By Anne VanderMey
FORTUNE -- The elevator pitch contest is a time-honored tradition of the MBA business plan competition. At Wake Forest University, it even takes place in an actual moving elevator.
The Rice Business Plan Competition has its own take on the ritual. The premise: You walk into an elevator with Warren Buffett and you have 33 floors (60 seconds) to convince him to invest in your startup idea. This year at Rice, 42 teams delivered that hypothetical minute-long speech to a standing-room only crowd in the business school's 460-seat auditorium in Houston. The judges will dole out awards on Saturday, and the winning team will take home $1,000. But for now, Fortune picked a few its own champions.
Best MacGyver impression
"What if I told you I could save one million lives every year with just refrigerator magnets and a laser pointer?" --Disease Diagnostic Group at Case Western Reserve University
The team plans to use the magnetic charge of malaria parasites to develop a new, cheaper, way to detect the disease in developing countries.
"As a future physician, I'm excited to share how BriteSeed can save tens of thousand of lives and billions in wasteful spending." --BriteSeed, Northwestern University, delivered while wearing scrubs
Briteseed has developed a technology called SafeSnips, which will alert surgeons performing robotic procedures when they are about to cut a blood vessel at risk of uncontrolled bleeding.
Biggest potential to make money while ruining your morning commute
"1.6 billion people ride the New York subway every year and virtually all of them are cut off from cell phone coverage, costing millions per week to advertisers and service providers." --EnKinta Energy, University of Southern California
The team wants to use the kinetic energy created by moving trains to generate power and bring Wi-Fi and cell phone service to straphangers. That morning subway ride could get more profitable -- and louder.
"Ladies and gentlemen, passwords can't protect us anymore." --Excalibur, Harvard University and Technical University Kosice, Slovakia
Excalibur's technology would effectively turn your cell phone into a secureID. They estimate that it takes $130 to hack a Facebook (FB) or Twitter account, $160 for a Gmail account, and $500 for a corporate mailbox.
"Forget the lows, it's time to get high." --Kaffeination, University of Manchester, England
Taking aim at the booming energy drink market, this team has already sold more than 5,000 bags of caffeine-infused gummy bears to students in the UK looking for a boost.
More from Rice Business Plan Competition:
Sharpen up those PowerPoint slides. The Rice Business Plan Competition kicks off in Houston with 42 startup ideas you wish you'd thought of.Apr 11, 2013 11:31 AM ET
Behind the scenes at the annual contest for budding entrepreneurs.
By David A. Kaplan and Anne VanderMey
FORTUNE -- It may not have the ubiquity of Facebook or the scale of Wal-Mart, but NuMat Technologies someday could change the world just a little bit. At least that's what the audacious student entrepreneurs behind it believe. NuMat is a university spinout that aims to revolutionize clean tech by making natural-gas vehicles more MOREMay 17, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Finalists at Rice University's Business Plan Competition were given 60 seconds to pitch their business to an imaginary Buffett on Thursday. Out of the 43 pitches we heard, here are Fortune's favorites.
By Anne VanderMey, reporter
FORTUNE -- Hundreds of students, business leaders, and investors crammed into the Shell Auditorium at Rice University on Thursday evening to watch the Rice Business Plan Competition elevator pitch contest, arguably the most dramatic event at the MOREApr 13, 2012 5:08 PM ET
Google's Gautam Gandhi took home the top prize at the Rice University Business Plan Competition in 2004. He talks to Fortune about the startup climate in the U.S., the value of business plan competitions, and what aspiring entrepreneurs ought to know. Interview by Anne VanderMeyApr 13, 2012 2:54 PM ET
As plenty of budding entrepreneurs have learned at Rice University's Business Plan Competition, a solid idea alone will not win you much in praise, prizes, or, most importantly, investment.
By Scott Olster, editor
FORTUNE -- Sure, you may have a brilliant business idea that could very well change your industry, maybe even the world some day. But, as plenty of budding entrepreneurs learned Thursday at Rice University's Business Plan Competition, a solid MOREApr 13, 2012 10:53 AM ET
Ultraviolet cell phone disinfectants, bloodstain testers, and a brand new use for dry ice are just a few of the pitches at this year's Rice University Business Plan Competition. By Anne VanderMeyApr 10, 2012 9:35 AM ET
Small business leaders need to convince an investor that funding them would start a mutually beneficial relationship. But sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to say. By Shelley DuBoisNov 15, 2011 12:30 PM ET
All 42 teams at Rice University's Business Plan Competition were given a minute to deliver the best business pitch they could muster to a panel of judges.
By Anne VanderMey, reporter
At least one team competing in Rice University's Business Plan Competition made $1,000 Thursday night -- in 60 seconds.
It was the competition's elevator pitch round at the world's largest student business plan contest. All 42 teams were given one minute to MOREApr 15, 2011 4:55 PM ET
From an answer to trash buildup in India to building a better, cheaper light bulb, here's a look at the 42 winning ideas that will compete for top prize at Rice's upcoming business plan competition.
FORTUNE -- What do an upscale men's barbershop chain and a vaccine to combat the pesky horn fly have in common? Both are among the 42 business ideas selected to compete in the prestigious Rice University MOREApr 1, 2011 1:54 PM ET
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