“It’s official, I’m a student again,” Alex thought to himself as he walked into the classroom. He was starting the next chapter of his life as a Rice MBA student. He had enjoyed working as an engineer, but he really wanted to understand things from the business perspective. And while it had been years since college, he was excited to dive back into school. But it already felt different. Everything was now digital, and all students carried around a laptop or tablet everywhere they went. Everyone was always on the go: students worked in conference rooms, groups met in coffee shops, and classmates submitted their assignments from wherever they happened to be. As Alex became one of them, he realized that his 13-inch ultrabook didn’t give him enough screen space for all of his research, Excel tasks, and large editing jobs. He needed another screen. He needed to invent SPUD.
“Interesting,” George thought to himself, as he listened to Alex pitch his idea. He knew Alex was a business student, but in Alex’s defense, he did have an engineering background. And the idea wasn’t half-bad. In fact, it seemed surprisingly well thought-out. George had come to Rice University as a mechanical engineering student, and he had always loved designing and building things. As Alex continued, George couldn’t help but start the design in his head: The screen had to be large and collapsible. It would have to be light-weight, but sturdy. The mechanics had to be easy and fast. George knew that creating SPUD would be very challenging. He could feel himself beginning to smile.
Since we (Alex and George) teamed up, our vision of SPUD is quickly becoming a reality. Rice University has been extremely supportive of our work, and instrumental in our early successes: Entrepreneurship Rice has helped us built up an amazing team and that gave us valuable connections in the startup community. We have participated in (and won funding from) multiple business plan competitions, and we were awarded a $50k grant from the National Science Foundation! We were selected to exhibit at SXSW this year, and we got to meet lots of our supporters in person. Currently, we are finalizing our industrial prototype, which will be the consumer-ready product we will use to launch our upcoming crowdfunding campaign (sign up here to be notified when it launches!). And we’re very excited to be competing in the Rice Business Plan Competition starting on Friday.
Thank you Rice University and the Houston startup community for all of your help and support!