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Texas State set to compete in Rice Business Plan Competition for third consecutive year

Ayo Olanipekun | Updated April 9, 2019

Texas State team NABACO, recently won $100,000 in major cash prizes during the Rice Business Plan Competition this past weekend.

Update: Texas State’s NABACO team, presenting at Rice Business Plan Competition April 6-7, received a $75,000 NASA Space Exploration Innovation Award and a $25,000 Texas Business Hall of Fame Best of Texas Prize. 

The team also won $750 for placing fourth in the wildcard round and had seven investor groups inquire about the project. Three investors expressed interest in Kosmik Energy, the other Texas State team competing.

“NABACO and Kosmik Energy both competed and represented Texas State extremely well. They did an extraordinary job, considering they had two days to prepare,” said Gary Beall, professor in the chemistry and biochemistry department.

NABACO has a patent-pending, non-toxic spray called Natuwrap, designed to extend the life of produce by three times its normal expectancy.

Texas State University’s Natural Barrier Company (NABACO) team has been selected to compete against some of the world's top universities at the 19th annual Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) at Rice University in Houston, April 4-6. 

Texas State has placed a team in the competition for three consecutive years.

NABACO enters the competition with NatuWrap, a coating that increases the shelf life of fresh produce. NatuWrap is organic and has received Food and Drug Administration approval for human consumption.

Approximately 37 percent of produce worldwide is lost to spoilage each year, amounting to $2.9 trillion.

The team members are Carlos Corona (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry undergraduate) and Damilola Runsewe  (Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization program Ph.D. candidate). They are supported by Maedeh Dabbaghianamiri (Department of Engineering Technology), Grace Luangisa (MBA graduate of the McCoy College of Business) and Hector Marroquin (College of Fine Arts and Communication MFA student). The team is mentored by Gary W. Beall (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry), Bill Chittenden (McCoy College of Business), Rusty Phillips (BioStable Science and Engineering), Cory Holland (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry) and Claudia Roeschmann (School of Art and Design). 

The competition allows collegiate entrepreneurs experience to fine-tune their business plans and elevator pitches, generate funding and successfully commercialize their products. Judges evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. Judges rank the presentations based on which company they would most likely invest.

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.

More than 210 former competitors have successfully launched their ventures and remain in business. Past competitors have raised more than $2.2 billion and created more than 3,000 jobs.

For more information on the 2018 Rice Business Plan Competition and past competitors’ success stories, visit

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922