Lilie Launchpad

Six Steps from Idea to Launch

The Lilie Launchpad is an application-only series of six private workshops developed to teach students the methodologies and frameworks required to take a venture idea to launch. The workshops are paired with small-group roundtables (or ‘shuttles’ as we call them) which are designed to facilitate direct and immediate feedback on your venture iterations as well as accountability throughout the launch process.

At the completion of the series, students will have a fully developed venture plan and be prepared to compete in the Napier Rice Launch Challenge for a chance to win cash prizes.

Sharpen Those Entrepreneurial Minds

Students will learn from Lilie faculty, staff, and their peers while joining a community of entrepreneurs looking to support each other. During the program, students will:

  • Gain an understanding of how to solve problems in the market and validate solutions
  • Pinpoint who their customers and users should be
  • Determine the size of the market that exists for their solution
  • Learn to create the most value for their customers with their solution
  • Build a business model around their idea to generate revenue and reach sustainability
  • Develop concrete and immediate next steps to take their venture to market
  • Test the viability of their solution with customers
  • Scope their minimal viable product that will go out to the market
  • Gain a sense of community and support from their peers

Lilie Wants YOU

Application Requirements:

  • Must be a current Rice student (all students are welcome regardless of classification or major)
  • Must be able to attend all sessions
  • Must have a problem in mind to solve. This can be in any field and take any venture form (e.g., for-profit, non-profit).

Mark Your Calendars

Launchpad is gearing up for the fall and spring semesters. Keep an eye out on our website for updates, and reach out to with questions or to learn more.

A Peak into the Spring 2021 Student Teams

Jacques Doumani

PhD, Applied Physics

Jacques is creating a super advanced carbon nanotube/graphene protective face mask which is ~99% efficient at blocking COVID-19 and other similar viruses.

Megan Smith

Full-Time MBA

Ever thought about running for local or even state office? Well Megan is simplifying the process with tools that make running for elected office accessible to everyone.

Nora Han

Freshman, Engineering

Traveling with children is difficult, trust us. Nora is designing a solution to keep kids entertained on long journeys and keep parents from needing  to bring more stuff.

Jessica Faith Carter

Professional MBA

Jessica is connecting to a largely untapped market of women cigar aficionados with functional and fashionable travel humidors for their favorite stogies.

Saud Khan

Professional MBA

Looking for a job can be a full-time job. Saud is changing that with his platform that allows users to automatically apply to jobs which meet their criteria and also reduces bias in the hiring process.

Luke Stancil

Freshman, Computer Science

Luke is aiming to revolutionize the tech infrastructure of the restaurant industry by integrating reservations, POS, and back office logistics into one application.

The Spring 2021 Shuttle Leads

Gray Hancock

COO, Co-founder of Decisio Health

As the COO and Co-founder of Decisio Health, Gray’s venture offers DECISIOInsight® to enable faster and more informed decisions by clinicians. The tool combines patient monitoring and visualization of collected data to identify risks in real time. In addition to his entrepreneurial business ventures, Gray has been an active participant in Houston’s startup community from the very beginning. Before graduating with his Rice MBA in 2000, he interned and later worked full-time at the Houston Technology Center, promoting entrepreneurship through an independent study program he helped develop with Dr. Al Napier that eventually became an entrepreneurship course at the Jones Graduate School of Business.

Tatiana Fofanova Ph.D.

CEO, Co-founder of Koda Health

Tatiana is the Co-founder and CEO of Koda Health, where they are using AI to help guide difficult conversations between providers and their older patients. Koda helps curb the delivery of inappropriate care, empowering seniors to make more informed decisions and retain control of their healthcare journey. Tatiana’s background is in healthcare innovation, including a TMC Fellowship and Research role at Sandia National Laboratories. She graduated from Rice in 2013 with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a B.A. in Anthropology. After Rice, she continued her education at Baylor College of Medicine, earning her Ph.D. in Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine.

Kyle Judah

Executive Director of Lilie

Kyle Judah is the Executive Director at Lilie, and also teaches Financing the Startup Venture and Dilemmas in Founding New Ventures. Prior to joining Lilie, Kyle helped build and run the entrepreneurship program for the Colleges of Engineering at both The University of Colorado Boulder and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has an abundance of entrepreneurship experience: from co-founding RecoVend (a budgeting software for educational institutions), providing consulting services to large companies engaging in startup ecosystems, to revamping MIT’s Corporate Engagement Program. Kyle earned his BA in Sports Marketing from University of Massachusetts and holds an MBA from the Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business.

Brad Husick

CEO, Founder of IdeaSense

Brad is a serial entrepreneur and early-stage business consultant, and most notably was the co-founder of NetGravity. He was also the co-founder of Webaroo, creator of the world’s first offline web, Vice President of Business Development and Evangelism for Vignette Corporation, Vice President of Marketing for interactive design firm Clement Mok Designs, and co-founder of CMCD, a successful stock photography business. Before his involvement in entrepreneurship, his career began at companies including Apple, Macromedia (now Adobe), and Hewlett-Packard. Brad holds a MBA from Columbia University, and earned his B.A. in Astrophysics from Rice University, where he now sits on Lilie’s Advisory Board.

Rakesh Agrawal

CEO, Founder of SnapStream

As SnapStream’s Founder and CEO, Rakesh Agrawal oversees the software company’s sales and marketing teams and the company’s overall strategy. SnapStream ingests broadcast TV and other live video, generates transcripts in real-time, integrates simple clipping and editing tools for quick sharing to social media platforms. He is also an active angel investor, investing in 60+ companies. His active involvement in the Houston startup community goes even further, including mentoring at Station Houston, TMCx, OwlSpark, and Red Labs. Rakesh graduated from Rice with a B.A. in Computer Science and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and now also sits on the Lilie Advisory Board.

Yan-David Erlich

General Partner at Coatue Management

Yan-David Erlich (“Yanda”) is a General Partner at Coatue where he leads the enterprise software investing practice. Prior, Yanda was a 4-time venture-backed Founder/CEO, most recently of Parsable: the Connected Worker platform for industrial teams. He also founded ChoiceVendor (acquired by LinkedIn), Mogad (acquired by Qualcomm) and Happiness Engines. Prior to becoming a VC, Yanda was an active angel and an early investor in Mixer Labs (acq. Twitter), Thumbtack, MasterClass, CircleUp, and Buddybuild (acq. Apple). Yan-David started his career with software engineering and product management roles at both Google and Microsoft. He has a Bachelor of Science in both Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering from Rice University (Phi Beta Kappa) and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business where he was an Arjay Millar Scholar. Mr. Erlich has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Kelli Mason

Partner at Notley

Kelli is a Partner at Notley, an innovation firm that invests in real estate, venture funds, and startups, and leverages returns to help fund social enterprises across various sectors of need. She previously served as Head of People Operations at two venture-backed startups, and co-founded a data-driven workplace inclusion strategy firm. Keli’s background also includes working as an attorney, advising clients on employee benefits, executive compensation, and corporate governance in mergers, acquisitions, and financing. Keli graduated from Rice in 2008 with a B.A. in History, and then went on to earn her law degree from Stanford.

Spencer Randall

Principal, Co-founder of CryptoEQ

As Principal and Co-founder of CryptoEQ, Spencer Randall is helping platform users simplify their cryptocurrency decisions. CryptoEQ provides insights into investing and trading with real-time market data. Prior to his venture, Spencer worked as a professional engineer, followed by time as tax and engineering consultant. He graduated with his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rice in 2013, where he now also serves as the Director of Programming for the Rice Alumni Entrepreneurs and Innovators network.

Jake Nyquist

Founder of HOOK Art

Jake founded Hook in 2019, creating an online venue for viewing and buying fine art. Through the platform, Hook brings together seasoned art collectors and established galleries. Prior to his current venture, Jake’s background includes several software and product engineering roles with well-known companies such as Facebook, Airbnb, eBay, and Fin. Before graduating from Rice in 2017 with a B.A. in Computer Science, Jake was involved in the university’s entrepreneurship scene. He helped lead Rice Launch club, and participated in Rice hackathons and startup competitions with a product to help major automakers track and optimize the usage of their press fleet.