Summer Venture Studio

Summer Venture Studio is the capstone entrepreneurial experience for students at Rice University

We believe we can unlock students’ limitless potential to solve meaningful problems with world-changing solutions under the right conditions.

Through the unique combination of doing, learning, and learning by doing, students have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on their ventures while cross-pollinating with other student founders working on entirely different problems and solutions, giving them the opportunity to network, challenge conventional thinking, invite and embrace diverse ideas.

Students accepted into the program will have the opportunity to receive equity-free funding and support from mentors, VCs, and other experts that will support their personal and venture growth. By working on their venture full-time for the summer, SVS venture teams will have the opportunity to escape velocity and accelerate from campus to the community.

Lilie has proven to be the place that has created the right conditions to bring the best out of students, and they are often surprised by what they accomplish in such short periods.

Who is it for?

The Summer Venture Studio (SVS) is open to founders from all majors, degree programs, and years of graduation, as well as students graduating the May before the program begins. We are industry and technology agnostic, as well as business structure – so whether you’re a hard tech startup looking to raise venture capital, a bootstrapped software company, or a non-profit social impact venture, the Lilie SVS has what you need to level up your founder IQ and go from prototype to production.

*If your program requires you to have a summer internship for financial aid purposes, Lilie will work with you to provide financial aid for you to meet your income requirements.

What is the program like?

The program’s goal is to give our founders an unfair advantage in the market by focusing on what matters versus the things that matter the least. Examples of things that matter: Talking to your customers and truly understanding their needs. Things that matter the least: Trying to raise venture capital with no real problem defined and early signs of customers wanting to purchase the product or service. We can’t tell you what the problem you are solving is and what solution to build because we are not your ideal customer, but we can guide you through what mistakes not to make.

From May to August, student teams have dedicated co-working space in the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship on the Rice campus. This is their opportunity to work full-time on their ventures for the entire summer and make tangible progress.

SVS will be held as an in-person program this year, so teams will be required to spend their summer in Houston (but it’s ok – we have good air conditioning and cold drinks!)

Founders will work on defining their target market and diving deep into the heads of their potential customers and users. Next, our founders will lay the groundwork for building products that customers want by validating their assumptions around what problem they are best suited to solve, for whom, and how that problem needs to be solved. Finally, we round out the Market and Product focus weeks with time dedicated to developing a well-rounded team that can thrive in the high-velocity environment of a high-growth startup.

Sample Activities

  • In-person founder retreats
  • Accountability sessions
  • Weekly meetups and socials
  • Founder 1:1s
  • Daily office hours
  • Workshops
  • Pitch practices
  • Mentorship sessions
  • Founder round tables


Requirements to Apply

  • Program takes place from Mid May to Early August
  • One application per team, completed by the lead team member.
  • The lead team member must be a current Rice student.
  • A maximum of 5 members per team. You may apply as a solo founder.
  • Additional team members do not need to be Rice-affiliated.

Applications for 2023 are now closed.

Why this program is for you:

For Founders, By Founders.

Our program team are former founders themselves and have built world-class accelerator programs at institutions like MIT and Fortune 100 companies. So, when we say that this program is engineered from the ground up for founders, by founders, we mean it. It isn’t just the program team that matters, though – SVS builds a strong community through lateral, peer-to-peer learning and mutual respect of your other cohort founders. So, this doesn’t just give you a founder support group for the summer – but friendships and relationships for the rest of your life.

1:1 Mentorship

Throughout the SVS, we will support our founders’ progress through 1 on 1 deep dive feedback sessions that focus on actionable outcomes and facilitate meetings with external mentors who match the needs of your ventures.

Personalized Board of Directors

Every month, SVS teams will present their progress to a personalized ‘Board of Directors for their venture over the summer, comprised of heavy hitters from industry, venture capital, and the broader startup ecosystem to get unbiased feedback and advice and gain the experience of managing a Board before doing so in the real world.

Tactical Workshops 

SVS teams will learn the art of starting up from industry-leading experts who have executed product development, sales, and growth strategies going from zero to one and from one hundred, so you can learn from those who have been there before to level up your startup skill set. We carefully balance these workshops with unstructured Get Stuff Done time to move the needle on your ventures, ensuring you don’t get suffocated in lectures that prevent you from catalyzing your progress.