6th Rice Owl Tank Awards $30K in Prize Money

The Rice Launch Challenge (formerly JGSEO Owl Tank) is Rice's prestigious entrepreneurship competition where startups affilated with Rice undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate students and alumni compete for prize money. The 6th Owl Tank was hosted at the Jones Graduate School on last Wednesday, March 29th and awarded a whopping 30K in prize money to Rice startups.

The Winners were as follows. Scroll below to see event pictures.



Norman Dresden Leebron Prize in Entrepreneurship, Best Student Team ($10,000)
Trace Matters

At Trace Matters, we are making the world’s first lab-grade miniature chemical analyzer. Unlike existent lab-grade analyzers available in laboratories, our device is portable, affordable, and can operate real-time. Being similar in size to a suitcase, refineries and chemical markets will use it for process optimization out in the field.

Presented by:
Al Galindo, 2nd Year MBA Student, Rice University

Samantha Lewis, 2nd Year MBA Student, Rice University


Best Undergradute Student Team ($6,000)
HexIO is creating an educational toy to teach kids about boolean logic gates, one of the smallest units in computer processing. We are driven both by our passion for equitable STEM education, as well as a large market of parents who are craving computer and electronic educational toys for their children’s enrichment.

Presented by:
Andrew Maust, Junior, Political Science, Rice University


Best Alumni Team ($6,000) & Audience Favorite ($2,000)
Alleviant Medical
Alleviant Medical is a Houston-based company developing next-generation devices to treat heart failure. We are committed to providing symptomatic relief and improved quality of life for over 6 million patients suffering from this disease.

Presented by:
Alex Arevalos, BS and PhD in Bioengineering, alumni of Rice University
Jacob Kriegel, BA in American History and Biology, and MD, Columbia College


4th Place ($3,500)
Over 50% of the five million patients who seek care for headaches in the emergency room are prescribed opioids. OcciGuide empowers physicians to accurately administer a targeted procedure that blocks headache pain from the source and significantly reduces the need for addictive abortive medications.

Presented by:
Jillian Fink, MBA Student, Rice University
Katherine Butler, MBA Student, Rice University


5th Place ($2,500)
Pheramor is pioneering the next generation of online dating. We aim to enhance dating romance through genetics and technology.

Presented by:
Bin Huang, PhD candidate at Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, Rice University
Brittany Barreto, Baylor Graduate Student


Runners Up

designRice is a student-run product design firm that brings together motivated students to create and sell beautiful, thoughtful objects. As the first of its kind, we seek to revolutionize how industrial design is integrated on college.

Presented by:
Madeleine Pelzel, Junior, Architecture, Rice University
Harrison Lin, Junior, Mechanical Engineering, Rice University

Cobuild is the platform for custom homebuilding using social networks and live big data. Our mission is to modernize homeownership so more people can live, work, and play in homes and communities they love.

Presented by:
Paul de Meo, MBA Student, Rice University
Alex Pichon,  MBA Student, Rice University

CelloBio produces sugar substitutes which help process-chemists in pharmaceutical companies bring generic diabetes drugs to market faster in order to capture 2.5 years of revenue in 6 months.

Presented by:
Li Chen, PhD from Chemical Engineering Department, Rice University
James Erick Hendricks, MBA Student, Rice University

Factor-Xa inhibitors, a class of anticoagulants, are becoming the first choice for preventing clot formation in the nearly 9 million patients at risk for thrombotic events including stroke.  Currently, monitoring factor Xa activity requires a lab test, which is both expensive and takes hours to deliver a result, with BiosensRx, we are developing an affordable device that provides the same results in under 60 seconds.

Presented by:
Matt Peña, Rice Postdoctoral Researcher in Bioscience
Andres Benitez, Rice Postdoctoral Researcher in Bioscience


Saifee Signs & Graphics has been a OWL TANK sponsor for a few years now and was honored to sponsor the graphics for yet another great event.

Pictures by Slyworks Photographery.