Russ: This is the Businessmakers Show heard on the radio and seen online at thebusinessmakers.com. It's guest time on the show and I'm very pleased to have with me once again Brad Burke, the managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. Brad, welcome back to the Businessmakers Show.
Brad: Russ, it's great to be here.
Russ: Okay. Well it's been awhile and let's say that somebody's sort of not been paying attention for the last few years and doesn't know about the Rice Alliance. Tell us about it.
Brad: Well, the Rice Alliance has been around about ten years and with the same mission throughout that whole period. Our mission is to help support the launch of technology companies and help support those entrepreneurs and give them those things they need in order to be successful in starting and launching their companies.
Russ: Well and I know you do that very well starting with probably your premier event, the Rice Business Plan Contest. We're right in the middle right now between this earlier one this year and next year, but this year it took my breath away. Very, very successful and has grown significantly over the years, right?
Brad: Well it has. We started the competition in 2001 with 9 teams competing for $10,000.00. This year we have 42 teams compete for over 1.5 million and just to become one of the 42 teams, we had over 1,600 applications this year. So it was really tough to get in and be invited to compete.
Russ: Very, very impressive. In fact, I continue to talk about the winner of the grand prize, Nu-Mat Technologies. Man, they were impressive, but that's not all you do. There are several other formats where you present and help technology companies grow as well, correct?
Brad: Well that's right. So we also do a number of other large programs that we call the technology venture forums. What they really are are venture capital events that give entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their companies in front of investors and we do four of those a year in information technology, in internet, second in life science bio-tech, third in nano technology and upcoming is our energy and clean technology venture forum.
Russ: The energy clean tech forum is my second most favorite. It's quite impressive what goes on out there and you really have some premier venture capitalists that also attend and often invest in these companies, correct?
Brad: Well, we do. In fact, in total if we look over the last 10 years, we've had over 1,000 companies present at these events and these companies have raised over $2.5 billion in funding.
Russ: My goodness. Well, that is impressive. They come from all over the country?
Brad: They come from all over. So we have angel investors who come to the event. We have venture capital investors from both coasts and from all over the U.S. as well as corporate venture capital firms. More and more oil companies are forming venture capital groups to invest in these companies and they're at the event as well.
Russ: Cool. The participants are from all over as well?
Brad: They are. So this year probably more than any other we have more companies who will be presenting that are from outside of Texas. In fact, outside of the U.S. from as far away as Spain this year.
Russ: Wow. Energy's so important. Let's say we have somebody tuned in right now listening and watching and they're interested. It's open for the public, right?
Brad: It is. So anyone can attend. It's open to the public. It's the one-day event on September 13th. Folks who want to attend can just simply register at our website at Alliance.Rice.edu.
Russ: Okay. Well I can tell you we're gonna be there for sure and enjoy it. Brad, thank you so much for coming in and sharing an update with us on the Rice Alliance.
Brad: Russ, it's great to be here.
Russ: You bet. That's Brad Burke, the managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. This is the Businessmakers Show heard on the radio and seen online at thebusinessmakers.com.