Last Thursday, over 300 investors, entrepreneurs, and community members assembled in Rice University’s Duncan Hall as OwlSpark, Rice’s new startup accelerator, graduated its first class of nine companies. Of OwlSpark’s nine companies, three were led by Rice undergraduates, three were led by graduate students, and three were led by alumni. Six were for-profit and three were social ventures.
OwlSpark’s “Pitch Day” began with remarks by OwlSpark co-founder and managing director Darren Clifford and Rice University president David Leebron. Mr. Clifford highlighted the successes of the three-month program, from its deep team of advisors, mentors, and speakers to the $1.1 million the program’s companies have raised to date. President Leebron spoke of the evolution of universities and the need for change to unlock the ability of students to have an impact on the world. He said that Rice’s partnership with OwlSpark was an opportunity to implement this vision.
Each of the nine companies gave seven-minute presentations in McMurtry Auditorium, and breakout sessions followed in several Duncan Hall rooms to give investors an opportunity to ask questions of the companies. By all accounts, OwlSpark’s Pitch Day was a success—an impressive and entertaining event, with memorable companies, well-delivered and beautifully designed presentations (courtesy of Aleberry Creative), and a strong turnout. The companies in OwlSpark’s Class of 2013 are described below.Checked Twice is an online gift registry for families. Coached Schooling brings together the best elements of eLearning, home schooling, and traditional schooling for a more effective and engaging 21st-century education. Concept Node leverages proprietary algorithms to optimize the formation of teams in the workplace.
Sickbay, the software platform from Medical Informatics, processes real-time, integrated medical device data to provide doctors with clinical decision support.
OwlEngine combines big data, information technology, and artificial intelligence to deliver data driven market predictions.ParkiT aggregates parking garage data to enable operators to optimize their lots and provide a better parking experience to their users.
Sweatalyzer is a wearable device the size of a band-aid capable of monitoring blood alcohol content through human sweat.
The Emergency Core serves as a shipping crate or a pallet in transit that, upon arrival at its destination, can be reassembled into a mobile flooring system for disaster relief zones.
Village Technologies is a humanitarian technology venture with a mission to open access to engineering and spark grassroots innovation in impoverished African communities.