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Student Entrepreneurs Debut in Houston’s First “Bayou Showcase”

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is targeting the Greek system at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX, as a test case.

One Jump: This startup is developing an online database of educational enrichment opportunities, especially for underserved students. The idea is to feature a one-stop shop online for students to learn about programs, how to apply, and how to receive financial aid using a Netflix-style search. Founder Karthik Soora, a former Teach for America volunteer, says connecting underserved students like those from low-incomes to these programs often serves as crucial stepping-stone for personal enrichment. The site could also help universities connect to students with specific desired profiles, he said.

YouHootMe: The app aims to bring the serendipity of meeting people in the real world online through geographic social networking. Users can search within a specific ecosystem—whether that’s a university or a city—and have live video chats with others in that ecosystem.

HospiTable: The hospital table hasn’t been redesigned in more than 200 years, say founders at this Rice startup. HospiTable’s table has features like a lazy Susan, hand stabilizers, and adjustable heights in order to make it easier for patients to eat. The benefits go beyond patient comfort. Co-founder Ben Hoff says better eating habits mean fewer malnourished patients, fewer hospital days and lower readmission rates, which could lead to cost savings for hospitals.

Big Delta Systems: Why should batteries be rectangular or cylindrical in shape? These Rice entrepreneurs have developed a spray-on flexible battery that uses existing battery chemistry in order to allow design customization of items such as wearable devices. The startup uses a 3-D printing technique to create the battery. Big Delta Systems is licensing the technology from Rice and co-founder Adrian Yao says they expect to close on a seed round of funding soon.

Rebel Putter: Call it a smart putter. Armed with computer processing, a sensor, and a laser, Rebel Putter says its device can help golfers correct their putts in real-time without changing the feel and weight of the putter itself. All of the data is then synced to a player’s smartphone for review later. The prototype is compliant with Professional Golf Association standards, says co-founder Yize Zhao.

In introducing them, Tom Kraft, one of the startup’s mentors and a Rice entrepreneurship professor, quipped that while he thought he had done some smart things in college, “I was apparently not smart enough to figure out a way to play golf as they did for their student thesis.”


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