The VentureBridge is an initiative of the Swartz Center to connect early stage founders with successful alumni in top startup ecosystems to develop their startups into fundable seed stage ventures. This effort is outside of the traditional education model and serves as a bridge between the many different ecosystems that Carnegie Mellon University alumni live and work.
We seek to facilitate faster more meaningful connection to the right alumni to help early founders:
- Connect with mentors with relevant expertise
- Engage early customers who can provide feedback
- Identify value added by early stage investors
Questions?Please contact Aleksandar Petkov, VentureBridge Program Manager with any questions or sponsorship inquiries.
VentureBridge Key Components
VentureBridge Summer Accelerator
The VentureBridge Summer Accelerator is a 10 - week program hosted in the San Francisco Bay Area each summer. The program is designed to create networks with mentors, customers, and early stage investors. Sessions include: Mentor matching, investor feedback, founder dinners, and more. The university invests $25,000 in each company. Companies also receive many other in-kind services.
Applications for the VentureBridge Summer Accelerator will open in March.
VB Bay Area Mentor Match
The VentureBridge hosts multiple Mentor Matching events throughout the year. These events bring founders (student and alumni) together with a network of experienced and vetted alumni who have agreed to mentor founders. Startups of all stages are encouraged to apply. Mentors are useful at many different stages of personal and company growth.
The Mentor Matching sessions take place in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
VentureBridge Incubator Space
The VentureBridge offers temporary incubator space for visiting founders on the CMU – Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View and in the Financial District in San Francisco. These two locations cover the majority of the bay area. Locations can be used to work, host meetings or just a quiet place for a phone call. Please contact Aleksandar Petkov for details. This is open to any approved CMU affiliated founder, current or alumni.
Mentorship & Training
- The VentureBridge program offers unique opportunities and insight into the Silicon Valley ecosystem:
- Introductions to angel investors, incubators, accelerators, venture capitalists, CMU-affiliated companies and alumni startups
- Invitations to attend different workshops and events located in the heart of Silicon Valley
- $25,000 Investment by Carnegie Mellon (accelerator only)
- Matching with 2-3 mentors
- Incubator space at CMU-SV facilities in Mountain View
- Incubator space at the Vault Co-working space in the Financial District, San Francisco
- Access to Conference Rooms, WiFi and free coffee
- $10,000 of legal services from Perkins Coie and K&L Gates
- Free business banking account services
- $15,0000 in Amazon Web Services credits
- $5,000 in Amazon Web Service consulting services
VentureBridge Summer Accelerator
To be considered for VentureBridge:
- Teams must have one CMU affiliated (Student, Faculty, Staff, Alumni) founder
- Founders on the team must be eligible for graduation or will be graduating within one semester.
- Once accepted, teams must be located or able to relocate to Silicon Valley for the duration of the program.
- All applications must be fully completed and submitted by the application deadline and late entries will not be considered.
- Applications are reviewed by the VentureBridge Selection Committee and the best startup applicants are invited to present in person at the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship.
- After the selected teams have presented the VB Selection Committee evaluates the best candidates and five to eight teams are selected and invited to participate in the Summer Accelerator program.
- Candidates invited to the program have a week to confirm their acceptance of the invitation.
The VentureBridge Summer Accelerator will take place starting in June, 2020 until August, 2020.
- Applications Open: March, 2020
- Application Deadline: April, 2020
- Selection Committee Decision Date: April 2020
- Cohort Acceptance Deadline: May, 2020
- Start Date: June, 2020
- Demo Day: Late Summer, 2020
*Note: All dates included are subject to change.
VentureBridge Advisor Board
Jon Cagan, Faculty director Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor, Mechanical Engineering;
Lane Bess, Principal and Founder at Bess Ventures and Advisory
Marcel Depaulis, Chief Technical Officer at Proofpoint
Peter Clarke, Talent Partner at Accel Partners
Will Sanders, Recruiting and Operations Manager at Startup
VentureBridge Selection Committee
- Dave Mawhinney, Executive Director, Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship; Executive Director, Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, in Pittsburgh
- Robb Myer, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, VentureBridge Director
- Bob Dobkin, Chairman of the Dobkin Intuitive Foundation, Founder and CTO of Linear Technology
- Gabe Fenton, President, Intuitive Private Equity Group
- Stuart Evans, Distinguished Service Professor at CMU - SV, Director of CMU-Emirates iLab
- Robb Myer, Entrepreneur-in-Residence
- Prof. Ravi Thomas, Instructor in Software Management Program, in Silicon Valley