CONNECTS-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University

CONNECTS

Our CONNECTS series enhances the experiential education of any individual interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. Tailored mainly for students to help take their ideas from conception to commercialization, the workshops run throughout the academic year. Teams looking for talent and talent looking for teams can CONNECT at these events.


Spring 2015:

Benefits and Perils of Using Open Source Code for your Startup

Friday, January 23, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Elijah Mayfield, Lightside
Register

A number of recent CMU startups have figured out ways to commercialize their research using an open-source model, despite misconceptions that it is hard to make money using the software. Because it is free, there are no restrictions to use the software for commercial purposes.
 
Elijah Mayfield, a former Ph.D. student from the Language Technologies Institute at CMU, and CEO of LightSide Labs, led his company to acquisition by Turnitin this year. The LightSide Labs venture was also a former Project Olympus PROBEs. Elijah will share his experience with commercializing research software in educational technology, discuss LightSide's founding, growth, scale, and the role that open source software and intellectual property played in the startup's success. He will also talk about best practices for building software that interoperates between open-source and proprietary code, focusing on viral open source licenses like the GPL. CMU's Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC) will also be available to answer any questions.


Start Smart: F-1 Visa

Thursday, January 29, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Gates 6115
Presenter: Panel Discussion
Register

Students with an F-1 Visa can legally start businesses as well as work on a startup team. Come learn the details of how to do this without violating your student status.  

Panel discussion includes: David Kalson, Cohen & Grigsby, Director of the Emerging Business Group; Larry Lebowitz, Cohen & Grigsby, Director of the Immigration Group; and Linda Gentile, CMU, Director, Office of International Education.


Making Things Here

Friday, January 30, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Ilana Diamond, AlphaLab Gear
Register

For the last decade, investors, media and those who follow technology have been focused almost entirely on software. More recently, the buzz has shifted to hardware and manufactured products. Ilana Diamond of AlphaLab Gear will discuss why CMU entrepreneurs are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the renewed interest in physical products and will showcase some of the resources available to help physical product founders get their products from idea to market.


Start Smart: Business Formation Seminar and Workshop

Thursday, February 5, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
University of Pittsburgh, Barco Law Building, Room 111
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
Register

This seminar will cover the basic legal issues involved in Entity Formation, including founder arrangements, founder employment arrangements, splitting the founder's equity pie, founder agreements and employee equity.  

The seminar will be followed by a workshop where startups that are pre-company formation will have the chance to meet with law students who will develop a 'roadmap' covering recommended structure, operating agreement and other formation issues.*

*Startups interested in participating in the workshop should contact, kit@cs.cmu.edu
*Law students interested in participating in the workshop should contact, SAD111@pitt.edu.


Lean Startup

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Register

Learn how to make your startup lean and efficient using entrepreneurial best practices. This workshop is led by our co-director, Dave Mawhinney. Dave is also the managing director of the OFEF. Prior to Carnegie Mellon, Dave was the co-founder and CEO of mSpoke and has more than 20 years of experience starting companies.

*NSF I-Corps Site Program Required to Attend*


Insurance for Startups: What Do I Need and When?

Friday, February 13, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Sean Ruppert, Century Insurance Consultants, LTD
Register

Having the right insurance coverage can save a business. But for start-ups running on a lean budget, knowing what is needed, and when it is needed, can be difficult.  Join us to learn about the unique risks that can arise when running your business, when you should address those risks, and how they can be addressed with insurance. This workshop is led by Sean Ruppert, a commercial insurance producer and practicing business attorney. Sean consults with both start-ups and established businesses on insurance issues through Century Insurance Consultants, LTD and advises businesses on legal issues as a solo practitioner with Ruppert Law Firm.


Start Smart: Raising Capital (Part 1)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
Register

Learn about the legal issues associated with raising capital through friends and family, seed and series A, B, C, etc. The presenter, David Lehman, Partner at K&L Gates, will discuss the following:

  • Structuring the investments to maximize growth
  • Opportunities available because of the new JOBS Act
  • Crowd sourcing and proposed SEC regulation
  • Funding from incubators/accelerators, government and foundations

*NSF I-Corps Site Program Required to Attend*


Financial Modeling

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Phil Compton, Malcovery
Register

If you’re going to start a company, mapping out your financial projections will be an important part of that process.  Learn the basics and get insight from presenter Phil Compton, veteran of several Pittsburgh startups and the CFO / CoFounder of the cyber security company Malcovery Security.  Understanding how to incorporate assumptions and to discuss key terms such as burn rate, cash runway and EBITDA will allow you to more confidently support your projections to investors and your fellow team members.

*NSF I-Corps Site Program Required to Attend*


Building and Growing an Entrepreneurial Team

Friday, February 20, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Art Boni, Tepper School of Business
Register

Building, growing and motivating teams is essential for entrepreneurial ventures to be successful. Many of the dysfunctions and disconnects occur during the startup and development stages. Join CMU Professor Art Boni for an insightful workshop that will focus on real situations involving startup and growth-stage teams. The workshop will end with a moderated and interactive panel of entrepreneurs who have had direct experience in multiple companies. Be prepared to ask questions!


Splitting the Equity Pie

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Frank Demmler, Innovation Works
Register

Equity compensation can be a very mysterious concept for first time entrepreneurs. From the division of the Founders' Pie through stock option grants, critical decisions must be made with an appreciation of their importance. This workshop is led by Frank Demmler, Vice President of the Entrepreneurial Services Team at Innovation Works. Frank has more than 25 years experience advising entrepreneurs and angel investors. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School of Business.

*NSF I-Corps Site Program Required to Attend*


Agile Product Development

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Sean Ammirati, Birchmere Ventures & Labs
Register

Learn an iterative and interactive framework to manage the process of building your startup's technology solution. We will offer specific tips for implementing this in your venture and hear case studies from local Pittsburgh companies who have taken advantage of these techniques. This workshop is led by Sean Ammirati, currently a partner at Birchmere Labs and Birchmere Ventures. Previously, Sean was the COO of ReadWriteWeb and the co-founder and CEO of mSpoke.

*NSF I-Corps Site Program Required to Attend*


Start Smart: Raising Capital (Part 2)
Negotiating a Term Sheet

Thursday, March 5, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates & Henry Snyder, K&L Gates
Register

David Lehman and Henry Snyder, partners at K&L Gates, will address the business and legal issues associated with investments in start-up companies, including strategies in negotiating these arrangements, valuation, founder and investor rights, vesting, management and exits.

In this interactive workshop participants will be divided into two groups - one to represent the investor, the other to represent the company. Both will decide independently on the terms they want and then brought back together for the negotiation led by the lawyers.

*NSF I-Corps Site Program Optional to Attend*


Start Smart: Protecting Your Company's IP

Thursday, March 19, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
University of Pittsburgh, Barco Law Building, Room 111
Presenter: Mike Lazzara, K&L Gates & Lauren Shuttleworth, K&L Gates
Register

This seminar led by Mike Lazzara and Lauren Shuttleworth of K&L Gates, will cover how not to infringe on another's IP, how to handle IP created by your employees, including non-compete clauses and which to use: copyright, patents, trademarks or trade secrets.

After this seminar immediately follows the workshop, which answers the question do you have an invention or product that you think can be patented? Bring your laptop to this session to get an introductory overview of how to do different types of patent searches and tips on how you can describe your invention to avoid infringing on other patents.

*NSF I-Corps Site Program Required to Attend*


Sales Prospecting & Process

Friday, March 20, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Bryan Whittington, Peak Performance Management, Inc
Register

Bryan Whittington, a 20-year veteran sales person, from Peak Performance Management, Inc. covers topics regarding:

  • How to get into an organization at the right level, at the right time and for all of the right reasons (meaning not begging or pleading for an appointment)
  • How to shorten the sales cycle and stay in front of the decision maker(s)
  • How to discover and create the ideal value proposition for each situation without a 2 day off-site
  • How to drive to a decision without looking like a stereotypical salesperson


Start Smart: Startup Personnel: Employees,  Interns, Volunteers and Contractors

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
University of Pittsburgh, Barco Law Building, Room 111
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates & Mike Pavlick, K&L Gates
Register

Learn about the different types of startup personnel, including students working on projects, unpaid internships, independent contractors and employees. David Lehman and Mike Pavlick of K&L Gates will cover important information about contracts with employees and independent contractors, as well as employee equity issues.


Do It Right the First Time (Setting Up Your Back Office)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Bill Richardson, Sisterson & Co. LLP
Register

Learn practical tax, accounting, and business considerations that business owners face in their first year of operations. This workshop is led by William M. Richardson, CPA, a tax partner with Sisterson & Co. LLP, where he heads up the firm's Emerging Growth Niche Team. Bill has extensive experience working with companies at all stages of growth. He is responsible for federal and state tax compliance planning for his clients and has a consulting focus on merger and acquisition transactions.

 


 

Fall 2014