Genius Bar @ Lilie

Get Help with Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Genius Bar provides mentorship and coaching to Rice University students. Successful Houston-based entrepreneurs as well as faculty mentors are available to meet throughout the academic year both in person and remotely. 

Need advice? Schedule time with a community expert or a faculty mentor.  Each mentor brings a unique set of experiences and expertise.  




Roberto Moctezuma

Founder and CEO, Fractal River

Best for support related to: growing an existing idea/product, technology entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, AI/machine learning/immersive technologies

Reserve time with Roberto Moctezuma


Rupa Parekh – Designer-in-Residence

Founder and CEO, umani Designs

Best for support related to: design thinking, technology, media, corporate innovation

Reserve time with Rupa Parekh


John S. Reale, Jr.

general Partner, integrated capital 

Best for support related to: the discovery process, building your team, go to market strategy, elevator pitching, fundraising

Reserve time with John Reale


Michael Sklar

Acceleration Committee Chair, Houston Exponential

Best for support related to: refining business ideas, customer discovery, market sizing, defining minimum viable product, prioritizing next steps, and troubleshooting when you feel stuck

Reserve time with Michael Sklar


Anderson Ta – Maker-in-Residence

Founder and CEO, Open Factory

Best for support related to: design, prototyping and manufacturing

As our "Maker-in-Residence", office hours with Andy are intended to provide you with the opportunity to discuss design, prototyping and manufacturing considerations when developing a product. Any work beyond these discussions are outside the intended scope of these office hours. If you need assistance beyond these office hours, please reach out to the Lilie team and we'll work with you to get what you need.

Reserve time with Anderson Ta

Rice University Faculty & Staff Mentors


Jamie Jones, Ph. D.

Executive Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Best for support related to: Finding an idea, developing a roadmap for exploring an idea, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, emerging market ventures, career paths

Schedule office Hours with Jamie Jones


Hesam Panahi, Ph. D.

Lecturer, Jones Graduate School of Business

Best for support related to: Finding an idea, developing a roadmap for exploring an idea, technology entrepreneurship, career paths

Schedule office Hours with Hesam Panahi


Kerri Smith

Managing Director, OwlSpark Accelerator

Best for support related to: Startup acceleration, ecosystem building, technology transfer, Lean Launchpad methodology, OwlSpark Accelerator, NSF I-Corps and the Rice Alliance

Schedule Office Hours with Kerri Smith


Al Danto

Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship & IT

Best for support related to: New enterprises, enterprise acquisition and divestiture, entrepreneurial financing, E-Labs, valuations and due diligence representation

Schedule Office Hours with Al Danto


Abby Larson, Ph. D.

Director, Entrepreneurship Initiative at Rice Business

Best for support related to: Social and human context of entrepreneurship and innovation; systems

Schedule Office Hours with Abby Larson


Calendar of Events