RED Labs, OwlSpark Accelerators Partner To Bring Bayou Startup Showcase to Houston

Published on May 20, 2014

University of Houston, Rice University Tech Startups Will Pitch Their Companies to Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors

The Bayou Startup Showcase is a partnership between two local business colleges' startup accelerators.

The Bayou Startup Showcase is a partnership between two local business colleges’ startup accelerators.

In August, two leading university technology accelerators will partner to host the first annual Bayou Startup Showcase as startup teams from the University of Houston’s RED Labs and Rice University’s OwlSpark Startup Accelerator present their companies to venture capitalists, angel investors and corporate investors.

Each program has held similar, separate events in the past, but this year the joint effort will allow members of the Houston entrepreneurial scene to maximize their time by attending one larger program. Startup teams from both universities will spend three months creating business plans based on research from consumers and current product markets. During the Aug. 14 Bayou Startup Showcase event, the startup teams will present their businesses to investors and have the opportunity to publicly launch their ventures.

“The partnership between the two university accelerators is the first of its kind in Houston and is expected to generate excitement within the local startup community,” said Hesam Panahi, a clinical assistant professor in the C. T. Bauer College of Business at UH and RED Labs founder.

“Houston is a city built by entrepreneurs. In the last few years, the tech entrepreneurship ecosystem here has grown quite a bit,” said Kerri Smith, managing director, OwlSpark. “Both the University of Houston and Rice University responded to needs of their respective university students by separately launching new startup accelerators in 2013.”

Panahi added: “We often collaborate with the OwlSpark team to discuss best practices for these kinds of accelerator programs and events so it was natural for us to come together for Bayou Startup Showcase, which we hope will become an annual event that the city’s tech entrepreneurship community will find exciting as they hear about spinout companies being launched out of each university.”

In addition to serving as an enriched experiential learning opportunity, the accelerator programs give participants hands-on understanding of what it takes to launch a startup that will last beyond the conclusion of the program.

“Accelerator programs allow students to gain invaluable experience as entrepreneurs and the opportunity convert their ideas into reality,” Smith said. “The Bayou Startup Showcase will highlight the best startups from both Rice University and the University of Houston.”

For more information about Bayou Startup Showcase, visit

By Danielle Ponder


About RED Labs

RED Labs is a startup accelerator at the University of Houston that assists teams of students who want to create their own technology company by providing access to a co-working space on campus, connecting them to relevant mentors and resources in the startup community and helping them grow their ideas into scalable companies that fill a need in the market.

About OwlSpark

Founded by Rice University students, OwlSpark was created to ignite entrepreneurial passion within the Rice community. OwlSpark provides the resources necessary to help Rice students, faculty and alumni launch companies with game changing business ideas. OwlSpark is a joint program of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership and is supported by the Brown School of Engineering, the Jones Graduate School of Business and Rice University.

About University of Houston

The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

About C. T. Bauer College of Business

The C. T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C. T. Bauer College of Business.

About Rice University

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6.3-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

About Jones Graduate School of Business

The Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University is one of the world’s leading business schools. Named in honor of the late Jesse Holman Jones, a prominent Houston business and civic leader, the Jones Graduate School is distinguished by its strong foundation in accounting, finance, marketing, and management with areas of excellence in energy, entrepreneurship, and health care. The school is ranked No. 1 in entrepreneurship by Executive MBA alumni in the Financial Times (2013), No. 4 in graduate entrepreneurship by Princeton Review/Entrepreneur Magazine (2013) and No. 13 for graduate entrepreneurship by U.S. News and World Report (2014). Degreed programs include the Rice MBA, MBA for Executives, and MBA for Professionals as well as joint MBA degrees in medicine and mechanical engineering. A Ph.D. in Business attracts candidates aspiring to become faculty members at business schools in prestigious research universities internationally. The Jones Graduate School also provides an undergraduate business minor and a full schedule of non-credit executive education and customized courses for business and industry.