From reducing residential energy costs to improving medical data analysis, ingenious Carnegie Mellon University community members continue to innovate. The Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund (OFEF) recently awarded $250,000 to five alumni-based startup companies in support of this culture of transformative entrepreneurship.
The OFEF, administered by the CMU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), provides early-stage business financing to CMU alumni who have graduated within the last five years. Established in 2012 by Flip Video Camera creator Jonathan Kaplan (TPR'90) and his wife, Marci Glazer, the fund has thus far given support to 21 companies from diverse industry sectors.
This year's awardees are offering products and services that range from those mentioned above to improving athletic training and aiding in computer network performance.
"Carnegie Mellon is truly an engine of innovation," said Dave Mawhinney, co-director of the CIE and managing director of the OFEF. "This cycle of the OFEF includes three companies that arose from faculty and Ph.D. candidate research."
"It is exciting to see our young alumni creating such interesting companies," agreed Lenore Blum, CIE co-director. "These companies are based on years of cutting-edge research and bring real-world solutions to everyday problems and challenges."
The OFEF selects award recipients biannually, providing $50,000 in investment to each, as well as access to other funding sources, personalized mentoring and attendance at an annual OFEF business workshop.
Mentors assigned to each recipient include CMU-based entrepreneurs such as Mawhinney and CMU alumni entrepreneurs who have helped to create more than $1 billion in shareholder value.
Lumator: Provides intelligent automated services for residential electricity consumers optimizing how they buy and use electricity.
NetBeez: Offers a network-monitoring tool that tests and validates enterprise networks from an end-user perspective.
QuantMD: Utilizes robust algorithmic analysis of medical image data to aid physicians in diagnostics and surgical planning.
ToolsCloud: Offers an open source development environment in the cloud, providing a flexible managed environment for growing IT development groups.
Vibrado: Provides a wearable sensor platform that maximizes the benefits of athletic training, learning and perfecting sport-specific skills.
CMU's entrepreneurial culture has resulted in the creation of more than 300 companies and 9,000 jobs over the past 15 years. It ranks first among U.S. universities without a medical school in the number of startup companies created per research dollar spent since 2007. In addition, CMU spinoffs represent more than a third of the total companies created in Pennsylvania based on university technologies during the past five years.