2 new VCs step up, RBPC names participants, and more top Houston innovation news from the week

Editor’s note:Let’s roundup the top Houston innovation news from the week. Trending Houston tech and startup articles on InnovationMap included the announcement of the participating teams in the Rice Business Plan Competition, two new venture groups launching, and more.

Annual student startup competition in Houston names teams for 2024

Rice Business Plan Competition names its participants for 2024. Photo courtesy of Rice

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship announced the 42 student-led teams worldwide that will compete in the highly competitive Rice Business Plan Competition this spring.

The annual competition, known as one of the world’s largest and richest intercollegiate student startup competitions, will take place April 4 to 6 in Houston. Teams in this year’s competition represent 35 universities from four countries, including two teams from Houston and four others from Texas.

Teams, made up of graduate students from a college or university anywhere in the world, will present their plans before 350 angel, venture capital, and corporate investors to compete for more than $1 million in prizes. Last year, teams were awarded $3.4 million in investment and in-kind prizes, the largest total awarded thus far in the decades-old competition after some investors doubled — or

Semifinalists named for 2024 Governor’s Business Plan Contest

Lotza is a drink mixer (and mocktail) with adaptogens to boost your mood and plant-based nutrients to support liver health and next-day recovery. Submitted images.

A group of 52 semi-finalists from across the state is moving forward in this year’s Governor’s Business Plan Contest. Out of those 52 semi-finalists, who were selected by an independent panel of 70 judges, 18 are companies representing southeastern Wisconsin.

Semi-finalists are broken into four categories: advanced manufacturing, business services, information technology and life sciences. Within those categories, plans range from industrial automation ideas to medical device and diagnosis innovation, and from food and beverage innovation to technologies to improve use of water and land.

Businesses representing southeastern Wisconsin include:

“Trends reflected in the top 52 entries match up well with Wisconsin’s traditional and emerging strengths,” said Gary Frings, chairman of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Good ideas come from all high-growth sectors of the economy and from all corners of the state.”

The 52 entries competing in phase two of the contest will write 1,000-word executive summaries. Each summary describes the core product or service, defines the customer base, estimates the size of the market, identifies competition, lists members of the management team, and