Applications for Class 10 (Summer 2022) are being accepted on a rolling, space-available basis through Friday, April 1, 2022 at 11:59 pm CT.
To prepare for the application process, we have laid out important information surrounding the options and expectations below. Be sure to review the information thoroughly, and please reach out to us or schedule a time to chat for questions.
About the OwlSpark Accelerator
OwlSpark is an intense, immersive summer experience for startup teams. Utilizing a robust curriculum and a diverse mentor network, OwlSpark provides startup teams with hands-on experience launching a tech startup. The 2021 program begins May 23 and concludes August 5, 2022, and will be hosted in tandem with RED Labs, the University of Houston startup accelerator.
Throughout the summer, OwlSpark delivers entrepreneurship education, teaches relevant business fundamentals, pairs teams with knowledgeable mentors and industry experts, features office hours with entrepreneurs, and yields key community connections. OwlSpark culminates with the Bayou Startup Showcase, a one-day event that showcases your startup. Together, these resources and collaboration provide exposure and direct access to Houston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, increasing the probability of continued success beyond the OwlSpark experience.
OwlSpark is a full-time program that includes intensive mentoring, curriculum and exposure to Houston’s best resources. Like any entrepreneurial venture, launching a startup requires determination, grit, versatility, and most importantly, passion. Throughout the summer, startup teams are expected to meet a number of program requirements, including:
Eligible Team Composition
OwlSpark is open to students, staff, and faculty across all schools and all disciplines, as well as alumni within five years, who have an interest in building leadership skills and capacity as innovation-driven entrepreneurs. Eligible startup teams must include two to five founders, and at least one founder must be affiliated with Rice University. International students are eligible, but must secure authorization from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) prior to the start of the program.
It is preferred that all team members participate full-time between May 23 and August 5, 2022, and also pitch at the August pitch/showcase event. Sessions are held several days each week, and founders must be present at each session. Exceptions to this requirement are made on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, all founders must demonstrate a strong commitment and interest in launching their business.
The application is divided into two sections: (1) technology or business idea, and (2) startup team. You should be prepared to provide detailed, concise answers to questions surrounding each of these topics. We encourage each founder to review the application questions and pitch video criteria prior to applying. To help applicants understand the type of technologies and startup teams that will be a good fit for the accelerator program, we have also highlighted key points designed to guide your thought process and help you formulate productive answers.
To be considered for Class 10, one application per startup team must be completed by the Rice-affiliated founder.
Only one application per startup team may be submitted. Applications are being accepted on a rolling, space-available basis through Friday, April 1, 2022. Applications close at 11:59 pm CT on April 1. Applications received after 12:00 am CT on April 2 will not be considered.
The application must be completed in its entirety. Because there is no option to save and finish later, startup teams are strongly encouraged to review the application questions and pitch video criteria and prepare their answers before beginning the application. A confirmation email with a copy of your application will be sent to the startup team within two business days.
If your application reveals a potential fit for OwlSpark, your startup team will move to the interview phase of the application process. An OwlSpark team member will reach out to you regarding details and next steps.