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Rice University Engineering Students Pitch Projects to Local Venture Capitalists

HOUSTON, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-five Senior Design Teams competed for prizes Thursday night at Rice University's Brown School of Engineering Elevator Pitch Contest. The purpose of the contest was to get students to think about the commercial viability of their designs before building prototypes. Teams had 60 seconds to pitch their design project to an audience of local venture capitalists and business leaders. They were judged on their ability to sell their project in a 60 second pitch. Students had to describe the market need or problem solved, design functionality, market viability and revenue potential.

"It's one thing to have a great idea, it's quite another to convince a room of seasoned venture capitalists that your idea is worth a second thought and that's exactly what these students did," said Tom Kraft of the Houston Technology Center. "Over several weeks, we coached students on how to get their ideas off the drawing board and into the marketplace and it all begins with a solid pitch."

The competition was organized by Dr. Maria Oden, Director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK), and Professor in the Practice of Engineering Education in Bioengineering, along with Dr. Gary Woods, Professor in the Practice of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Marcia O'Malley, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.

The Houston Technology Center provided lectures and individual coaching to students throughout the semester in preparation for last night's event. Rice Alliance sponsored cash awards for the winning teams:

1st Place Winner - $1000 cash: Team Spatial Suspenders: Accelerating the fight against cancer into the third dimension

Project Description: Using nanotechnology to facilitate large scale three-dimensional cell cultures in order to grow more clinically relevant tumor samples for evaluating cancer treatments.

Team Members: Christopher Bertucci, Elizabeth Figueroa, Vani Rajendran, Joseph Rosenthal, David Sing

Senior Design Project sponsored by: n3D Biosciences

2nd Place Winner - $500 cash: Team Owl Eye: Combating a dangerous silence

Project Description: Developing a low cost, rugged, low-power vital signs monitor for use in developing world clinics.

Team Members: Iris Chu, Joanna Jan, Celestine Shih, Monika Sun, Cortlan Wickliff

Senior Design Project sponsored by: Beyond Traditional Borders

Team Owl Eye also received recognition by the Houston Technology Center for the most commercially viable project. They won year-long passes to HTC's Technology Champions meetings.

3rd Place Winner - $250 cash: Team IBD: Electrifying blood detection

Project: Developing a technology to non-invasively detect the potentially critical condition of internal bleeding during cardiac catheterization procedures in real time.

Team Members: Alex Arevalos, Marissa Brower, Andy Chang, Thomas Segall-Shapiro, Joel Khan

Senior Design Project sponsored by: Dr. Mehdi Razavi and the Texas Heart Institute

About the Houston Technology Center

Houston Technology Center (HTC), a business accelerator and the largest technology business incubator in Texas, accelerates the commercialization of emerging technology companies in the Greater Houston area. A 501(C)(3)non-profit organization, HTC assists Houston-based entrepreneurs within several key sectors: Energy, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Nanotechnology and NASA/Aerospace technologies, by providing in-depth business guidance, access to capital and service providers, and entrepreneurial education. For more information, visit

Connect with us:

    Media Contacts:
    Kelly Weber
    Houston Technology Center
    (832) 476-9235

SOURCE Houston Technology Center

SOURCE Houston Technology Center
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