“Running is not a solo sport. Neither is starting a business.”
So says Julian Se, co-founder of Müvve, a mobile platform for connecting runners with like-minded partners. “Our app offers 16 dimensions of compatibility. After three weeks we already have more than 3,000 followers,” said Se during his pitch at the third-nnnual Bayou Startup Showcase.
Fifteen companies from Rice University’s startup accelerator, OwlSpark, and the University of Houston’s RED Labs accelerator pitched their wares to friends, families and potential investors and partners on Aug. 10 at the Texas Medical Center Accelerator.
“The summer has been intense, and now you’ll see how it all pays off. The founders of these startup companies are about to impress you,” said Kerri Smith, managing director of OwlSpark and associate managing director for the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.
The OwlSpark startups for 2016 presenting during the Bayou Startup Showcase were:
Atmo: Sebastian Pilarski, junior at McGill University; Jeff Wang, undeclared Rice engineering sophomore. An app that enables users to find the perfect bar.
BlueCura: Beko Jang ’16, Rice bioengineering; Jonathan Jao, Rice computer science (CS) junior; Colton Smith ’16, Rice M.B.A. A secure cloud-based research management platform.
Compa: Keito Kawabata, project manager at University of Southern California; Brian Turner, freelance designer in San Francisco. Tools for university researchers to perform web-based recruiting of study participants.
Induo: Shriya Bhatnagar, teaching assistant at PROMES (Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies) at the University of Houston; Will Koh, Rice sophomore in CS; Ned Lash, Jen Sun, Jeff Ye, all second-year Rice graduate students, Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. Devises brief online, job-specific courses for career and professional development.
LeaseALLY: Bijan Breland, sophomore, University of Texas at Austin; Lisa Huang ’16, Rice CS; Camille Nichols ’16, Rice M.B.A. Provides market information and advisory services to landowners offered oil and gas leases.
Müvve: Avinash Ravishankar, ’12, Rice mechanical engineering; Julian Se, bachelor of business administration, University of Houston. A platform that enables runners to find partners based on ability and personality criteria.
Topl: Chris Georgen ’16, Rice B.S. in chemical physics, B.A. in mathematics and philosophy; Zihe Huang, ’15, Rice electrical and computer engineering; Matthew Kindy ’16, Rice computational and applied mathematics. A mobile payment platform that offers loyalty rewards for shoppers and charges merchants half the price of credit-card companies.
WAVIoT: Artem Nadikta, Fluid Systems Inc.; Anastasia Novinskaya, Rice CS senior; Marat Zaripov ’16, Rice M.B.A. Connects sensor devices using a low-power, wide-area network and ensures broader data collection.
OwlSpark is the startup accelerator founded in 2013 year by two Rice engineering undergraduates, a humanities undergraduate and an MBA candidate. For 12 weeks it provides teams with co-working space, mentorship and networking opportunities required to launch their companies.
Of the 33 Rice startups that took part in the first three classes of OwlSpark, 14 remain active and 12 are funded or generating revenue, as in the case of CheckedTwice, an online gift registry for family holidays and birthdays that launched in 2013.