Mendoza School of Business

ND student startup to compete in elite Rice Business Plan

Published: March 30, 2019 / Author: Carol Elliott



An Innovation Park-startup founded by four University of Notre Dame undergraduate students was selected to compete in the 19th annual Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC), considered the world’s richest and largest student startup competitions. The event, set for April 4-6, features 42 teams from some of the world’s top universities vying for more than $1.5 million in prizes.

blurry man holding speaker close

Resonado co-founder Christian Femrite (’19) compares the size of the Resonado speaker (left) with a traditional speaker (right)

Resonado, which designs and develops audio systems with patented Flat Core Speaker (FCS) technology, was started in 2017 by Mendoza College of Business students Brian Cho, Erikc Perez-Perez and Peter Moeckel along with engineering major Christian Femrite. The lighter, more efficient speaker provides superior sound and a flexible design that makes it especially attractive to a host of manufacturers of cars, recreational vehicles, boats, laptops, televisions, drones, and wearables, among others. The technology can also serve architectural spaces such as homes, hotels, concert halls, and stadiums.

Teams were chosen from more than 300 applicants to compete in four categories: life sciences/medical devices/digital health; digital/information technology/mobile; energy/clean technology/sustainability; and other innovations/investment opportunity. Select members of the entrepreneurship and investment community reviewed all applications. At the competition, a cohort of 275 judges will decide which company represents the best investment opportunity.

Leading up to RBPC, Resonado is competing against student startups from other universities for the People’s Choice Award. To cast a vote, go to http://bit.ly/VoteResonado.

“The Rice Competition has a unique structure that’s significantly more rigorous than typical competitions. The challenge of competing against the world’s top student startups in such a structure is something we’re really looking forward to. We see this as an opportunity to not only win prize money and generate exposure, but also to learn and further enhance our business.”

three members of the Resonado team stand in front of the SXSW yellow backgroundResonado recently finished third in the Student Startup Madness finals at the South by Southwest festival in March and was one of just 25 ventures invited to pitch in the Startup of the Year finals at SXSW. The company ended the month with a People’s Choice Award win at the AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup semifinals, a pitch competition for early-stage hardware startups, in Chicago.

The Rice Business Plan Competition is designed to give collegiate entrepreneurs a real-world experience to fine tune their business plans and elevator pitches to generate funding to successfully commercialize their product. Judges will evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges are asked to rank the presentations based on which company they would most likely invest.

The event is hosted and organized by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which is Rice University’s internationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.

fingers pointing at the back of a jacket with the words God, Country, Notre Dame on it, in front of a yellow SXSW backgroundMore than 210 former competitors have successfully launched their ventures and are still in business today, including 25 startups that have been acquired. Past competitors have raised over $2.2 billion in capital and created more than 3,000 new jobs. Since 2017, 205 past competitors have gone on to successfully launch their businesses and are still in business today, 28 of those have had successful exits. All RBPC past competitors have raised in excess of $1.9 billion in funding.

“We started off as a company selling portable Bluetooth speakers – and now we’re in the process of becoming a sound system designer and supplier to international corporations across industries. All of this is thanks to the incessant support of our Notre Dame family, for which we’ll always be immensely grateful for. I encourage everyone to vote Resonado today – a company that will reflect the values that Notre Dame has forever instilled in our hearts and souls.”

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