Carnegie Mellon University

Office Hours

Before making an appointment: 
We strongly recommend you fill out a Business Concept Template [.doc],
and schedule a meeting with Kit Needham, Deputy Director.

How it Works

Office Hours will be 30-minute meetings and must be scheduled in advanced; They will be held at Project Olympus, 4620 Henry Street [map] unless otherwise noted or agreed upon.

All of the Office Hours experts volunteer their time to help you with your startup. Please respect their time by arriving to the meeting on-time and communicating if, for any reason, you are unable to make it.

For any questions, comments, or concerns regarding Office Hours, contact Erin O'Toole, Program Manager for Project Olympus. For the full listing of additional resources, visit CONNECTS Workshop Materials.

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Getting Started -- Early Stage


Kit Needham
Have an idea for a business and want to know what to do next? Meet with Kit Needham, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Director Project Olympus.

Contact: kit@cs.cmu.edu  
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Entrepreneurship


Robb Meyer
Completed your MVP and looking for what to do next? Startups are about growth. Get real-world coaching on reaching your next startup milestone with CMU alumnus and Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Robb Myer.

Contact: rmyer@andrew.cmu.edu
(30-minute sessions)

Craig Markovitz

Do you have the next big CMU start up idea?  Are you trying to figure out where to start?  Get advice and feedback from Craig Markovitz, an entrepreneur who has started several companies based on CMU technology and managed them through successful exits. Additional experience in FDA regulatory strategy, quality systems, and testing validation.

Contact: cmarkovi@andrew.cmu.edu
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)


Randy Eager

Having trouble with product market fit, selecting an industry in which to focus, or not sure how to structure or execute customer discovery?  Meet with Randy Eager, serial entrepreneur and successful early stage CEO and Product Manager.

Contact: randy@aqualibriumllc.com 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)


John Seiffer
Get advice on your startup idea from serial entrepreneur, angel investor and mentor, John Seiffer. John specializes in:
--Customer Development - defining and prioritizing hypothesis to test and find the right tools to test
--Business Model definition - understanding how unit economics works (or doesn't) with what you're learning
--Team Interactions and responsibilities

Contact: john@ceobootcamp.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Patents, Trademarks, and Intellectual Property


David OberdickDavid Oberdick, Meyer Unkovic & Scott, counsels companies and individuals on intellectual property matters including: patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and software and technology licensing. David also helps with matters concerning entity formation, financing, acquisition, due diligence, and employment and independent contractor agreements.

Contact: dgo@muslaw.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

 Chip Dougherty
Commercializing a new idea or product? Introducing a new brand or service to the market? Find out how to protect your ideas, products or services from competitors and learn the right IP legal strategies to help decrease these risks from Chip Dougherty, Beck & Thomas, P.C. 

Contact: cdougherty@beckthomas.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Starting a Business on an F-1 Visa

Starting a business and here on an F-1 visa? Does another student on an F-1 visa want to assist you with your startup? Find out more about this Larry Lebowitzimportant subject with Larry Lebowitz or John S. Brendel, Cohen & Grigsby’s Immigration Group.


Before scheduling an appointment, you must meet with CMU's Office of International Education (required). 

Contact: CEbaugh@cohenlaw.com for Larry
(20-minute sessions -- Jan. 27 or March 17)

John Brendel

Contact: phartley@cohenlaw.com for John
(20-minute sessions -- Feb. 24 or April 28)

Taxes

 Kevin Israel
Kevin Israel of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, LLP counsels businesses and individuals on legal and tax issues related to startups, including entity selection and formation; tax matters (including tax return filing requirements); capitalization issues (including founder and employee stock and vesting issues); early stage operations; and exit strategies. 

Contact: kfi@muslaw.com 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

 Jessica Slean
Jessica Slean of KPMG LLP provides general tax consulting services for start-ups. Specifically, Jessica provides support related to Federal, state and international R&D credits and other incentives, such as a special deduction for domestic manufacturing activities. Jessica can assist with establishing appropriate methods on your initial income tax filings and with other general tax questions, including questions around accounting for income taxes. 

Contact: jslean@KPMG.com 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Web Design


Tanya Varma
Fascinated by technology and passionate about startups, Tanmay Varma is an entrepreneur currently pursuing a Masters at the Heinz college. He has several years of entrepreneurship experience and specializes in designing web solutions--Landing pages, websites, android & iOS apps--for startups.

Contact: tanmayvarma@cmu.edu
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)


rocket 1


Building a web or mobile application? The entrepreneurial-minded designers and developers at Roket can help you define or refine feature set, product messaging, app architecture,user flows, user interface, brand application and other design opportunities. 

Contact: Roket, LLC
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)rocket 2

Hardware & Physical Product Design


Tim Fletcher
Learn design thinking, an important factor in startup success. Meet with Tim Fletcher, whose decades of experience in design thinking will help you develop products, services, and a business model.

Contact: tim.fletcher@onebusinessdesign.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Ramsay Hartley
Need help designing the hardware for your startup? Get advice from Ramsay Hartley of Arrow Electronics, a global provider of products and services. Arrow specializes in IoT, semiconductors (passives, capacitors, electromechanical and connectors), and power supplies for all applications.

Contact: rhartley@arrow.com
(30-minute sessions)



Ilana DiamondIlana Diamond is the Managing Director of AlphaLab Gear, Innovation Works’ hardware start-up accelerator which provides physical product startups with investment, mentorship and connections.  She helps entrepreneurs make rapid progress through the early stages of product and customer development  by leveraging her experience and network, gained from over twenty years of leading and growing companies, from early stage to exit.

Schedule an appointment with Ilana Diamond [calendly.com]
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only;)

Prototyping & Manufacturing


Uriel Rorus
Need some help with physical prototyping (not programing/electronics) or with any manufacturing methods including machining, woodwork, softgoods, ceramics, mold making, etc? Meet with Uriel Eisen, founder and CIO of Rorus Inc.

Contact: uriel@rorusinc.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Afshan Khan
Want to learn more about how to manufacture your physical product here? Afshan Khan serves as the manufacturing Program Manager at Innovation Works. She helps startups build prototypes and their Minimum Value product faster by connecting with regional supply chain partners and accelerate commercialization.

Contact: akhan@innovationworks.com 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Patti Rote
Do you have a robot prototype and would like to test the marketplace and meet potential end users? Regardless of whether your product is for education, military, or industrial use, meet with Patti Rote, co-founder of Girls of Steel and active in the robotics sector for nearly 20 years.

Contact: prote@andrew.cmu.edu 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Jim Chrise
Want to know more about manufacturing processes, manufacturing strategies, materials, channels to market, go-to-market strategies, or business strategies. Meet with Jim Chrise, a senior executive who was very successful in engineering, manufacturing, and business leadership roles of various scales in a Fortune 500 polymers and chemicals firm.

Contact: James.Chrise@outlook.com 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Sales, sales, sales!


Bruce E G Smith
Meet with Bruce E. G. Smith, a successful serial salesman/coach/consultant for startups, for help with your sales strategy, managing your sales team, and getting in the door.

Contact: bruce@achievingsalesresults.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Adam Paulisick
Feel like nobody gets what your product really does? Need help simplifying your idea? Meet with Adam Paulisick, serial entrepreneur and adjunct professor of sales and marketing at the CMU Tepper School of Business, to bring commercial clarity to your efforts.

Contact: adam@fygment.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Marketing


Monica Robinson
Need help building your marketing plan? Questions about creating an effective pitch and go-to-market strategy? Meet with Monica Robinson, a former Microsoft marketing expert, to help develop this critical piece of your business plan.

Contact: monicamccrobinson@msn.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Marta Dalton
Need help with creating a digital presence, choosing digital marketing options such as SEO, SEM, email and social media, or creating an eCommerce business?  Get advice from Marta Dalton, Director of eCommerce for Coca Cola and an expert in eCommerce and digital businesses for companies ranging in size from startups to Fortune 100.

Contact: mdepaul@gmail.com 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Mary Beth Green
Figuring out what market to go into? Want to take your startup to the next level? Meet with Mary Beth Green, Entrepreneur in Residence at Univeristy of Pittsburgh. With over 25 years growing service, solution, and product companies, Mary Beth is a business leader and proven mentor to entrepreneurs and startups.

Contact: megreen18@gmail.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Funding & Crowd-Sourcing


Zach Malone
Thinking about raising capital for your startup? Not sure where to start? Meet with Zach Malone, Associate at Draper Triangle Ventures, for advice and insights on navigating the world of venture financing.

Contact: zach@dtvc.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)


Alicia McGinnis
Meet with Alicia McGinnis, Executive Director of FortyX80 and General Partner of Audrey’s Kitchen, a six-year-old fund that invests in early stage Pittsburgh companies to get assistance with access to funding and commercialization partners both in and outside the region.

Contact: AMcGinnis@fortyx80.org 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)


Dave Lishego
Questions about raising seed/pre-seed funding - where to look, what investors want to see, valuation, due diligence - or other topics?  Contact Dave Lishego, Tepper MBA alum and Investment Associate at Innovation Works and Riverfront Ventures.

Contact: dlishego@innovationworks.org
(30-minute sessions)


Todd Medema
Thinking about crowd-funding your product? Want feedback on your page before you hit the "Launch" button? Meet with Todd Medema, Inventor at FrabricateIO, to make your next Kickstarter a success.

Contact: toddmedema@gmail.com
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Local Resources & Economic Development


Jennifer Wilhelm
Do you want to know more about local resources and incentives that could help your business? Meet with Jennifer Wilhelm, of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, to learn what programs and resources you should consider as you grow your business.

Contact: jwilhelm@ura.org 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Cathy McCollom
Considering an outdoor recreation or eco-tourism startup or product/service for municipalities to help with community and economic development?  Meet with Cathy McCollom, consultant, Director of PA’s River Town Program, and former director of the Trail Town Program™, to get advice on developing an optimal product/market fit.

Contact: csm@mccollomds.com 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Government Resources


Tim McNulty
Need help with strategies for engaging  state, local and federal government agencies and officials?  Looking for potential funding sources, and determining when lobbying assistance could be valuable?  Contact Tim McNulty, Associate VP of Government Relations at CMU.

Contact: tpm@andrew.cmu.edu 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Global Commerce


Leeanne Haworth

Considering global markets for your products or services or have questions based on an international inquiry? LeeAnne Haworth or Steven Murray from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. CommercialService will provide counsel on issues related to global market development.

Contact: leeanne.haworth@trade.gov 
or steven.murray@trade.govSteven Murray
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Energy


Carolyn Pengidore
Have an energy startup idea?  Need advice on Demand Response, Energy Procurement, Energy Conservation, and Energy Portfolio Management. Contact Carolyn Pengidore, former CEO of ClearChoice Energy.

Contact: carolyn@clearchoice-energy.com 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Deborah Stine
Is your innovation facing a policy opportunity or challenge? If so, meet with Dr. Deborah Stine, a professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon with experience at the White House and Capitol Hill, to discuss what your strategy should be.

Contact: dstine@andrew.cmu.edu
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Banking & Accounting


Brian Finneran
Accurate financial statements and projections are crucial for business planning and managing day-to-day business activity. They are also an essential component when raising capital. It is never too early to get strong financial controls in place. Meet with Brian Finneran.

Contact: bfinneran@finneranassoc.com
(30-minute sessions)

Rich LoevlieMeet with Rich Loevlie, a local business banker with years of experience assisting local businesses on their journey to success, for questions pertaining to checking and savings accounts, invoicing solutions, lending, merchant services, wire transfers and other treasury management solutions.

Contact: richard.loevlie@pnc.com
(30-minute sessions)

FDA Regulations


Frank Fucile
Starting a company with a medical product? Wondering if your product falls under FDA jurisdiction? Need advice on how best to work with the FDA or about the many quality and compliance demands required to keep a product on the market? Meet with Frank Fucile, an FDA regulatory attorney with 40+ years working in the medical device regulatory affairs and quality systems industry.

Contact: frank_fucile_rac@yahoo.com  
(30-minute phone sessions; By appointment only.)

Social Enterprise


Nicole Muis-Kielkucki
Interested in starting a social enterprise, sustainability, community development, food technologies, or regional healthy food systems? Meet with Nicole Muise-Kielkucki, Director of Idea Foundry's Social Enterprise Initiatives and InterSector Accelerator.

Contact: nmuisekielkucki@ideafoundry.org 
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Susanne Cole headshot
Considering starting a nonprofit or need help with a social enterprise? Contact Susanne Cole, President & CEO of Pressley Ridge, a national nonprofit that provides programs in 6 states. Susanne has over 20 years of experience and can offer assistance with strategic planning, community relations, non-profit board governance, evaluation of merger/acquisition opportunities, and management/leadership development.

Contact: scole@pressleyridge.org
(30-minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Med/BioTech/Pharma


Cindy Chepanoske
Exploring a business opportunity in the pharmaceutical and/or biotech software industry and need some insights into how business decisions are made, strategies and priorities?  Contact Cindy Chepanoske, manager in CMU’s CTTEC--with over 10 years of direct experience in this challenging space, Cindy brings her perspective to many aspects of the industry that can help in gathering information for your start-up.

Contact: cchepano@andrew.cmu.edu
(30 minute sessions; By appointment only.)

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Are you starting a biomedical technology company? Do you need help with product development, business and/or market strategy, growth and exit? Do you need help developing your team or help getting investors? Have any questions about the FDA? Meet with Lynne Porter MD, and she will be happy to guide you through any questions you have.

Contact: lynne.e.porter.11@gmail.com 
(30 minute sessions; By appointment only.)

Insurance & Real Estate


Sean Ruppert
Find out what your startup should know about incorporation, contracting and insurance coverage from Sean Ruppert, Esq., a practicing business attorney and commercial insurance agent.

Contact: sr@lawkm.com
(30-minute sessions)


Mike Stuart
Need to find office space for your startup?  Looking to learn about how the real estate process works?  Meet with Mike Stuart, commercial real estate advisor and tenant representation specialist at CBRE.  Mike can help you plan your next office move and give advice on site selection, lease negotiation, budgeting and planning for growth. 

Contact: mike.stuart@cbre.com
(30-minute sessions)