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.

Fall 2015 CONNECTS


Evaluating a Good Idea*

Thursday, September 17, 2015
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Gates 6115
Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU CIE/Project Olympus
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

Have lots of ideas but don’t know which one to pursue?

Get some simple ‘first steps’ to help narrow down the list and determine which are good uses of your time.


Creating a Successful Student Business Team 

Friday, September 18, 2015 
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm 
Newell Simon Hall 3305 
Presenters: Kit Needham, CMU CIE/Project Olympus, & Bill Courtright, CMU
RSVP

Got an idea for a startup but need to find co-founders or teammates? Worked on a business startup as part of a class project and want to pursue it afterwards – with or without some of your classmates? Want to join a student startup team and know what to expect or ask for?

Learn successful techniques to help your team create a solid foundation that can help your startup thrive, attract funding and avoid problems in the future.


START SMART: Contract Basics

Thursday, September 24, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
University of Pittsburgh, Barco Law Building, Room 107
Presenters: David Lehman & Susan Altman, K&L Gates
RSVP

This seminar will address what startup business owners should know about contracts and the contracting processes, including pre-agreements (e.g., binding and non-binding letters of intent, term sheets and memoranda of understanding), common terms in contracts and typical types of contracts (e.g., licenses, leases, corporate agreements, commercial and customer contracts and employment agreements).


CONNECTS: The Business Model Canvas

Friday, September 25, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Gates 6115
Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU CIE
RSVP

The goals of this workshop are to identify and explain innovative business models. Find out what will work and what won’t for developing your business.


Special Seminar: Customer and Competitor Discovery via Database Research*

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm 
Gates 4405 
Presenter: Roye Werner, CMU 
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

Good market research informs the planning of any entrepreneurial venture and underlies its success. This workshop will use demonstrations and hands-on activities to show you how to maximize the information resources available from the CMU Libraries to conduct secondary market research.


The Lean Startup

Thursday, October 1, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Gates 4405
Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU CIE
RSVP

The Lean Startup offers a technical approach to generating and managing startups and gets an anticipated product or service to customers' hands faster. Learn how to make your startup lean and efficient using entrepreneurial best practices.
*NSF I-Corps Site Teams Required to Attend*


Financial Modeling*

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Gates 4405
Presenter: Phil Compton, Malcovery
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

If you’re going to start a company, mapping out your financial projections will be an important part of that process. 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 fellow team members. Learn the basics and gain insight.
*NSF I-Corps Site Teams Required to Attend*


Agile Product Development*

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Tepper 322
Presenter: Sean Ammirati, Birchmere Ventures & Labs
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

Learn an iterative and interactive framework to manage the process of building your startup's technology solution. Master specific tips for implementing this framework in your venture and hear case studies from local Pittsburgh companies who have taken advantage of these techniques.
*NSF I-Corps Site Team Required to Attend*


START SMART: Raising Capital

Thursday, October 15, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Gates 6115
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
RSVP

Learn about the legal issues associated with raising capital through friends and family, seed and series A, B, C, etc. Discuss the following:

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

*NSF I-Corps Site Teams Required to Attend*


Special Seminar: Creating an Effective Landing Page for Your Business

Friday, October 16, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Will Lutz, ConnectWith
RSVP

Do you find yourself asking what’s the point of an effective landing page and why are they so? In this interactive workshop find out key concepts and how to write effective copy for landing pages.


Splitting the Equity Pie & Other Aspects of Equity Compensation

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305 
Presenter: Frank Demmler, Innovation Works 
RSVP

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. Learn how to make these decisions.
*NSF I-Corps Site Teams Required to Attend*


START SMART: Protecting Your IP Seminar

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
University of Pittsburgh, Barco Law Building, Room 107
Presenters: George Dickos & Lauren Murray, K&L Gates
RSVP

This seminar will cover legal issues related to intellectual property, including: 

  • How to protect your company's IP
  • How not to infringe on another's IP
  • How to handle IP created by your employees, including non-compete clauses
  • Which IP protection to use: copyright, patents, trademarks and/or trade secrets
  • First to file vs. First to invent: changes in US patent law

*NSF I-Corps Site Teams Required to Attend*


Improv Sales - Acting for a Customer Audience*

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Adam Paulisick, Nielsen Catalina Solutions
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

The art of Improv Comedy has been around since 391 BC. Before Improv Comedy had a name sales people have been using it to build rapport, make friends, lead teams and sell just about anything. If you are interested in getting better at sales or team building attend this workshop to improve presence and verbal delivery.


Special Seminar: Deciphering Google Analytics*

Friday, October 30, 2015
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Gates 4405
Presenter: Marta DePaul Dalton, ANSYS, Inc.
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

The web provides nearly unlimited opportunities to measure and track customer behavior, but the challenge is knowing what to look for.  This workshop will provide you with the foundational skills to identify and measure your key metrics in Google Analytics including:

  • What to measure & why, how to identify your conversion metrics and setting up goals
  • Overview of standard reports in Google Analytics, including how you can customize them to meet the needs of your site & metrics
  • Custom reports & dashboards, Using Regular Expressions to get more specific information, & Advanced Reporting tips & tricks
  • Working in Excel using key formulas & pivot tables to garner insights that Google Analytics can't do alone

START SMART: Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Startup

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Gates 6115
Presenters: Kit Needham, CMU CIE/Project Olympus, & Stephanie Dangel, University of Pittsburgh Law School
RSVP

Finding the right lawyer is a key strategic business decision for a startup. Your lawyer can be one of your best business advisers OR a poor choice that costs you time and money. Learn the right questions to ask, how to avoid common mistakes and how to manage your relationship.


The Art of the Pitch*

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Des O’Connor, Innovation Works
RSVP*Bring Your Own Lunch

Is your pitch investor effective? Learn about the strategies, tactics and rationale for the successful investor pitch.


Creating a Successful Video Pitch*

Friday, November 6, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: TBD
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

Is your video pitch effective for competing in an online business competition for entrepreneurs? Learn how to create a successful video and capture the attention of venture capitalists.

If you are planning to participate in the McGinnis Venture Competition, your first video pitch will determine if you advance to the second round!


How to Pitch to Angels*

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Don Morrison, BlueTree Allied Angels
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

Angels invest much more than VCs and at earlier stages, which means that angel investors may be a vital source of funding for your startup. Learn how to deliver a pitch that stands out from the crowd.


Special Seminar: The Price of Admission: Communicating Effectively*

Friday, November 13, 2015
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Gates 6115
Presenter: Emily Stark, CMU CIE
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

Your competence in communicating can make a big difference in your entrepreneurial success. How do you ‘speak to’ your audience in text? What are useful, persuasive tactics you can use? What are common blunders to avoid? In this special workshop, practice your writing and analysis skills to improve your ability to persuade. The 1-2 page Executive Summary will be a particular area of focus.

*Space is limited. Reservations will be granted on a first come, first served basis.*


Start Smart: Structuring 3rd Party Relationships

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Gates 6115
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
RSVP

Learn about the different types of startup personnel, including employees, independent contractors and unpaid interns, as well as legal issues related to student projects, terms of employment, relationship/covenants and employee equity.


Special Seminar: Buy-Sell Agreements and NDAs*

Friday, December 4, 2015
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Daniel Lynch, The Lynch Law Group
RSVP
*Bring Your Own Lunch

A brief overview of the differences between agreements associated with corporations and LLCs with a deeper dive into the six trigger events that form the basis of an Operating/Buy-Sell Agreement: death, disability, divorce, bankruptcy, retirement and voluntary quit. The seminar will also include a discussion of Non-Disclosure Agreements, also known as Confidentiality Agreements. When do you really need one? What is a trade secret? Should your agreement be one-sided or reciprocal?

Spring 2015

Fall 2014

CIE Calendar

Start Smarts
sponsored by

Innovation Practice Institute at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law

K&L Gates

Innovation Institute

faculty workshops

Check out the Inside-Out Commercialization Workshops for Faculty, Postdocs and Senior Graduate Students