Carnegie Mellon University
meredith gerelli connects

CONNECTS

Our CONNECTS seminar series enhances the experiential education of any individual interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. Tailored mainly for students to help take their ideas from conception to commercialization, the workshops run throughout the academic year. Teams looking for talent and talent looking for teams can CONNECT at these events.

Attend Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, our kick-off to our CONNECTS events!

All CONNECTS events will be hosted virtually and advanced registration is required. Zoom information to all registered attendees will be sent the day before the event. Please note that the session will be recorded.

Join the CMU Entrepreneurship Slack to connect with fellow entrepreneurs

Tactical Steps to Launching Sales

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.


 EST
Presenter: Bryan Whittington, Evergreen Business Services

Register

Come learn how to:

  • Quickly capture interest & curiosity of prospect
  • Know your leading & lagging indicators
  • Reverse engineer the required output from indicators for the following:
    • Activity level
    • List size
    • Team size
    • Time commitment

The Challenge of Innovation in Healthcare – A Complex, Evolving Market with Misaligned Incentives

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Ginny Pribanic, MedRespond, LLC


Register

The big challenge in selling innovation to healthcare is the misalignment of payment incentives exacerbated by a period of transition from fee-for-service to value-based care.  Design a system to deliver better patient care at a lower cost – you may have just reduced hospital revenue.   Target the insurers who realize the savings – they cannot always influence care delivery.
All of this is complicated by the time required to prove innovation in this market – the clinician who values the innovation is not the financial decision maker who can approve adoption.  The CFO wants evidence of savings – from proposal to white paper can be a 3-4 year cycle. Many healthcare innovators burn through their funding before the puzzle is solved.


Tax, Business and Accounting Issues for Startups

Thursday, February 4, 2021
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 EST
Presenter:  Carissa Habsburg & Megan Rechenberg, Sisterson & Co. LLP

Register

Learn practical tax, accounting and business considerations that startups face in their first few years of operation.


Accelerating Your Startup via Corporate Partnerships

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Sean Ammirati, Birchmire Ventures


Register

Listen to a number of corporate partners discuss different ways to collaborate with their organizations to accelerate your startup.  This can range from first customer programs to strategic investments.  Participants will include companies currently working with the Swartz Center's Corporate Startup Lab (CSL).  The panel will be moderated by investor, professor, and director of CSL Sean Ammirati. 


Practical Business Negotiation for the Early Stage Company

Wednesday February, 10, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Eric Kline, Pepper Hamilton, LLP

Register

Negotiating for a startup can be a “David vs. Goliath” battle and conventional strategies rarely work.  Eric has advised early stage clients for 25+ years and will discuss considerations as you bring on your first employees, negotiate early contracts, move toward financing the company and consider exit.  He will share with you strategies that have worked to level the playing field with bigger companies.  Join us for an entertaining afternoon and some practical advice in startup negotiation.


Legal Considerations for Social Entrepreneurs

Thursday, February, 11, 2021
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Presenter: Eryn Correa, Crivella Correa
Register

The legal landscape for for-profit social enterprises is still developing. How can you ensure that your business is fulfilling its mission without exposing yourself to additional risk? In this seminar, learn what the law requires so you can make sure you are protected while doing good in the world.


Online Marketing for Startups

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Joey Rahimi

Register

In this workshop, run through the different marketing tactics used that have helped companies grow and how these tactics have evolved over time because of technology and adoption.


Business Model Canvas: A Practical Guide

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
 EST
Presenter: Will Kaigler, CMU Swartz Center
Register

Many aspiring entrepreneurs have heard of the business model canvas, but few actually use it correctly.  This workshop will focus on the proper techniques to leverage the full value of this important tool for business planning and validation.


Lean Startups

Thursday, February 18, 2021


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU Swartz Center


Register

The Lean Startup is a technical approach to generating and managing startups, helping to get an anticipated product or service into the hands of customers faster. Learn how to make your startup lean and efficient using entrepreneurial best practices in this seminar.


Leveraging Partnerships with FDA during and after COVID-19 : Advice for Startups 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EST


Presenter: Dr. Elora Gupta, Drug and Device Advisory Group, and Dr. Courtney Williamson, AbiliLife


Register

The presentation will discuss the evolution of FDA engagement, responses, and newly formed guidance for medical products as they relate to the impact of COVID.


Splitting the Founder’s Pie & Other Aspects of Equity Compensation

Thursday, February 25, 2021

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Frank Demmler, Startup Whisperer, 2 X Frank Entrepreneurial Yoda-for-Hire


Register

Equity compensation can be a very mysterious concept for first-time entrepreneurs. Learn how to make critical decisions from the division of the Founders' Pie through stock option grants.


START SMART LAW: How to Start a Business on an F-1 Student Visa 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

5:00 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Panel Discussion
Register

Students with an F-1 Visa can legally start businesses as well as work on a startup team. Come learn the details of how to do this without violating your student status. (In the past we have also talked about other visas, including H1B).

Panelists:

  • David Kalson, Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, Director of the Emerging Business Group
  • Larry Lebowitz, Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, Director of the Immigration Group
  • Linda Gentile, CMU, Director, Office of International Education

Finding Follow-On Capital: Identifying and Engaging Your Next Investors

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Ben Garber, 7 Mile Advisors


Register

"We've very excited about your company, but it's just not a fit for us right now."  Sound familiar?  In this workshop you'll learn how to use tools currently available to all CMU students to run the same process used by investment bankers and venture capitalists to target next round investors.  We will cover profiling your company and potential investors, available resources and how to use them, getting prepared and what to expect when raising capital.  Fundraising is an arduous process.  Engaging the right audience can make it easier.


Software May Eat the World, But You Still Need a Fork

Wednesday, March 3, 2021
2:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Matt Verlinich, Innovation Works

Register

For the last decade, investors, media and those who follow technology have been focused almost entirely on software. More recently, the buzz has shifted to IOT, robotics and manufactured products. Learn why CMU entrepreneurs are positioned to take advantage of the renewed interest in connected products and the resources available to help get their products from idea to market.


Hustlenomics Way Presents Superwomen

Thursday, March 4, 2021

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Damola Idowu, EIC and Founder of Owners Illustrated Magazine 


Register

Learn how incredible women broke through barriers and into the c-suite, technical and creative industries.

Highlighting; Alicia Keys, Mona Scott Young, Judy Brunson, Sylvia Rhone, Pam Fletcher, Fairuz Jane, Randi Zuckerberg and others Damola has interviewed.


START SMART LAW: Accelerating Growth Through Third Party Relationships/Contracts

Thursday, March 4, 2021

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
Register

Topics covered in this seminar include:

  • What are strategic relationships?
  • Why enter into strategic relationships?
  • General framework and common issues
  • Closer look at certain strategic relationships

The Nuts and Bolts of Angel Investing

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EST


Presenter: Catherine Mott, BlueTree Venture Fund

Register 


Since the late 90’s, Angel Investing has grown from a cottage industry to a subsector of venture capital, investing $28 Billion annually in the US.  However, the industry is multi-faceted.  Angels can act alone or in groups, be sophisticated or unsophisticated, act as guardian angels or nuisance angels, form professional funds or use a crowd funding platform, but ultimately they are typically the capital that follows friends and family and bridges growing companies to the larger venture capital firms.  This session will describe the various subsets of the industry and focus on how to approach the more “professionally managed” angel groups/funds that will typically lead to successful co-investing and follow-on investing to help companies grow.


Financial Modeling

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.


 EST
Presenter: Phil Compton, Locomation

Register

If you’re going to start a company, mapping out your financial projections will be an important part of that process. Learn the basics and gain insight on how to incorporate assumptions and flexibility into a model. Understand and be able to discuss key terms such as burn rate, cash runway and EBITDA which will allow you to more confidently support projections to your investors, Board and fellow team members. Includes both a financial model template and a user-friendly simple cap table. 


How To Design For Production At Super Speed

Thursday, March 11, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Elijah Wiegmann, Founder of Base Design Studio


Register

The gap between early prototypes and production manufacturing can be a huge challenge. Making a plan, understanding constraints and working through puzzle problems in a light, agile way is the key to speeding up the process. Learn about different approaches to problem solving with an eye towards design and manufacturing.


From Classroom to Boardroom: Turning a Class Project into a Fully Fledged Corporation

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Alison Alvarez, BlastPoint

Register

CMU Alumni (TPR '16, SCS '07) Alison Alvarez will talk about the process of taking a project from a Tepper entrepreneurship course and building it into a company worth millions of dollars and serving dozens of large corporate customers. Her company, BlastPoint, creates persona driven analytics solutions that solve hard problems in predicting customer behavior.

Topics covered:

  • Finding a co-founder
  • Building a prototype
  • Finding the right market
  • Lessons learned in pricing
  • Creating a network for fundraising

Leverage IP to Drive Business Value

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Sreekar Gadde & Jason Somma, Blue Tree Allied Angels

Register

Learn how an IP Strategy drives business value (and investment opportunity) for your early-stage, high-growth, company.  IP, in its many forms, defines what differentiates you from your competition.  Being able to describe this strategically can drive up valuations and acquisitions.  Thus, to better positions a company, business owners must own their IP Strategy and leave implementation of that strategy to their legal counsel.  In this session, learn the basics of what IP is, what an IP Strategy is and how to build an IP Strategy that leverages what makes your company unique to drive business value.


Launching Hardware Startups with Monozukuri, The Art of Making Things in a Creative Way

Thursday, March 18, 2021


12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Nobuhiro SekiMonozukuri Ventures

Register

Hardware is no longer hard: Manufacturing in a Japanese way has become more accessible for startups, especially when it comes to low-volume production with good quality. Come learn how you can get started!


The Importance of Cash Flow

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Kelley Lynch, CFO & VP of Operations, Othot


Register

Profits and EBITDA are crucial to any company; however it turns out cash flow might actually be more critical, especially for small and fast growing companies as we saw last year during the stay at home orders during the global pandemic. Learn how to make a 13-week rolling cash flow model that will give you better insights to your company’s operations and be the basis of 12-month cashflow forecast.  Also learn how the discipline of cash flow modeling can help with your relationships with bankers and investors, current or potential. The best part – this modeling is not intimidating to the non-financial oriented entrepreneurs!


Planning and Designing a Workplace Environment that Promotes Creativity and Innovation

Thursday, March 25, 2021


12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EST



Presenter:  Samara Wheaton & Brian Roth, ikm

Register

You’ve created an innovative company, and hired the talent to catapult the business to the next level.  So how do you keep attracting and retaining talent, while keeping the business full of fresh ideas?  The size and design of your workplace environments constitute a big investment for any organization, and should nurture a creative culture that keeps your business on the cutting edge.

In this Workshop, you will learn about the basic building blocks for designing an engaging physical space for your business, along with a growth strategy that won’t break the budget.  We will explore the role of Human-Centered Design, and how to infuse your company’s Mission and Vision in the physical workspace.  Our team will speak to the role of a building architect and interior designer in this visioning process, and how a design professional can add value early in the beginning of any business venture.


START SMART LAW: Hiring and Firing

Thursday, March 25, 2021


5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. EST



Presenter:  Mike Pavlik, K&L Gates
Register

Learn the ins and outs of staffing a company, including: hiring of employees and/or retaining independent contractors, interns and volunteers, important terms of employment or retention, restrictive covenants, and the use of employee equity to attract and retain personnel.


Franchising - Opportunities are Everywhere

Tuesday, March 30, 2021


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Chris Cynkar, FranChoice


Register

With nearly 3,000 franchise brands offering investment opportunities today, how can you determine a good one from a....not so good one? Join Chris Cynkar to explore the world of franchising and start to gain insight into the world of franchising. Chris is an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School and is also a Franchise Consultant with FranChoice where he helps investors to find franchises that are well suited to their individual investment goals.


Leveraging Compliance-focused Infrastructure to Build Faster

Thursday, April 1, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Jason Cahill, AWS

Register

Many startups see security accreditation as a challenging endeavor. At AWS Security is job zero. They meet the most stringent global security accreditations. You’ll see how AWS has created workbooks and templates that can help any public sector organization and the startups that serve them, architect an environment to meet their specific compliance regulations.

One of the great things about cloud is that AWS customers inherit all the best practices of AWS policies, architecture, and operational processes built to satisfy the requirements of our most security sensitive customers.


START SMART LAW: HOW TO HANDLE YOUR (AND OTHERS') INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Thursday, April 1, 2021

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: George Dickos & Lauren Murray, K&L Gates

Register

Learn how to deal with intellectual property issues, including:

  • What are copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets
  • Developing an IP strategy (e.g., which type of IP protection is best for your startup?)
  • How to protect your company's IP
  • How not to infringe on another's IP
  • How to handle IP created by class projects when one or more students want to pursue commercialization
  • How to handle IP created by your employees, including non-compete clauses
  • What to expect after filing a patent (time and expenses)
  • Tips on searching the US Patent Office database

Landing Your First Five Customers

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Alex Salazar, Neotribe Ventures

Register

Finding your first customers is one of the single most difficult milestones for any new technology company and requires skills most founders don't yet have.  At this stage,  the product is typically too early for traditional sales, and yet, unlike typical product feedback meetings, you still need to push customers to commit to buying. In this presentation, we'll discuss a set of techniques to help you find those first five, pilot customers-- without having to hire a salesperson.


The Art & Science of Negotiation

Thursday, April 8, 2021

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Taya R. Cohen, PhD


Register

We negotiate daily in a variety of contexts: business, family and social.  Negotiations serve several purposes: (1) establishing new or renewing old relationships; (2) changing behaviors and expectations; and (3) resolving conflict and disputes. How effectively we negotiate exerts important effects on the quality of life we live and how successful we are at work. Why do we sometimes get our way, while other times we walk away feeling frustrated by our inability to achieve the agreement we desire?
This seminar covers several key principals for successful negotiation and conflict management, and is designed to address a broad spectrum of negotiation challenges that are faced by managers and professionals.

Learn strategies for claiming and creating value in negotiations, how to effectively prepare for a negotiation, how to avoid common negotiation traps and helpful phrases and questions to use in negotiations.


START SMART LAW: Worst Mistakes Made by Startups

Thursday, April 8, 2021

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

 EST
Presenter: Panel Discussion
Register

A panel of lawyers will share the ‘horror stories’ of mistakes that startups have made and their consequences. Learn from the mistakes of others so you can avoid the pitfalls.

Acting and Thinking Like an Entrepreneur – More Important Now than Ever!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Rebecca U. Harris, President, RUH Consulting, LLC
Presentation

The need for entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and entrepreneurial thinking is critical as we continue to navigate through COVID-19, turbulent global affairs and the recession. We are living in an extreme time, where the basic economic and physical well-being of our communities is at risk. The state of ongoing uncertainty makes planning for the future both critical while at the same time fraught with hesitation and lack of focus.

It is in times like these that acting and thinking like an entrepreneur, regardless of your academic discipline or current career status, is more important than ever. Challenging times in uncharted waters requires agility, ingenuity and the ability to pivot and embrace opportunities which are far-reaching but come with unlimited upsides, potentially providing solutions to our universal global challenges.

Join us for this interactive presentation where you will activate your ‘inner-entrepreneur,’ where we will work together to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to current problems and those not even yet imagined. Come with an open mind and the drive to make change through entrepreneurial thinking!


Design Thinking Through New Metaphors

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Dan Lockton, CMU School of Design and Director of Imaginaries Lab
Presentation

In this workshop explore design techniques for reframing the way you imagine and think about concepts, using an innovation technique of generating novel metaphors. Examine how you can use these methods strategically to enable new approaches to problems, and develop new products and services.


Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition

Thursday, September 17, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Len Caric, Uncle Charley’s Sausage Company & Carnegie Mellon University
Presentation

Why interview for a job when you can be the CEO of your own company after graduation?  No ideas for a business?  No problem, acquire an existing business and be in control of your future.


Building a Successful Team

Monday, September 21, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Kit Needham, Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship
Presentation

Got an idea for a startup but need to find co-founders or teammates? Worked on a business startup as part of a class project and want to pursue it afterwards – with or without some of your classmates? Want to join a student startup team and know what to expect or ask for? Learn successful techniques to help your team create a solid foundation that can help your startup thrive, attract funding and avoid problems in the future.


Exploring the Four Types of Entrepreneurship

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Laurie Barkman, CEO of SmallDotBig & CMU Instructor 

Presentation

Thinking about entrepreneurship? Join Laurie Barkman, CEO of SmallDotBig & CMU Instructor, as she discusses entrepreneurial organizations and how to find the right fit for you.


START SMART LAW: Introduction to Startup Law: Get the Answers to YOUR Legal Questions!


Tuesday, September 22, 2020
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Presenters: David Lehman, K&L Gates and Reed McManigle, CMU
Presentation 1 / Presentation 2

Join us for a lightning round of Q&A with top startup [and intellectual property lawyers]. Kicking off the evening will be a quick overview of the most common startup legal issues: contract law, IP protection, raising capital, entity formation, employment law and exit planning. Then you’ll get to ask YOUR most pressing legal questions.


Customer Discovery: Is My Idea a Good One?

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Presenter: Kit Needham, Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship
Presentation

Have an idea or a technology that you think solves a big problem? Before you start building your product, learn how to correctly do “customer discovery” so you create a solution that customers will want and pay for. Saves time, prevents unnecessary pivots, and sets the stage for your first pilot.


Business Model Canvas: A Practical Guide

Thursday, September 24, 2020 

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Presenter: Will Kaigler, CMU Swartz Center

Presentation

Many aspiring entrepreneurs have heard of the business model canvas, but few actually use it correctly.  This workshop will focus on the proper techniques to leverage the full value of this important tool for business planning and validation.


Show Me the Money:  Monetizing IP via Licenses

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Presenter: Matt Kirmayer & Daphne Higgs, Perkins Coie
Presentation

Perkins Coie LLP attorneys will discuss the legal fundamentals involved in monetizing your intellectual property (IP) during this panel. The seminar will cover the basics on the “big three of IP” – patent, copyright, and trademark – and how you can use legal agreements to protect and monetize your IP, including a discussion of common IP licensing terms and conditions.


Overcoming Fear, Finding Success and Building a More Women-Friendly Startup Community

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Dr. Lynn C. Yanyo, De Novo Ground

Presentation

Entrepreneurism is a hot topic today but was not visible in the late 1900's.  Invention or innovation were prized back then.  Invention or innovations are only small, small components of entrepreneurism.  Getting from idea to market to profit requires a big picture view and many different talents.  Entrepreneurism also requires an ability to be accepting of ambiguity, unquantifiable risk or simply being luckily uninformed.

Learn how entrepreneurism has changed over the last 50 years, what is needed to be successful today and focus on how anyone can be a successful entrepreneur, if they choose.


Lean Startups

Thursday, October 1, 2020


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU Swartz Center

Presentation

The Lean Startup is a technical approach to generating and managing startups, helping to get an anticipated product or service into the hands of customers faster. Learn how to make your startup lean and efficient using entrepreneurial best practices in this seminar.


START SMART LAW: How to Structure Your Capital Raise - Part 1 - The Fundamentals

Thursday, October 1, 2020
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
Presentation

Learn about the legal issues associated with raising capital through Friends and Family, Seed Funding and Series A rounds. This session is a prerequisite to understanding and participating in Part 2.

  • Structuring investments to maximize growth
  • Funding from incubators/accelerators, angels, venture capitalists and strategic investors

Early Stage Fundraising from Silicon Valley Investors: Terminology, Milestones, Expectations

Tuesday, October 6, 2020


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Kelly Coyne, Co-Founder/Managing Partner, Grit Ventures

Presentation

There has been a fundamental shift in recent years regarding:

  • Fundraising Terminology - Does Series A mean the same thing in Silicon Valley as Denver? (Spoiler: it doesn't.)
  • Fundraising Milestones - What matters more for an early stage startup patents or traction?
  • Fundraising Expectations - How many customers do you need to raise a Seed round? (not zero) Does your product need to be fully functional before Pre-Seed? (in most cases, absolutely) What is the lowest ARR requirement for most institutional Series A raises? (Much higher than you would think!)

Join me for this session on fundraising from venture capitalists and make sure that you are set up for success before your first pitch email.


Agile Product Development

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Sean Ammirati, Birchmire Ventures

Presentation

Learn an iterative and interactive framework to manage the process of building your startup's technology solution. Master specific tips for implementing this framework in your venture and hear case studies from local Pittsburgh companies who have taken advantage of these techniques.


Splitting the Founder’s Pie & Other Aspects of Equity Compensation

Thursday, October 8, 2020


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Frank Demmler, Startup Whisperer, 2 X Frank Entrepreneurial Yoda-for-Hire

Presentation

Equity compensation can be a very mysterious concept for first-time entrepreneurs. Learn how to make critical decisions from the division of the Founders' Pie through stock option grants.


How COVID Impacts The Future of Work: Which B2B Software Segments will Accelerate?

Tuesday, October 13, 2020
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Presenter: Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures
Presentation


To Trust or Not to Trust: What Every Startup Needs to Know about Privacy and Cybersecurity

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Presenter: John Funge, DataTribe

Presentation

Privacy and cybersecurity are no longer back office tasks sequestered away from the core of a business. With a steady drum beat of high-profile security breaches and cases of customer data mismanagement, privacy and security are increasingly becoming board-level topics for companies large and small. They are both a threat and opportunity. This seminar will provide an overview of key privacy and cybersecurity regulations, trends and practices that every startup needs to know.


Creative Techniques: Examining & Eliminating Barriers to Business Growth

Thursday, October 15, 2020
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Presenter: Lisa Salley, API


Building a startup from 0 to 1: Operations and Fundraising

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Mar Hershenson, Pear VC
Presentation

You’ve probably heard the phrase “0 to 1.” But how does a founder actually get to 1? What happens in that messy in-between zone? What’s the first thing you should do when you’re at 0? Mar will lend some much-needed clarity to this messy early part of the startup journey, breaking down concretely what it means to go from 0 to 0.5 and 0.5 to 1.


Career Building: Introduction to Networking

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.



Presenter: Will Sanders, Recruiting from Scatch
Presentation

Learn the basics of networking your way into an opportunity. In this session you will learn the basics of building your network, and simple things you can do daily to accelerate your career and opportunities generated.


Investor Presentations – Beyond the Pitch

Thursday, October 22, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Jim Jen, Innovations Works and AlphaLab
Presentation

Come learn about what makes an effective investor presentation, including an overview of the content that most investors expect to see, how it fits into their investment analysis and potential pitfalls. In addition, learn about other factors that are important to raising investment and building investor relationships, especially now in this COVID-impacted, more virtual environment.


START SMART LAW: How to Structure your Capital Raise – Part 2 - Negotiating the Term Sheet


Thursday, October 22, 2020
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Presenters: David Lehman and Adam Kelson, K&L Gates

Join us for a fun negotiation exercise in which you’ll play the role of startup or investor. We’ll begin the evening with a quick overview of the legal issues associated with investing in startups building from Part I on” How to Structure Your Capital Raise.” We’ll then divide into investor and startup groups, who will meet separately with lawyers to decide on the terms they want. We’ll end the evening with a negotiation led by two of Pittsburgh’s top startup and investor lawyers.


Using Digital to Achieve Business Goals

Tuesday, November 3, 2020


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Laura Kelly, Dick’s Sporting Goods



Presentation

In 2019, there's no such thing as digital and IRL (in real life). Individuals and companies online presence is real life, and your online strategy should reflect that. Learn how to choose where to be online, how to establish measurable strategies that impact your business goals and how your digital and traditional strategies work together.


Pitching Innovation to the C-Suite



Wednesday, November 4, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Melissa Murphy, Carnegie Mellon University
Presentation

One of the most common complaints of corporate entrepreneurs is being blindsided by questions from outside their areas of expertise.  Even well-prepared corporate entrepreneurs have higher-stakes conversations than traditional startup CEOs with stakeholders coming from narrower perspectives.

Before pitching the idea, think about it from the perspective of the functional areas of leadership in the C-Suite. Through what lenses will the most powerful decision-makers in the company view new ideas? 
 
Join us for a lively discussion about better ways to prepare for pitching innovation to the C-Suite, the much higher communications burden placed on intrapreneurs in the early days of innovation and how to better leverage tools such as the Pitching Innovation to the C-Suite Canvas.


Federal SBIR/STTR Process and How Startups Can Take Advantage of Free Money

Thursday, November 5, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Ralph Hershberger, Madera Associates LLC
Presentation

Learn the history of SBIRs, the various funding from Phases 1 & 2 and which agencies participate and discuss the current template, review process and how a startup can secure free funding through the government.


START SMART LAW: How to Form Your Startup Company


Thursday, November 5, 2020
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Presenters/Participants: David Lehman and Oded Green, K&L Gates and Stephanie Dangel, University of Pittsburgh Law School, University of Pittsburgh Law School Students
Presentation

Learn the basic legal issues involved with new company formation, including choice of entity (LLC, C-corp, Benefit Corporation and Company alternatives), founder agreements, splitting equity and employee vesting. We’ll start the evening by hearing from lawyers and a startup who will share their experiences forming startup companies. You’ll then have a chance to work with law students to design a “legal roadmap” that will recommend the best entity option for your startup – all under the supervision of experienced startup lawyers! This workshop fills up quickly, so if you want to work with a law student, please send a description to sad111@pitt.edu by Friday October 30.


Financial Modeling



Monday, November 9, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Phil Compton, Locomation
Presentation

If you’re going to start a company, mapping out your financial projections will be an important part of that process. Learn the basics and gain insight on how to incorporate assumptions and flexibility into a model. Understand and be able to discuss key terms such as burn rate, cash runway and EBITDA which will allow you to more confidently support projections to your investors, Board and fellow team members. Includes both a financial model template and a user-friendly simple cap table. 


Insurance for Startups

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Laurie Kuzneski, Kuzenski Insurance Group

Presentation

Need insurance for your startup? Learn what you need and when you need it.


Creating a Successful Video Pitch

Thursday, November 12, 2020

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Brian Staszel, CMU


Presentation

Is your video pitch effective for competing in an online business competition for entrepreneurs? Learn how to create a successful video and capture the attention of venture capitalists.

If you are planning to participate in the McGinnis Venture Competition, your first video pitch will determine if you advance to the second round!


Patent Trolls and Patent Protection

Monday, November 16, 2020


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Khurram Naik, IP Attorney
Presentation

Get the latest on the patent troll landscape and how they can affect your company. Learn the basics of patent protection and how to evaluate whether to invest in IP.

Also, join Khurram for office hours after the CONNECTS from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Contact him directly to schedule via email khurram@naik.co or text at 312-772-4623.


Public Relations Primer: How to Earn Media Coverage

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Emma Gielata, Matter Communications

Presentation

Learn the basic principles of PR and how to earn media coverage. This crash course will walk attendees through how to tell a compelling story, the best vehicle for delivering news and what angles resonates best with each type of publication (business, tech, trade and local).


Tune Up Your Perfect Pitch

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Presenter: Daniel Teadt, CMU

Learn how to maximize your speaking voice to make sure you are heard, felt and understood in every pitch meeting.  Voice expert Daniel Teadt will guide you in discovering how your voice can resonate with others and what it reveals about yourself, including solutions for finding your authentic sound, making the most of every word and enjoying the process of making your Perfect Pitch.


Angel Investment for Women Entrepreneurs

Thursday, November 19, 2020
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Presenter: Christine Ferguson, Ferguson Financial Consulting, Inc.
Presentation

Learn about raising investment capital from angel investors, specifically for women founders.

Upcoming CONNECTS Events

Laurie Barkman
connects audience
Alison Alvarez



START SMART LAW Sponsored By

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