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The H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge Championships

April 19th @ 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm CDT


Join the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and support Rice University student ventures at the H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge (NRLC) Championships on Wednesday, April 19! Five student finalists will pitch their ventures to compete for the chance to win a share of $100,000 in equity-free funding!

Don’t miss out on watching student pitches, networking with like-minded entrepreneurs and innovators, and voting for your favorite venture to win the Audience Choice Award.


Attendance is open to Rice students, Rice alumni, friends of Rice, and the whole Houston entrepreneurial community! Seats are limited, so get your tickets while you still can!

The competition starts at 5:30PM with a reception with light hors d’oeuvres and drinks to follow at 7PM.




Dacia and Lanham Napier, in honor of Al Napier

The Liu Family, in honor of Frank Liu Jr.

MBA alumna Runsi Sen ’04




A jeans fit finder for women that uses your true measurements to match you with the perfect jeans for your body type.



  • Viviane Nguyen, CEO – MBA ‘23 – Business
  • Stephanie Zhou, COO – MBA ‘23 – Business
  • Samantha Wong, CTO – MS/MBA ‘22 – Mechanical Engineering/Business


Using brines already produced by geothermal energy, Separion’s innovative and environmentally friendly extraction process will supply lithium faster, purer, and greener.


  • Yuren Feng, CEO – PhD ‘24 – Environmental Engineering
  • Xiaochuan Huang​, CTO – PhD ‘23 – Environmental Engineering
  • Ze He, ​COO – PhD ‘23 – Chemical Engineering

Sygne Solutions

Sygne Solutions’ mission is to forever eliminate “forever” chemicals. Their strategy is to eliminate PFAS in water through their patent-pending technology.


  • Bo Wang – PhD ‘23 – Chemical Engineering
  • Subash Kannan – MBA ‘24 – Business
  • Dana Vazquez – MBA ‘24 – Business
  • Kimberly Heck, Research Scientist – Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


Tidepay is an HR and payroll solution for shipping companies that streamlines the onboarding process and helps transfer wages to their globally positioned employees’ bank accounts.

Website – LinkedIn


  • Andrew Pitigoi, CEO – BBA ‘26 – Finance
  • Devin Shah, CFO – BBA ‘26 – Finance

Tierra Climate

Tierra Climate’s mission is to accelerate energy storage deployment by unlocking and monetizing grid decarbonization services.



  • Emma Konet, CTO – MBA ’24 – Business
  • Jacob Mansfield, CEO – MBA ‘23 – Harvard




Barbara Burger, Former President of Chevron Technology Ventures

A “Corporate Graduate”, Barbara remains focused on the big challenges in energy transition, equity, and access to education. She has built a portfolio of advisory, board, philanthropic, and volunteer roles to contribute to progress in these areas. Burger holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester, a doctoral degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, and an academic honor MBA in finance from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jordan Miller, SVP, Chief Scientist for Regenerative Medicine of 3D Systems

Jordan serves the Advanced R&D group at 3D Systems, with a focus on 3D bioprinting human organs in a collaborative project led by United Therapeutics. His training includes a bachelor’s degree in Biology (2003) from MIT, Ph.D. in Bioengineering (2008) from Rice University, and postdoctoral work in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He also served as an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Rice University and joined 3D Systems in 2021 when his team’s startup Volumetric was acquired.

Omair Tariq, CEO & Co-Founder of Cart.com

Omair Tariq is co-founder and CEO of Cart.com. Omair previously served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Blinds.com, where he played a key role in scaling the high-growth ecommerce startup prior to its acquisition by Home Depot. He subsequently served as a key member of Homedepot.com leadership team, responsible for online customer experience strategies and ecommerce business growth. Born in Pakistan, Omair grew up in Dubai before moving to Houston after high school. He studied finance at the University of Houston and later received his MBA from Rice University.


Grand Hall, Rice Memorial Center


Liu Idea Lab