Lilie Launchpad


Launchpad is an in-person, hands-on mentoring program consisting of six private workshops developed to teach you the methodologies and frameworks required to gain forward momentum on your venture, no matter what your stage. The workshops are paired with small-group roundtables (or ‘shuttles’ as we call them) designed to facilitate direct and immediate feedback on your venture iterations as well as promote accountability. These shuttles will combine in-person networking and personalized mentorship sessions with top entrepreneurs and innovators across the Houston entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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 $75k of equity-free funding for your venture.

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


Nov 20, 2022

Applications due

Nov 28, 2022

Acceptance emails go out

Jan 17, 2023


Session 1: Customer Market Segments

Jan 24, 2023


Session 2: Find Your Customer (Persona and Use Case)

Jan 31, 2023


Session 3: Know Your Market

Feb 7, 2023


Session 4: Value propositions and high level product specs

Feb 14, 2023


Feb 21, 2023


Session 5: Transitioning Value Proposition and Specs into MVP

Feb 28, 2023


Session 6: Customer Acquisition – Getting the First Users and The Pitch



What to expect:

  • Runs for 6 weeks, every Tuesday starting January 17th and ending on February 28th from 5:30-7:30PM.
  • Takes place in-person at the Liu Idea Lab in Rice University’s Cambridge Office Building
  • You/your team will be paired with a mentor based on the stage and industry of your venture.
  • Every session will include time for networking, a hands-on workshop, and 1:1 time with your mentor.
  • Dinner, drinks, and snacks will be provided.

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 able to attend ALL sessions. If you can’t attend all sessions, applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • 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).


Applications are now closed for Launchpad 2023