University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


Undergraduate Students Pitch Smart Cement at Rice Business Plan Competition


Natalie Thayer
Photo courtesy of Houston Chronicle

Last month, University of Houston undergraduates from Bauer College of Business pitched their company Sensytec to industry professionals and potential investors at the 16th annual Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC).

Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship students Kevin Cho, Ody De La Paz, Nick Ravanbakhsh, Anudeep Reddy and Dylan Senter based their company around a novel material known as “smart cement” that was developed by Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Cullen College. Smart cement is a piezoelectric material that was invented for use in oil and gas operations to detect pressure, cracks, corrosion and other damage. The smart material can also notify engineers about well conditions by sending electrical impulses through a special cement mixture that contains metal filings.

On April 13, the Houston Chronicle featured Sensytec in the article “42 teams to make their pitches in Rice competition” by Andrea Rumbaugh.

The RBPC draws top tier students from across the nation to the competition in categories such as life sciences, information technology/Web/mobile, and energy/clean technology/sustainability. Sensytec was one of 42 student teams competing this year. TriFusion Devices, a team from Texas A&M University, took home the grand prize.

To learn more about the RBPC, visit

View the full Houston Chronicle article online.



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