Carnegie Mellon University

What are Spark Grants?

The Project Olympus Spark Grant Fund helps Project Olympus PROBE projects kick-start their business ideas. It is available for PrOBE projects ONLY and is funded by charitable gifts from alumni and other community donors. 

Overview of Spark Grant Program [pdf]

Glenn Philen“We applied for a Spark Grant to help get our company off the ground. It gave us the resources we needed to go to a composites conference and build the infrastructure we needed to validate our business idea.”
- Glenn Philen, CEO 
Carbon Freight

Nesra Yannier“Spark Grant has helped me hire a designer to work on the art, design and animation of my project. Also it has allowed me to make a trip to California to do customer discovery, make connections and learn about some funding opportunities."
- Nesra Yannier, CEO NoRILLA

Spark Grants By The Numbers

71 teams have been awarded grants since 2007
$252K in Spark Grants have been awarded
$114,000,000+ in additional funding received by awardees
16 teams have been accepted to Accelerator Programs
7 Spark Grant awardee teams have had exits 

Spark Grants Awards

PrOBE Projects are awarded up to $3K micro-grants from the Project Olympus Spark Grant Fund. These grants are made possible through charitable contributions from alumni and Friends of Project Olympus.


  • Certably
  • Lead-In
  • Ocellux
  • OneBar
  • Piximo Robotics


  • Mach9 Robotics
  • Pralent
  • Synthody


  • Convertsation
  • Komodo
  • Sparkline


  • Pairi
  • Audition Tech


  • 3D Farms
  • Processly
  • Shine Registry
  • Wicklets


  • BlastPoint
  • Choitek
  • ComYoot
  • InvenTower
  • Generational Transfer Entrepreneurs
  • Hillside Hydro
  • Nimbus Robotics
  • StitchBridge
  • Toyz Electronics


  • 101
  • Chiroproktor
  • eeBooks
  • Inventory Connection
  • KOPO
  • Meal Matcher
  • Micetro
  • Robotany



  • Carbon Freight
  • Hyliion
  • Nebulus
  • Outliers Finance
  • Rubitection
  • SimSim
  • VIT


  • Abililife
  • ConnectWith
  • Digest-o-mat
  • PieceMaker
  • RistCall
  • SemanticMD
  • ZenRez


  • Baloonr
  • Lightside Labs
  • PieceMaker
  • PlayPower
  • Premier Distributor
  • RistCall
  • Schema Fusion
  • Vendalize


  • AutoRef
  • EEMe
  • Globatrek
  • Prooty


  • BlackLocus
  • OnlyinPgh


  • Smart.Mirror
  • Spark Meter


  • Accel Diagnostics
  • Fooala
  • Mindkin
  • Semiotic

Thank you to our Spark Grant Sponsors:

Michael Baum
Tony R. Berkman
Manuel & Lenore Blum
Roger Byford
Eric C. Cooper
Eric & Melissa Daimler
Marcel D. DePaolis
Michael Donohue
Marc C. Guldimann
Adrian Hodges
James Jacob Huttner, M.D., Ph.D.
Theo Nicholas
The Painter Family
The Tey Family
Richard and Nancy Waichler

Thank you to our Spark Grant Pre-Seed & Seed Level Crowdfunding Donors

Tiffany Black
Srinath Chavali
John Choi
Randy & Pam Eager
Samir & Elora Gupta
Jeremy Guttman
Ahmad Jarjis Hasan
Philip Lehman
Jill Lehman
William Lutz
Ian Magazine
Jason McDowall
Reed McManigle
Ray Milhelm
Catherine Mott
Kit Needham
Thomas Shelly
Neil Soni
Stephen Tatum
Eric Wise
John D. & Tara Lee Wise
Jake Witherall

Thank you to our Spark Grant Entrepreneur & Bootstrap Level Crowdfunding Donors

Alison Alvarez
Niccole Atwell
Sarabeth Boak
Andy Chan
Todd Medema
Vincent Ponzo
Brandon Taylor
Nesra Yannier
Xunjie Zhang
Omar Ahmad
Lenore Blum
Kevin Elfenbein
Fang Liu
Mel Pirchesky
Justin Weinberg