Frequently Asked Questions

  • Applications for RBPC 2024 will open December 13, 2023.
    You can start the application and finish it at a later time; just make sure you click Save Draft before exiting.
    Once you click Submit on the application, no changes can be made.
    Applications are due Wednesday, January 31, 2024 by 11:59 PM.
    Set up a profile and apply here: https://rbpc.poetic.io/sign-in

  • The application questions are here. Once you set up an account and start the application, you can save your work and return to it later.
    You are are required to submit an executive summary. Most formats are acceptable, but if you need a guide, a template is here.

  • You are asked to attach an executive summary of your startup to your application. Tips on what include are on page 7 of the Eligibility and How to Apply document on the Eligibility page. If you need an template, look at this one (though most any format will suffice).

  • Startups must be student-driven, student-created and/or student-managed to compete at the Rice Business Plan Competition.

    Additionally, the startup must have at least two current student founders or management team members. This means student members will have some kind of equity in the startup.

    At least one of those students must be a current graduate degree-seeking student.

    If you make it to the RBPC, at least two of your team members (one of whom is a graduate student) must attend and complete.

  • Yes. All startups that participate in the Rice Business Plan Competition will be judged based on their potential investablity. To be eligible to compete, you must be seeking funding or capital (currently or in the next 12 months). 

  • As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, yes! The Rice Business Plan Competition is a global competition with startups competing from universities all over the world.  

  • The 2024 Rice Business Plan Competition will be held in person, at Rice University in Houston, Texas on April 4-6, 2024. Of course, with the world as it is, there may be a wrench thrown into those plans. But we will make every effort to hold the event in real life as we did in 2022 and 2023. Currently there are no parts of the competition that are held virtually/remotely/online.

  • The pitching and presenting startups that compete at the RBPC must contain at least two team members who will travel to Rice University to compete. Each startup can have up to four team members at the RBPC, but all must be current students, and at least one must be a current graduate-level student.

    • At least two student members must participate in every round of the RBPC, and one of those must be a graduate student. Up to four student members can participate. The exception is the Elevator Pitch Competition, where only one student (any student team member) can present.
    • The startup may divide speaking time in their pitch presentations between at least two students and up to four students. If only two students pitch, the minimum time that one student can participate is 40%. This means at least two students on the team must share pitching and Q&A duties.
  • There are a few funding milestones startups should not have exceeded to compete:

    Startups can't have raised more than $250,000 in equity capital prior to July 1, 2023 (unless the equity funding was awarded as part of an accelerator/incubator program)

    Startups can't have generated revenue of more than $100,000 in any 12-month period prior to July 1, 2023

    But startups may have raised ANY level of equity funding AFTER July 1, 2023 or generated at any level of revenue AFTER July 1, 2023 (i.e. within the current academic year).

    Startups CAN have raised an unlimited amount of non-equity funding (research and other grants; competition winnings; traditional loans; friends & family funding)