TiE Angels Texas Awards Winner of 2022 Rice Business Plan Competition

HOUSTON: This week TiE Angels Texas completed its investment award to LIDROTEC, winner of the 2022 Rice Business Plan Competition.  The investment was included in LIDROTEC’s Series A financing, led by GOOSE Capital.  The LIDROTEC award is the culmination of a decade-long participation by TiE in the Rice Business Plan Competition supporting student teams from Europe and Asia by mentoring them and by financial assistance to help them travel to compete at Rice.  2022 was a special year for TiE with both TiE mentored teams reaching the final, and the first time a TiE-mentored team won the grand prize at the Rice Business Plan Competition.  

The TiE effect and involvement with Rice Business Plan Competition

Team Invitris and Team LIDROTEC at the TiE Houston evening social before the Rice Business Plan Competition with TiE Houston President Ram Shenoy.

TiE’s participation in the Rice Business Plan Competition was started by TiE Charter Member and former Chair of TiE Global, serial entrepreneur Ashok Rao of GOOSE Capital, along with Brad Burke, Managing Director of the Rice Alliance.   Over a period of 10 years, Ashok led the search for student teams in Europe and Asia.  Once selected, he led mentoring bootcamps in Houston.  When Covid restricted travel, the bootcamps moved to being virtual, starting in January, occurring in weekly 3-hour sessions right until April.

Lidrotec’s win in this year’s Rice Business Plan Competition was the culmination of a 12-year journey and a moment of real pride for me.” said Ashok.  “When Brad and I created this program, we had no idea as to the impact it could have. We have been thrilled to be part of this incredible competition, while delivering high quality teams to Rice from Universities in Europe and Asia” he continued. “Prior to this year, 4 of our teams had made it the finals, while obtaining over $10 million in investment from Goose Capital. And this year my dream has been realized. Finally, a TiE-mentored team has won this prestigious competition.”

TiE Charter Members present the TiE Angels Texas Investment Prize to Team LIDROTEC.

Brad Burke, Managing Director of the Rice Alliance, commented, “More than 250 judges, including investors, corporate leaders and technologists, saw great potential in this year’s competitors. We were thrilled to see the hard work of the TiE teams rewarded by making it to the final round! As the world’s largest and richest competition, we appreciate the collaboration with TiE in supporting student entrepreneurs in Asia and Europe.”

A student team from Aachen (Germany), LIDROTEC, aims to revolutionize semiconductor wafer cutting with their technology using lasers and liquids.  Founded by graduate students from RWTH Aachen University, LIDROTEC impressed judges at the Rice Business Plan Competition with their research and commercialization prospects, winning over $550,000 in prizes, including the $350,000 grand prize from GOOSE Capital, and $100,000 from TiE Angels TX.

Invitris and LIDROTEC teams at Rice with Mentors Ashok Rao and Juan Arjona of TiE Houston and Marius Rosenberg from Germany

Speaking of their experience, Alexander Igelmann (CEO, LIDROTEC) and Alexander Kanitz (Chief Innovation Officer, LIDROTEC) said, “The training with the TiE team was incredible. Not only did we improve our pitch, we also learned a great deal and had a lot fun on our way. The TiE team really went beyond and above to help us, and supported us whenever we needed it. They have become our friends and we consider them part of the LIDROTEC family now. Doing the training together with another team, Invitris, was also invaluable. Not only could we learn from their pitch, but we also really bonded as a group.”


Extending the RBPC role model to TiE University Global and beyond

Over the last 5 years, the global TiE organization has developed multiple platforms to help different types of entrepreneurs, run by TiE chapters across the 14 countries where TiE has a presence.   TYE (The Young Entrepreneurs) helps student entrepreneurs in high schools.  TiE University helps student entrepreneurs in universities and colleges worldwide, competing in local chapters and culminating in a global pitch competition.  TiE Women uses the same model to attract women entrepreneurs and startups which are majority-owned by women.  And TiE Access applies the very same model to underserved minority communities.

TiE University is a program of TiE Global that spans chapters worldwide with the mission to empower college students to become entrepreneurs.  The program’s focus is to continuously evolve the local and global entrepreneurship ecosystem where university students thrive.  A critical success factor is unlimited mentoring offered to students to nurture them from ideation to investment.   Dr. Paul Lopez, global co-chair of TiE University, who participated in RBPC as a judge said: “The 42 teams at RBPC were the best of the best from over 400 teams that applied this year.  The edge that the students had who took advantage of the offer of unlimited mentoring by TiE charter members became apparent which resulted in these teams being successful in winning top prizes and sizeable investments into their venture.  And the mentoring doesn’t stop with the competition — TiE University continues to be available to these and all college students as they launch or scale their startup In the marketplace.

Today TiE is building on the historical foundation started with participating with the RBPC, reaching out to other student entrepreneurs and working with other local academic institutions such as Houston Community College and the University of Houston to participate in the TiE University program, helping student entrepreneurs compete for the TiE University Global award.