Napier Rice Launch Challenge

2021 Napier Rice Launch Challenge


The H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge Startup Competition is Rice’s internal startup competition, awarding cash prizes to Rice-affiliated teams. Students and alumni enter business ideas (high growth ventures or small business ideas) to compete. NRLC will be hosted on the evenings of April 22nd for student startups, and June 3rd for alumni startups.

Support Rice students and recent alumni as they pitch their business ideas for a chance to win cash prizes. Watch the pitches, network with the Rice entrepreneurship community, and vote for your favorite idea! Attendance is open to Rice students, Rice alumni, and friends of Rice.

This year has been reimagined with individual student and alumni tracks

To better serve our entrepreneurial community, we’ve designed dedicated student and alumni NRLC competitions. With two tracks, we are able to offer more finalist spots (and $$$) to Rice startups. So, what can you expect this year as a competitor?

Student Track

Application Deadline: March 2nd

Round One: March 25th

Pitch Recording Date: April 19th

Championships: April 22nd

Alumni Track

Application Deadline: April 27th

Round One: May 20th

Pitch Recording Date: May 30th

Championships: June 3rd


To apply, please complete either our Student Track Application by March 2nd or Alumni Track Application by April 27th. By submitting an application, you will be confirmed to participate in NRLC Round One.

Students from all areas of study are encouraged to apply, along with alumni from any graduating year. Team members or partners do not need to have a Rice background, however, the competitor pitching is required to be a Rice student or alumni.


Round One

Competitors will prepare a 5-minute pitch to present to our NRLC judges. After pitching, participants will have an additional 5 minutes to answer questions from the judges and team. Startups moving on to the Championships will be announced within 24 hours.



Before our final round, Lilie will help you refine your venture and prepare you to give an award-winning pitch, with:

  • Mentor session with seasoned entrepreneurs to develop your ideas
  • Pitch training workshops to polish your presentation
  • Professional recording of your pitch to show at the Championships

During the Championships, your recording will be followed by Q&A from our judges, and the top pick will be voted on by the audience.

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 to see how you can support this student experience and join us in the transformation of Houston’s innovation ecosystem.

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