photos (if applicable)
- Company Logo
- University LogoUniversity External Relations/PR/Marketing contact information
- PITCH Infographic created in Palo Alto LivePlan software (free 6-month subscription provided with completed application)
For more information click "Further official information" below.
This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here: