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Negotiations, negotiations, negotiations. During Monday’s Leadership Lunch, Kaz Karwowski (RCEL) divided founders into groups, with each group acting as a party in a negotiation. All parties were charged with settling a deal between an energy company and county government, setting into action their negotiation skills and price optimization strategies.

Later that afternoon, we held the first Pitch Practice in preparation for the Bayou Startup Showcase. Founders worked over the holiday weekend to prepare scripts with a storyline. From James Bond, to Vats the school-aged baseball pitcher, and Mindy the graphic designer, stories were colorful, but pitches were pale. Coaches Mike Evans (Rice University), Tom Kraft (Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship), Bryan McQuary (HATCH Pitch), Douglas Crouch (Rice University alumni), Gayle Moran (RCEL), Erin Flores (TMCx) and Keith Kreuer (RedHouse Associates) got down to business, giving feedback on content — everything from storytelling to value propositions, even competitors.

Sameer Vachani joined us on Tuesday, leading a session on product development planning. Engaged founders were awarded lottery tickets, and our very own Potato Displays took home $40 — the start of their first fundraising campaign!
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Go Show Coach connects young baseball players with coaches nationwide. By sending videos to coaches they know, or coaches they’ve chosen based on reviews and background information, young players can connect with these private instructors and receive feedback on their game.

A retired minor league baseball player, founder Jimmy Comerota took his passion for the sport and began coaching youth baseball players through private instruction. He later began working full-time and pursuing an MBA at Rice University, cutting down on the number of hours he could spend on private instruction. Refusing to give up on Jimmy, the athletes continued sending questions and videos via email.
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Most founders have always known they have the “entrepreneurial DNA.” For others, there is a defining moment, one where the possibility of entrepreneurship is dropped into their lap. Emma Fauss, however, has both. Though her parents each started their own businesses, they never talked about the idea of entrepreneurship.

“What was crazy is that I never had looked at it like that. Both my parents are [entrepreneurs]. My father is a partner in his practice, and my mother went out to become a teacher, and started her own business later in her life. So it was always interesting looking back on it, ‘Oh, I actually did have influence from entrepreneur parents,’ but we’d never classified ourselves. We never talked about being entrepreneurs or anything like that.”

As a student, Emma was interested in everything from kung fu to mixed media art, even beekeeping.
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Startup Founders Series & Social

Join us for the next Startup Founders Series with Jay Steinfeld, as he shares anecdotal stories and lessons learned founding and launching a startup. Jay Steinfeld is the founder and CEO of, the world’s largest online window coverings store.
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Bayou Startup Showcase

The Bayou Startup Showcase is a celebration of entrepreneurship, the Houston startup community, and the university accelerator programs that support them. Jointly hosted by OwlSpark and RED Labs, the event provides an opportunity for startup teams from both programs to showcase their businesses to the greater Houston community.
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105 customer interviews

50 Fuddrucker's hamburgers

23 impromptu pitches

20 sandwiches made by Towbee
(RED Labs)

11 pitch coaches

1 new doorway in TMCx


Overheard at OwlSpark:

“The more attorneys you talk to, the better. That’s not legal advice, that’s life advice.”

“We learned that clarity matters. A lot.”

“Does anyone have any white-out?”
“I time traveled to the 90s and found some.”

“Money solves all problems.”

“A SPUD Lite?”
“Is that like a tater tot?”

“Thank you for helping keep us fed!”

“Have you seen twitter for birds?”
“Twitter is for birds.”


relive our moments this week »


Rodman Johnson '86  ·  Michael Kane '83  ·  John Spencer '94  ·  The Benificus Foundation

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