CMU Initiative is Ready to Launch-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, November 7, 2013

CMU Initiative is Ready to Launch

LaunchCMU is to make its Pittsburgh debut next Wednesday.

The day-long event aims to showcase entrepreneurship via presentations by promising startups and researchers whose work may be commercialized, and by providing lab tours, a demo and poster session and multiple networking opportunities.

It’s a new initiative of the Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and about 300 attendees are expected. I caught up with the center’s co-directors, Dave Mawhinney and Lenore Blum, for an update.

“We plan to have this twice a year — in Pittsburgh in the fall and at a hotspot where there are many CMU alumni entrepreneurs in the spring,” Mawhinney said. “That includes Boston and New York City, Seattle and Washington, D.C., as well as Silicon Valley where CMU has a campus.”

In fact, LaunchCMU debuted in May at the Computer History Museum in Mountainview, Calif.

The theme for Wednesday’s event at CMU’s Oakland campus in Pittsburgh is Cells, Circuits and Cities. I asked Mawhinney to translate.

“The cities part is transportation, circuits is around our capabilities in energy and computer science, and cells represents life sciences,” Mawhinney explained. “People don’t commonly think of CMU being strong in life sciences, but we are.”

The presenting companies include YinzCam, Surtrac, Sharp Edge Labs, PECA Labs, ActivAided Orthotics and Duolingo.

“The first audience is investors because we want them to know what’s happening at CMU, so we’re reaching out to VCs and the angel community,” Mawhinney said. “Then there’s the CMU entrepreneurial alumni community: We’re working hard to build a vibrant network there. We believe it will make CMU and this region stronger by providing mentorship and bringing investors, customers and suppliers to our startups. We’re also opening the initiative up to the Pittsburgh community...Read more»

By: Patty Tascarella