H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge

Thank you for all of those who participated in the 2019 H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge (NRLC) Startup Competition. Ten incredible, Rice affiliated teams – students and recent alumni - are competed for $60,000 and other prizes.

Rassul Zarinfar, founder of Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, did an incredible job as our guest emcee and provided delicious refreshments. A big thank you to him and to our other sponsors. 

2019 finalists:

  • Barolac (Undergraduate Team): At Barolac, we are developing a medical device to provide early detection of feeding difficulties during the first critical weeks of life.
  • Take a Breather (Undergraduate Team): For healthcare providers in global health settings who need to provide ventilation to multiple patients in respiratory distress and are dissatisfied with the current solution, our product is an add-on, assistive device to the current bag valve mask that automates the compression of the bag at an affordable price point.
  • Card Stock Exchange (Undergraduate Team): Our centralized platform will allow people worldwide to connect, buy, and sell sports trading cards and memorabilia, as well as track their memorabilia portfolio, centralizing a fragmented industry and helping our customers “play their cards right.”
  • CNX Medical (Alumni Team): CNX Medical’s product is a disposable non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator to prevent post-operative ileus that reduces hospital stay and avoids the need for a painful nasogastric tube.
  • Ictero Medical (Alumni Team): Ictero Medical is building a minimally invasive ablation solution to treat gallstone disease without the need for general anesthesia.
  • Work & Mother (Alumni Team): For businesses that are seeking to satisfy Fair Labor Standards Act requirements, recruit and retain top female talent, and are dissatisfied with in-office “solutions” such as wellness rooms, Work & Mother utilizes a shared space model to provide a fully equipped lactation facility with privacy, hospital-grade equipment, programming and a support network that helps keep mothers in the workforce. 
  • UrinControl (Graduate Team): Children with neurogenic bladders must choose between intermittent catheterization or a surgery with sub-optimal success rates, but UrinControl is a temporary urethral valve that provides children with a non-invasive comfortable alternative that gives them and their caregivers independence and control.
  • WellWorth (Graduate Team): WellWorth is a Software-as-a-Service financial modeling & valuation platform for finance professionals in the upstream oil & gas space.
  • Luber (Graduate Team): Luber removes the burden and hassle of preventative vehicle maintenance by connecting small business fleets and mechanics in one, innovative, online marketplace.
  • LilySpec (Graduate Team): The LilySpec is a novel vaginal speculum that provides enhanced comfort through a unique, patient-centered design. Unlike current specula, the LilySpec accommodates women of all body types and is deployed with a gentle radial expansion mechanism, improving the patient experience.


2019 Judges Include:

  • Claire Shorall, Principal, NEO

  • Dan Watkins, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Mercury Fund

  • Gray Hancock, Founder & COO, Decisio

  • Samantha Lewis, Director, GOOSE Society


Brought to You by:

  • Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Lilie)
  • Rice Business
  • Rice Entrepreneurs Organization

A special thank you to our sponsors:

  • Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co
  • David Leebron and Y Ping Sun
  • OwlSpark, Rice University Startup Accelerator
  • Jon R. Marinelli, Alum
  • Rachel and Bruce Deskin, Alumni
  • Hunington Properties


Interested in Sponsoring?

Are you looking to gain exposure to Houston’s newest and most promising startup ventures, as well as first-class entrepreneurial talent? Or are you looking to partner with potential long term clients?  Contact Caitlin Bolanos at caitlin.bolanos@rice.edu to see how you can support this student experience and join us in the transformation of Houston’s innovation ecosystem. 


Want to dip your toe into entrepreneurship and innovation ? Looking for a structured approach to prepare your own idea for launch? 

Whatever it may be, the H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge (NRLC) has you covered. A year-long stream of workshops such as design thinking, customer discovery, pitching, and pretotyping and prototyping.

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