Thursday, July 14, 2011
CMU Spin-Offs Receive Major Funding From Venture Capital FirmsDynamics, a CMU spin-off company aided by the School of Computer Science’s Project Olympus and the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School of Business, recently received $35 million in Series B funding, the largest Series B investment to date, from Boston-based Bain Capital Ventures. Dynamics flagship product is a next-generation payment card equipped with technologies that can consolidate information from multiple accounts and even allow the user to redeem loyalty points by pressing a button on the card. Citi, the world’s largest credit card issuer, partnered with Dynamics to use its technology late last year. Jeff Mullen, founder and CEO, started the company in 2007 as a student at the Tepper School. Mullen plans to double the firm’s staff and to move to a new Pittsburgh location from McCandless, a Pittsburgh suburb, by the end of the year.
“This is terrific news and a big win for the region,” Project Olympus Director Lenore Blum told Pop City. “Dynamics was one of the first two student PROBEs (fledgling companies) to move into the Olympus incubator space. Jeff has been an inspiring role model for the many student PROBEs that have since followed him into Olympus.”
In related news, CMU spin-off BlackLocus, a Pittsburgh company that helps small- to medium-size retailers monitor product prices and shipping rates of their competitors, has received $2.5 million from DFJ Mercury and Silverton Partners, two venture capital firms in Texas. The investment will enable the company to expand its marketing and sales staff.
BlackLocus, founded in 2010 by CMU graduate students Rodrigo Carvalho, Lukas Bouvrie and Francisco Uribe, also was supported by Project Olympus and the Don Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School. Uribe earned a master’s degree from the School of Computer Science’s Institute for Software Research last year and Bouvrie and Carvalho earned their MBAs from the Tepper School.
The investments come just weeks after Carnegie Mellon announced its “Greenlighting Startups” initiative, aimed at accelerating CMU’s impressive record of turning campus innovations into sustainable businesses. The effort includes a portfolio of five incubators, including Project Olympus and the Don Jones Center, designed to help CMU students, faculty and alumni to further speed innovations to the marketplace. CMU has helped to create more than 300 companies and 9,000 jobs in the last 15 years. For more on Greenlighting Startups, go to http://www.cmu.edu/startups/