H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge

Want to dip your toe into aspects of entrepreneurship, innovation and design thinking? Or are you looking for a structured approach to preparing your own idea for launch? 

Whatever it may be, the H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge (RLC) has you covered. A year-long stream of workshops, networking events, ideation sessions, and competitions, the H. Albert Napier RLC offers students exposure to various aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation. No supplementary courses required.


19-Sept   Design Thinking Workshop

11-Oct    Customer Discovery Workshop

29-Oct    Evaluating Market Opportunities Workshop

12-Nov    Pitching Part 1 – Messaging and Strategy Workshop

26-Nov    Unit Economics Workshop

9-Jan     Pretotyping and Prototyping Workshop

23-Jan    Pitching Part 2 – Body Language, Hand Gestures Workshop


Important Dates:

Feb 4th Applications Due for Final Competition

Feb 12th  Finalists announced

Feb 19th  Second Round Applications Due

Feb 28th  NRLC Finalists Announced

Mar 21th-22nd UG Pitch Script Feedback

Mar 25th-26th  MBA Pitch Script Feedback

Mar 28th  Napier Rice Launch Challenge Competition. Wil take place Thursday, March 28th from 6:00-9:00pm at Lilie. We are awarding ovr $60,000 in prize money to Rice-affiliated startups. RSVP coming soon!


Application Guidelines:

  • Apply by midnight, the evening of February 3rd
  • Only one application per startup team may be submitted.  Applicants will be asked to answer a variety of questions about the venture, to submit an executive summary (no more than 1 page), as well as a one minute video (YouTube or Vimeo) of a team member pitching (informal, mobile phone video).
  • All startup team applications must be the original work of applicants.
  • At least one member of your team must be a current Rice student (undergraduate or graduate), or alumni (less than 5 years out). The Rice affiliate must be an active contributing member to the team beyond an advisory role, and he/she must give the final presentation if selected as a finalist.
  • We will announce 1st round finalists by March 12th. Second round finalists will be announced February 28th.
  • Competition finalists will be required to attend two mandatory training sessions on pitch scripts and pitch deliverym, as well as a dress rehearsal.  It is imperative that all members of your team participate in these training sessions. However, in order to maintain eligibility to present at final competition, at least two members of team must be at pitch script feedback session, and the team member presenting at competition must participate in the pitch delivery feedback session, as well as the dress rehearsal.
  • Startup teams must not have accepted any institutional or non-institutional funding in excess of $150,000. Non-institutional funding includes contests, grants, friends and family, bank loans, etc. where there is no equity ownership associated with the funding.  The NRLC committee reserves the right to deliberate the eligibility of any team.
  • Highlights from 2018: http://news.rice.edu/2018/04/09/noleus-technologies-wins-grand-prize-at-rice-launch-challenge/ 

If you have any questions regarding the application process or event, please contact Caitlin Bolanos at caitlin.bolanos@rice.edu. 



**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? Maybe you merely want to demonstrate your support of the burgeoning Houston entrepreneurial community by supporting these Rice grown companies? 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.