Carnegie Mellon Press Release: September 30, 2003
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Press Release

Teresa Thomas

For immediate release:
September 30, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Spin-off Company Desantage Inc. Aims to Automate Early Stages of Product Design

PITTSBURGH—Desantage™, Inc., a company aimed at streamlining the design process for engineers and industrial designers through the use of patented automated design synthesis tools, is the latest technology spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University.

Desantage is focused on developing automated Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Electronic Design Automation (EDA) synthesis software tools that drastically reduce the amount of time it takes engineers and industrial designers to design products — or redesign products since that is where they spend the majority of their time. In some cases, the software tools reduce design time for projects in the electronics and automotive industries by 90 percent or more.

The company is under the direction of Mechanical Engineering Professor Jonathan Cagan and Randy Eager, the firm's president and chief executive officer. Eager says the company software tools will revolutionize the way engineers and designers develop and package products.

Desantage will introduce three initial products that include two patented technologies developed at Carnegie Mellon: 1) LayoutSpace™, which automates the placing of complex 3-dimensional components, or parts, into confined product envelopes (containers), given multiple constraints for each component and goals for the overall system; and 2) EngineeringLead™ and DesignLead™, which harness the power of the computer to automate the creation of new design solutions for geometric engineering and styling problems.

"Desantage is the first entrant in the sought-after segment of automated design synthesis," says Eager. Eager has more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and management and was most recently a licensing officer for the university's Innovation Transfer Center.

The first of many commercial applications for LayoutSpace will be a $300 million opportunity in automating the placement of components on a printed circuit board.

The automotive industry has been investing in Cagan's automated design synthesis tool research for many years; Cagan is a pioneer in the research and development of design tools that target the synthesis area of product development. He is co-editor of the research book "Formal Engineering Design Synthesis," which presents the foundation for automated synthesis tools, and co-author of the popular trade book "Creating Breakthrough Products." Over a decade Cagan received more than $2.4 million in funding from several industrial sponsors including Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Daimler Chrysler and United Technologies, and from the National Science Foundation to develop the industry-tested software that Desantage is licensing exclusively from Carnegie Mellon.

"Our research in product design has brought national recognition to Carnegie Mellon. And our tech transfer professionals have excellent business experience. Desantage is putting both kinds of Carnegie Mellon talent together to build Pittsburgh's commercial presence in this important market sector. We are working hard to create success stories like this where Carnegie Mellon can contribute in a significant way toward regional economic growth," said Christina Gabriel, vice provost and chief technology officer for the university.

Desantage was launched under the university's new approach to tech transfer, initiated in 2002 to enable faster spin-off company formation and growth. More than 100 technology-based companies are based in the Pittsburgh region, employing more than 7,100 people.

Jonathan Cagan, Chief Technologist
Cagan is a professor of Mechanical Engineering with appoin™ents in the School of Design, Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science. His research, teaching and consulting are in the area of design theory, methodology, automation and practice, with nearly 50 archival journal publications. Cagan is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, all in mechanical engineering. Cagan is the recipient of the National Science Foundation's New Young Investigator's Award and the Society of Automotive Engineer's Ralph R. Teetor Award for Education. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Cagan is co-author of "Creating Breakthrough Products: Innovation from Product Planning to Program Approval" and co-editor of "Formal Engineering Design Synthesis."

Randy Eager, President and CEO
Eager has more than 20 years of successful management and product commercialization experience including the selling and marketing of technical products, services and software to manufacturers and other commercial customers, including seven years with BASF developing applications with design engineers at computer and automotive OEMs around the world. He has also held a vice president, sales and marketing position at a start-up in the electronic packaging industry, TriTech Group, Inc., and spent five years as a management consultant focused on the development of strategic plans for multiple customers in a variety of industries with General Management Technologies, Inc. As part of several strategic planning assignments Eager developed and delivered custom software applications including the creation of a Web-delivered application for sophisticated market sizing. At Management Science Associates, Eager held the position of director of business development where, among other things, he helped to commercialize a software application targeted at the automation of sales and marketing data. At Carnegie Mellon Eager was a licensing officer in the Technology Transfer Office where he worked with Carnegie Mellon spin-off companies in various capacities and activities. He has held board of director positions with two Carnegie Mellon-related companies. Eager has a bachelor of science degree in packaging engineering from Michigan State University and received his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh's Katz School of Business.


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