Lilie Launchpad


Launchpad is a program that delivers hands-on, personalized mentorship to help you get advice and feedback in applying the early stage venture building process, so you can gain forward momentum on your venture, no matter what your stage.

A short application gives us all the info we need to create curated mentorship matches between you and top entrepreneurs and innovators across the Rice alumni and Houston entrepreneurial ecosystems. Once we introduce you to a mentor, you’ll be setup for check-ins with them every 2 weeks to keep you on track and accountable for making progress on your idea with their help and guidance.

As a part of Launchpad, all participants are eligible to receive up to $500 in no-strings attached grant funding for every semester they are a part of the program, to add fuel to your fire. You’ll also have early access to workshops to develop your startup skills and knowledge, and Launchpad Community nights to share your ideas, practice your pitches, and demo your prototypes with other Launchpad student founders.

At the completion of Launchpad, you have a better understanding of your business model, customers, next steps, and so much more! You’ll be prepared to compete in the Napier Rice Launch Challenge for a chance to win over $100k of equity-free funding for your venture.

Launchpad applications are currently closed, but will re-open for the next academic year in early August


Sharpen Those Entrepreneurial Minds

You will learn from Lilie faculty, staff, industry leaders, and your peers while joining a community of entrepreneurs looking to support each other. Whether you’re at the early stage of your venture or currently working on getting your first customer, what you accomplish in Launchpad will help you advance your venture to the next level.

During Launchpad, you can learn how to:

  • Understand problem spaces and validate solutions
  • Pinpoint who your customers and users should be
  • Determine the size of the market that exists for your solution
  • Create the most value for your customers
  • Build a sustainable business model for your venture
  • Test the viability of your solution’s MVP  with customers
  • Develop concrete and immediate steps to advance your venture to a pitch-able state
  • Gain a sense of community and support from your peers


January 16, 2024

Applications open on a rolling basis

January 30, 2024

Venture Development Workshop: Product Development

February 1, 2024

Venture Development Workshop: Branding for Influencers and Athletes

February 14, 2024

Venture Development Workshop: Funding Your Idea

February 17, 2024

Launchpad Social

February 20, 2024

Venture Development Workshop: Pitch Workshop

February 21, 2024

Launchpad Pitch Night

Subscribe to the Lilie calendar to stay up to date on our events!


What to expect:

  • Mentor meetings will take place approximately every 2 weeks, over Zoom
  • Mentors will offer advice and feedback as you encounter and overcome challenges in making your idea a reality, and open up their networks to help
  • Up to $500 in no-strings attached grant funding available every semester you participate in Launchpad
  • Workshops and Launchpad community events happen regularly throughout the semester, and are strongly encouraged to get the most out of it
  • Mentors and the Lilie team will hold you accountable for making progress on your venture between meetings, communicating in advance with your mentor, and showing up prepared to take advantage of this incredible resource.

Requirements to Apply:

  • One application per team, completed by the lead team member.
  • The lead team member must be a current Rice student. All backgrounds, areas of study, and degree programs are welcome to apply.
  • A maximum of 5 members per team. You may apply as a solo founder.
  • Team members do not need to be Rice affiliated.
  • Must be working on a venture. The venture doesn’t not have to be fully launched to apply but must be more than an idea. This can be in any field and take any venture form (e.g., startup, nonprofit, small business, side-hustle).