Integrated Molecular Innovations Wins Individual Investment and Cash Prize

Congratulations to Rourke Sylvain and Ali Dabas, who not only made it through the qualifying rounds of the 2023 Rice Business Plan Competition with their start-up pitch for imi – integrated molecular innovations, an electrochemical biosensor for T4 detection, but took home a prize. Rourke is one of 42 teams from colleges across the country who was invited to pitch their start-up idea in person on May 11–13 at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Rourke is a graduate student pursuing biomedical engineering at Michigan Technological University and Ali Dabas is a Michigan Tech graduate ‘23 (B.S. Biomedical Engineering). Over the course of the past year, Rourke has steadily worked to hone his pitch and develop his business model for imi. His start-up accomplishments include being a winner at the 2022 New Venture Challenge as well as the 2022 Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge (MCSD) and being a recent recipient of an NSF I-Corps mini-grant.

In May, they pitched at the renowned Rice Business Plan Competition and won $25,000 in prize money for the best pediatric device, sponsored by Southwest National Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium (SWPDC). Sylvain, founder and CEO, and Ali Dabas, co-founder and CTO, pitched a wearable device that revolutionizes health care by eliminating the need for centralized clinical testing. They pitched in two categories. The shorter elevator pitch can be viewed on YouTube.

The Rice Business Plan Competition exists so that student founders pushing to create new possibilities in technology, energy, healthcare and more can surround themselves with a powerful network; learn what it takes to secure investor funding. Prize awards in this competition vary from $5,000 to $500,000 depending on the category. All startups walk away with at least $950 in prizes for participating and additional in-kind awards.

You can view the full list of 2023 finalists and prize winners at or learn more about the Rice Business Plan Competition or watch the final round presentations at