Napier Rice Launch Challenge

2020 Napier Rice Launch Challenge

The H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge Startup Competition is Rice’s newest entrepreneurship competition, awarding over $60,000 in prize money to Rice-affiliated teams. Students and alumni enter business ideas (high growth ventures or small business ideas) to compete. The startup competition will be held on the evening of March 25th at Lilie.

  • At least one member of your team must be a current Rice student (undergraduate or graduate), or alumni (fewer 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.
  • 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 your team member pitching (informal, mobile phone video).
  • Finalists will be required to attend two mandatory training sessions on pitch scripts and pitch delivery.


  • Monday, January 28th by 11:59 pm: Applications due
  • Wednesday, January 29th: Second round finalists announced
  • Sunday, February 9th by 11:59 pm: Second round applications due
  • Friday, February 14th: Finalists announced.

Ready to compete?  Apply here: http://bit.ly/ApplytoNRLC2020

Want to attend?  Reserve your seat today: http://bit.ly/NRLC2020RSVP

2019 finalists

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

Undergraduate Team


At Barolac, we are developing a medical device to provide early detection of feeding difficulties during the first critical weeks of life.

Undergraduate Team

Take a Breather

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.

Undergraduate Team

Card Stock Exchange

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.

Alumni Team

CNX Medical

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.

Alumni Team

Ictero Medical

Ictero Medical is building a minimally invasive ablation solution to treat gallstone disease without the need for general anesthesia.

Alumni Team

Work & Mother

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.

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.

Graduate Team


WellWorth is a Software-as-a-Service financial modeling & valuation platform for finance professionals in the upstream oil & gas space.

Graduate Team


Luber removes the burden and hassle of preventative vehicle maintenance by connecting small business fleets and mechanics in one, innovative, online marketplace.

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.eduto 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.