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.

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 the Houston entrepreneurial ecosystem. Food, soft drinks, beer, and wine will be served.


2020 Finalists

Thank you for all of those who applied to compete in the 2020 H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge (NRLC) Startup Competition. Ten incredible, Rice affiliated teams – students and recent alumni – will compete for $60,000 and other prizes.


A440 is a content distribution platform for the classical music industry that helps fans discover new artists and watch their favorite artist’s content in an upscale viewing environment. At the same time, we provide organizations with a new traction opportunity, more effective analytics, and content monetization capabilities beyond anything available today.


filtur is an online community hub that connects university students and graduates to others from their university to form lasting bonds. By putting powerful filterability in the users’ hands, filtur connects people faster and more effectively than traditional networking clubs at less than 1/10 of the price.


To learn more about filtur click here.



Kinetica is an affordable and accessible communication wearable device that converts American Sign Language to spoken English. Kinetica will allow deaf and/or mute individuals to communicate with anyone without them having to know sign language.


To learn more about Kinetica click here.



Bidly is a mobile app that provides a cost-effective marketing platform for businesses in college towns and cities with dense young adult populations. Bidly projects the deals and promotions of these businesses to its users, and helps drive revenue growth.


To learn more about Bidly click here.



For elderly patients and their families who want their healthcare decisions fulfilled at the end of life, Coda delivers a personalized, interactive and video-based Advance Care Planning experience that not only documents patient’s wishes but ensures patient, family, and physician alignment. Unlike other competitors that focus only on document completion, Coda provides a discussion guide with educational content to ensure high-quality Advance Care Planning conversations are conducted along with document completion.

Aeon Systems

Aeon Systems will leverage off the shelf RFID technology in novel and innovative ways to track personnel on US military ships. The system will integrate with existing shipboard technology to detect the location of all personnel in real-time and serve as a communications link with both centralized and decentralized capabilities; drastically enhancing accountability, command and control, and safety in dynamic operational environments.

Blood and Guts Boat Cleaner

As a marine biologist, I have partnered with an industrial chemist to develop Blood and Guts Boat Cleaner- a biodegradable, easy to use soap, that was specifically formulated to remove blood stains from boats. Our product is fully developed and ready to bring to market, which is large (over 580K registered boats and 1.9 million fishermen in Texas alone), but easily reached through e-commerce.

Extra Vascular Access (EVA)

EVA provides a safe, accurate and simple method to gain venous and arterial access in a way that improves the success rate, reduces the risk of damage and bleeding complications, and saves time in the 20 million vascular access procedures performed annually in the US. The device, adapted to fit major ultrasound probe heads, immobilizes the needle in the plane of image visualization, guaranteeing complete visualization of the needle throughout the access process, while simultaneously allowing for real-time physician adjustment for tissue depth, patient anatomy, needle and probe angulation, and rapid wire exchange throughout the procedure.


For colorectal surgeons who perform gastrointestinal (GI) resections and are dissatisfied with the occurrence of anastomotic leaks, our product is a smart surgical tool that provides feedback on healthy anastomosis formation. Unlike alternative solutions that require inconvenient and expensive capital equipment, our product seamlessly integrates into the current workflow.

Billboard Shelter

We will repurpose the 600,000,000 million square feet waste stream of the billboard industry, an extremely durable form of vinyl, to better shelter millions of refugees who will spend 12-17 years living in tents.

2020 Emcee:

  • We are thrilled to announce the return of Rassul Zarinfar, Founder of Buffalo Bayou Brewing and Rice alumni, to lead us through the night.

2020 Judges Include:

  • Rakesh Agrawal, Founder and CEO of SnapStream (Alumni)
  • Stephanie Campbell, General Partner at the Artemis Fund and Managing Director of the Houston Angel Network (Alumni)
  • Abbey Donnell, Founder of Work & Mother (Alumni)
  • Brad Husick, Founder and CEO of IdeaSense LLC (Alumni)

A special thank you to our Mentors:

  • Ahmed Haque, SVP of Innovation, 2U, Inc. (Alumni)
  • Alex Kazim, CEO, FuelX (Alumni)
  • Dougal Cameron, Founder, Golden Section Technologies (Alumni)
  • Adam Blair, Chief Technology Officer, RADAR (Alumni)
  • Anna Jarman, Sr Program Manager, Walmart Technology (Alumni)
  • Michael Kane, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Caltius Structured Capital (Alumni)
  • Rick Gibb, Co-Founder, Bioverge (Alumni)
  • Bobak Azamian, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Alumni)
  • Scott Sershen, Independent Consultant, LamaMed Solutions (Alumni)
  • Brad Husick, CEO, IdeaSense LLC (Alumni)
  • Yan-David Erlich, General Partner, Coatue Management (Alumni)
  • Claire Shorall, Founder, TopKnot (Alumni)
  • Emily Keeton, COO, GoodFair
  • Todd Frazier, Director, system center for Performing Arts Medicine, Houston Methodist

A special thank you to our Pitch Coaches:

  • Christina Snyder, Founder, Christina Snyder Digital
  • Sanya Aliota, Founder, Marketize Consulting
  • O’Sullivan, Faculty, Rice University
  • Lydia Musher, Faculty, Rice University
  • Chris Lipp, Faculty, Rice University

A special thank you to our sponsors:

  • Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co
  • David Leebron and Y Ping Sun
  • OwlSpark, Rice University Startup Accelerator
  • Spacecraft Brands
  • Rachel and Bruce Deskin, Alumni
  • Saifee Signs

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.

Brought to You by:

Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Lilie)

Rice Business

Rice Alumni Entrepreneurs + Innovators Network