Not a bad consolation prize – an investment offer of at least $100,000.
That’s what Erica Grant, Founder of Quantum Lock Technologies LLC, received as detailed in a LinkedIn post during this past week’s “Rice Business Plan Competition” where she competed with 41 other student start-ups. She did not win the competition, but the PhD candidate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville was pleased with the event and receiving the term sheet from Michael Wellman, a Rice alum who is also Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Virgil Security Inc.
“On the basis of Erica Grant‘s and Quantum Lock’s performance during the coaching/mentoring leading up to the Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC), as well as the strength of their elevator pitch and first round presentation, I’ve elected to offer investment to Erica Grant’s Quantum Lock,” Wellman wrote. “In this, the first virtual RBPC, I hope that the RBPC will consider this the first ‘virtual RPBC prize’! I do. This prize will take the form of my angel.co-based investment syndicate targeting a minimum of $100k+ total investment.”
Wellman said that he is investing in non-traditional founders of all kinds with a focus on cybersecurity, cybersecurity adjacent technologies, and emerging technologies and/or markets. “As a Virginia-derived, Tennessee-based, PhD candidate in quantum computing, Erica Grant and Quantum Lock clearly lie at this intersection,” he wrote. “Soon-to-be-Dr. Grant has shown herself to be an exceptionally talented founder with a well-articulated plan to built a holistic security solution with the opportunity to serve a much larger overall market than her initial market of American hotels.”
One of the areas that impressed Wellman was the fact that Grant was recently named one of five participating companies in Cohort 4 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In a LinkedIn post, Grant wrote, “I’m so honored to have been awarded a prize at the Rice Business Plan Competition. Thank you to the organizers of RBPC for the opportunity and congratulations to all of the winners!”