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Texas State team advances to Rice Business Plan Competition

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
March 12, 2014

A multi-disciplinary team of graduate students from Texas State University has been invited to participate in the 14th Annual Rice University Business Plan Competition in Houston April 11-12.

The competition will take place on the Rice campus. The Rice University Business Plan Competition is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition. It is hosted and organized by the nationally recognized entrepreneurship initiative Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business--the fourth-ranked Best U.S. Graduate Entrepreneurship program per the Princeton Review.

Forty-two teams from around the world will compete for more than $1 million in cash and prizes in front of over 250 judges, primarily venture capitalists and other investors. More than 800 teams applied to compete in 2013 and the competition was supported by more than 130 sponsors. More than 138 past competitors have successfully launched their business after competing at Rice, are still in business today, and have raised more than $600 million in funding.

The Texas State team includes Haoran Chen, the first Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization (MSEC) Program Ph.D. graduate and inventor of the technology that the company is based upon; Marcus Goss, MSEC student; Ash Kotwal, MSEC Student; Lisa Taylor, MBA student; and Cesar Rivera, MFA student.

A company, SioTex, has been formed to push forward the production and distribution of Eco-Sil, an environmentally friendly alternative to fumed silica. Eco-Sil is manufactured from rice hulls and is a renewable resource. The process has already won an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Target markets include paint, fiberglass-reinforced plastic and tires. These markets currently account for $1.5 billion in sales annually.

For more information, contact Gary Beall at (512) 245-8796 or via email at gb11@txstate.edu.