Competitor Resources

We look forward to having you at the 20224 Rice Business Plan Competition! Before accepting the invitation, please make sure to check out the Competition Rules and Format document to ensure you're able to compete. All set and ready to go? Please check out the rest of our resources and information to ensure you're setup for a successful competition. 

This page will be updated regularly with more materials as we get closer to the 2024 competition. 

Details for 2024 RBPC Competitors

Below is information for 2024 RBPC competitors. Please check back soon for news and updates on having the best experience possible!

  • Date Time Event Format
    Thursday, April 4

    Noon CDT
    (Startups Only) 

    Registration and Lunch for Startups Welcome to the RBPC! Arrive by Noon for lunch and get settled for the panel presentation and practice pitch.
      1:00 - 1:30 PM CDT
    (Startups and Speakers Only) 
    Panel - Making the Most of the RBPC Hear from RBPC alumni and select  judges on using the competition to your advantage!
      1:30 - 1:50 PM CDT
    (Startups Only) 
    Orientation with RBPC Director What to expect at the RBPC, review the materials in the competitor packet, and have your last-minute questions  answered.
      2:00 - 5:30 PM CDT
    (Startups and Judges Only) 
    Practice Pitch Sessions Run through your pitch and get feedback from a select group of judges.
      6:00 - 7:30 PM CDT
    (Open to startups, judges and registered guests + livestreamed)
    Elevator Pitch Competition Let the games begin! All startups will participate in the Elevator Pitch Competition in front of 150+ judges. Bring your best 60-second pitch and prepare to wow the audience!
      7:30 - 9:00 PM CDT
    (Open to startups, judges and registered guests)
    Company Showcase and Reception Showcase your startup and meet the judges! Be prepared to answer questions, talk about your startup, and make contacts! A light dinner will be served.
    Friday, April 5 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM CDT
    (Startups and Judges Only) 

    Round 1 + Feedback Sessions

    All startups compete in Round 1, in 7 sector-specific flights of 6 startups each. Pitch for 15 minutes followed by 10 minutes of Q&A with judges. The afternoon is reserved for feedback sessions with the judges.
      4:30 - 6:30 PM CDT
    (Startups and Judges Only) 
    Semi-Finalist announcement and Reception The two top-scoring startups from each flight (14 startups), plus the next top-scoring startup overall (1) will advance to the semi-finals.
    Saturday, April 6 8:00 - 10:50 AM CDT
    (Startups and Judges Only) 
    Round 2: Semi-Finals + Wildcard Semi-Finals: 15 startups pitch in 3 flights; the 2 top-scoring startups from each flight advance to the Finals. In the Wildcard Round, held simultaneously with the semis, the top-scoring startup over all 27 teams advances to the Finals. All pitches are 15 minutes followed by 10 minutes of Q&A with judges.
      10:50 - 11:50 AM
    (Startups and Judges Only) 
      11:45 AM CDT Finalists announcement Find out which 7 startups advance!
      12:00 - 4:00 PM CDT
    (Open to startups, judges and registered guests + livestreamed) 
    Final Round 7 startups compete! Pitch for 15 minutes followed by 5 minutes of Q&A with judges. Expect about 200+ judges! And prepare to move fast!
      6:00 - 7:00 PM CDT
    (Startups, Judges and Invited Guests) 
    Awards Ceremony: Company Showcase Reception Showcase your startup to the attendees who will vote on their favorite! (at the Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston)
      7:00 - 9:30 PM CDT
    (Startups, Judges and Invited Guests) 
    Awards Ceremony: Dinner and Prizes We will announce the winners and celebrate all startups at the Awards Ceremony. Expect a rollicking good time! (at the Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston)
  • The detailed 3-day schedule is HERE. It tells you exactly when everything is happening! It also has your Thursday afternoon and Friday pitch schedule. The 3-day schedule will also be available when startups check-in at the event on Thursday.

  • The pitch order for the Thursday evening Elevator Pitch Competition is HERE. Be sure to read all about the EPC, and how it will go, in the What to Expect doc, pages 2-3.

    The short of it is: All teams should come to the RBPC with an Elevator Pitch. Pitches are maximum 60 seconds. One member of your startup will present the elevator pitch on Thursday, April 4 in the evening at the Elevator Pitch Competition. Please expect to deliver the pitch from behind a podium with a stationary mic, spoken only, no large props, no power point presentation or slides.

    • Your team (between 2 and 4 team members, all students, at least one grad student)
    • Your Full Pitch (15 minutes, power point presentation and verbal presentation)
    • Your Elevator Pitch (maximum of 60 seconds, spoken only, no power point presentation)
    • Your Showcase materials (each team will have a 6-ft table to use for displaying their startup in our two showcase events on Thursday night and Saturday night, bring anything you need to display your technology, such as easel, props, brochures, small banner, prototype/model, etc.)
    • Memory stick/flash drive/online drive with your full pitch presentation - - we recommend you bring your presentation on a device OTHER than your laptop.
    • A back-up memory stick/ flash drive/online drive with your full pitch presentation - bring your presentation on a back-up method
    • Batteries for all your devices
    • Chargers for all your devices
    • Power cords for all your devices
    • Any networking materials (business cards, company brochures, social media addresses

    MAC USERS - if you insist on using your laptop to give your presentation, you must bring your own HDMI to USB-C adapter (or any adapter, for that matter). We cannot provide them for you.

  • Here is the plan for your Thursday arrival to the RBPC!

    From 11:00 AM onward, come to McNair Hall in the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. McNair Hall is #57 on this map (in the middle)

    Check in at the Startup table and get your packet of info (with schedules, break-out room number, and team nametags)

    Get lunch! You can eat in the large dining room or outside.

    Meet in the Shell Auditorium at 1:00 pm for a Panel Discussion "Making the Most of the RBPC" and Orientation with the RBPC Director.


    The Practice Pitch Sessions begin at 2:00 PM. Head to the classroom to run through your pitch in front of a small group of judges to get feeback and advice on how to present.

    If you are not pitching you will either have a group photo taken (check the schedule in your packet for your time slot), or you can head to your breakout room to rest and prepare.

    At 4:00 PM, teams can start setting up their showcase tables in the RMC (Student Center) (the building across the road from McNair Hall/Jones School, #21 on the map). Tables are arranged in alphabetical order with your startup's name on it.


    The Elevator Pitch Competition beings at 6:00 PM! Head to the Shell Auditorium. Each team can have one member do the 60-second elevator pitch. Your "pitcher" should sit in the pit (very front) of the auditorium.

    After the Elevator Pitch Competition, head to the RMC (Student Center) for the Company Showcase and Dinner Reception! Meet judges and tell them about your startup. And get some dinner!

    The Company Showcase ends at 9:00 PM. Head back to the hotel (or where you are staying) for a good night's rest. We will reconvene at 8:00 AM for breakfast on Friday. Round 1 pitches begin at 9:00 AM sharp. Please do not be late.

  • Check out the What to Expect at the RBPC: Schedule and Judging & Scoring Criteria guide to see how the event will run, guidelines for each part of the competition, how startups are scored, and what questions to expect from the judges! Pages 8-11 of the guide offer the most insight on how to prepare for the RBPC.

    Want to see what winning pitches look like? All 7 finalist pitches from the past few competitions are on the website! Check last year's competition (RBPC 2023) page to see what it's like to pitch in-person.

  • The competition rules and format document HERE outlines the details for competing at the RBPC. It is a required reading that will outline the following key points:

    • Competitors: The pitching and presenting startup that competes at the RBPC must contain at least two team members and a maximum of four team members; all must be current students, and at least one must be a current graduate-level student.
    • Attendance: Your startup team is required to attend the event April 4-6, 2024. At least two team members must be present and accessible in every oral presentation, session and round; and that those two members must be current students, and one of them must be a graduate degree-seeking student. 
    • Presenters: For each pitch (excluding the Elevator Pitch), startups need a minimum of one student pitch (i.e. do the talking), but up to four students can pitch. At least one of the presenters must be the graduate-level student in your startup.
    • Documents: You must submit required documents to compete in the application portal by March 18, 2024.
  • We hosted a Welcome and Orientation webinar for competing startups on February 29. If you are not able to attend, please watch the video HERE and review the slides HERE. Please also send this to any team members who were not able to join!

  • Below are questions and answers about competing at the RBPC!

    Q - Is the business plan scored or judged at the RBPC? Why do I submit one?
    A - No, the business plan is not factor into the scoring or judging at the RBPC. It's used for mentoring--startups will get feedback on their BP before the competition which may help guide them as to how to present their startup.
    You submit one so that judges and prize sponsors can do due diligence on your startup. Judges will have access to your BP during the competition. More info on what to include in your BP is on page 3-4 of the Competition Rules and Format doc.

    Q - Do I submit a pitch deck AND a business plan?
    A - No, just attach a business plan to the application. The BP can be in any format (Word doc, slides, etc.) A BP is a document that does a "deep dive" into your startup (whereas a pitch deck does not necessary have all the pertinent info about your venture.) Don't submit your presentation deck (what you will use in your pitches at the RBPC), as it may not be detailed enough.

    Q - How long is our pitch at the RBPC?
    A - All investor pitches at the RBPC are 15 minutes long. Your Elevator Pitch is 60 seconds long! Each startup will give at least two full-length investor pitches at the RBPC, and give their Elevator Pitch once.

    Q - When do we need to arrive on Thursday, April 4?
    A - Arrive on Rice University campus around noon for lunch, and by 1:00 PM for the panel presentations. Be sure arrive in time for the Practice Pitch sessions beginning at 2:00 PM. Definitely arrive in time for the Elevator Pitch Competition!

    Q – How can I prepare for the RBPC?
    A – The long-read of how to prepare and what to expect is in this What to Expect document.

    Q – How many times will I pitch at the RBPC?
    A – All startup teams will do 1 elevator pitch (60 seconds) and at least 2 full-length investor pitches (15 minutes).

    Q - Who will judge at the RBPC?
    A - There will be over 250 judges throughout the 3 days of competition. As of now, well over half are investors in come capacity. I will update startups closer to the event with a list of registered judges.

    Q - What can I win at the RBPC?
    A – While each startup team will win at least $950 cash for completing the competition, there a quite a few other prizes you can win. Check the prize list and see what’s out there and what you are eligible for. You may want to tailor part of your pitch to show you are eligible for certain prizes.   

    Q – What do I need to bring to the RBPC?
    A – The quick list of what to bring: yourself, your competing team members, verbal investor pitch (15 minutes), verbal elevator pitch (60 seconds), pitch deck/presentation deck, backup of presentation deck, items for your company showcase table

    Q - What a/v and tech is available for the pitches?
    A - All Round 1 and the Semi-Final Round/Wildcard Round will take place in the Jones School classrooms. The Elevator Pitch Competition and Final Round will take place in the Shell Auditorium. Please see this page for info on tech and a/v that will be available.

    Q – When is my pitch at the RBPC?
    A – Check the schedule for the Practice Pitches and Round 1 pitches! It will be posted on the website.

    Q – What should I wear at the RBPC?
    A – There is no dress code at the RBPC; you are not expected to wear any special clothing. But you are expected to look the part of a startup pitching for investment. Which you are! Generally you want your technology, product and company to speak the loudest, to be the center of attention (not your clothes).
    Below are some thoughts. They are not endorsed or promoted by the RBPC, but rather a checklist to think about. If in doubt, talk to your academic advisor, mentor or entrepreneurship center director:

    • Your outfit and image should reflect the environment you’re trying to achieve at your startup. You are welcome to wear a team shirt with your your company logo or company colors.
    • You can always go with clothes that are basic, classic and comfortable.
    • Your outfit is not your company and will not sell it. But the attention you pay to details shows how much you care.
    • Your choice of clothing helps control your message and the impression you want to give.

    Q - Do I need a company valuation?
    A - Short answer: No. Startups are not expected to provide a company valuation during their pitches at the RBPC.
    Startups are not required to reveal the exact desired terms of the deal (i.e., their proposed company valuation and percentage of company being offered to investors). Some investors prefer to have this information upfront, while some investors feel that it is not as important until later. We recommend that teams be prepared to address questions about their terms and valuation, but it is up to the team to decide how they want to answer these questions. In the past, some teams have stated the proposed valuation of their startup, while other teams have said the valuation is something they would negotiate with an investor later and/or said they would discussion privately later.
    (Long answer: see page of the What to Expect document, pages 9-13 under the section Judging & Scoring at the Competition.)

    Q - Do all attending team members pitch? Can just one of us do the talking?
    A - In your full-length pitches (15 minutes), at least two student members of the startup (and up to four students) will verbally participate in every round of presenting the startup’s investment pitches on Friday and Saturday, April 5-6, and one of those students needs to be a graduate student. You can divide pitching duties however you want; usually it's at least a 80%/20% split between 2 people.The intention is that at least two startup members share speaking responsibilities in the presentation section. The Q&A does not count toward the presentation time.
    The exception is the Elevator Pitch Competition on Thursday, April 4, where only one member of the startup will give the 60-second presentation

    Q - Can I submit a pitch deck instead of a business plan in the application?
    A - For the business plan submission, you can submit a pitch deck for feedback, but it should be a full-stack pitch deck, something a judge (or investor) can do early due diligence on. If the slide deck is something worth reading (meaning, not just graphics and a few words on each slide) that is ideal! Really, you should submit something that is concrete enough to get feedback on. There is no advantage or disadvantage to submitting either format.



  • Travel

    Houston is served by two airports--Intercontinenal Airport (IAH) and Hobby Airport. IAH is about 45 minutes from the Rice University campus; Hobby is about 20 minutes. Please use a ride share, taxi, or airport shuttle from the airport to Rice University or the Intercontinental Houston - Medical Center hotel. There is no reliable and quick public transportation. 


    All startups are encouraged to book their hotel stay at our conference hotel--the Intercontinental Houston - Medical Center. We have a conference rate there of $179+tax per night.

    You can book your room HERE or contact the Reservations Department at 713-422-2779 or toll free at 888-465 4329 and identify yourself as guests of the Rice Business Plan Competition 2024 in order to receive your special group rate.

    The conference rate is valid until March 15, so be sure to book by then!

    The conference hotel is less than 1 mile from Rice University. A shuttle from the hotel to Rice University campus will be available each day of the RBPC to get you to and from the event.

  • A shuttle will run daily from the Intercontinental Houston - Medical Center Hotel to the RBPC at McNair Hall (#57 on map) on Rice University campus. The shuttle will pick up and drop off on the The schedule is HERE.

    If you want to use a ride share (at your own expense), please use "McNair Hall, Rice University" as your pick-up and drop-off location.

Person Painting

The Rice Business Plan Competition is a unique and potentially life-changing event, rich in opportunities for learning, discovery, friendship and both personal and professional growth. Let us work together to make the RBPC the most impactful, positive and amazing experience for all participants. Read more about our values and code of conduct. 

Optional Executive Summary and Template

Using this template is not required for the application, but it does give you an idea of what information to include in your executive summary. Application screeners will pay most attention to the executive summary part of your application.