A recent graduate team of the Rady School of Management’s Lab to Market program is heading for the stars with a $50,000 grant and partnership with NASA.
The Ateios team – which joined the Rady School Lab to Market program as part of the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur collaboration with the Jacobs School of Engineering – entered the Rice Business Plan Competition with help from finance students at the Rady School. The team is comprised of Kartik Sharma, Jennifer Miller, Carlos Munoz, Rajan Kumar, Karan Sheth, Keita Okuyama, Tom Yuki and Professor Ricardo Dos Santos.
Ateios developed a battery that is stretchable and printable and able to function when bending. The average battery loses up to 20 percent of functionality when it is bent, but the Ateios battery is able to operate at full capacity.
Eager to learn more about the business side of technology, Carlos Munoz, a graduate student at the Jacobs School of Engineering, and his team joined the fall 2017 Lab to Market cohort to maximize Ateios’ potential. Through the rigorous coursework, Ateios team members learned all about customer discovery, business model development, fundraising and more.
“The Lab to Market program been great for us,” said Munoz. “We entered the program as a group of engineers who started with a nice shiny object, but had no idea how to develop the business side of things. Working with Rady School professors and students helped us realize the marketability and profitability of our product.”
The IGE collaboration between the two schools enabled the Ateois team to submit their business plan to the prestigious Rice Business Plan Competition. More than 600 teams applied and only 42 were accepted to compete in the competition. Ateois made it to the semifinals of the competition, placing among the top 16. Although the company did not win, they received the grant from NASA which will allow them to collaborate with the space exploration giant in the future.
“Thanks to our time with the Lab to Market program, we were able to submit an exceptional business plan that represents the potential of our business,” Munoz said. “We stuck to what we knew, which is the technology, but left the business side of things to the experts. These competitions aren’t just focused on the technology – they want to make sure businesses are profitable. Lab to Market helped us prove that our business has a great deal of market potential.”
Moving forward, Munoz and his team are looking forward to continue developing the Ateois technology and secure funding to bring the product to market.
“This has been a very exciting experience for us because people are generally interested in our technology and the future of our business,” Munoz said. “They see potential in our product.”