Carnegie Mellon University
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CONNECTS

Our CONNECTS 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.

CONNECTS Through the Years


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

Design Thinking Through New Metaphors*

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Dan Lockton, CMU School of Design and Director of Imaginaries Lab
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

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


START SMART LAW: Overview of Startup Legal Issues

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
CMU Gates Hillman Center 4405
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
Presentation

Learn about the different legal challenges a startup and its lawyer(s) must resolve to launch a business.


Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition*

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Eric Close, Flash Surgical Inc and Forest Lane Capital
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

Interviewing for a job envisioned by someone else? Instead create a job by hiring yourself, finding a company to acquire and transforming the company into a disruption machine. Become a business artist! Express yourself by mastering the nexus of Entrepreneurship and M&A. Opportunities for disruption and innovation are everywhere, get into the game.


Lean Startups*

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU Swartz Center
*Bring your own lunch

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.


Connecting the Best Startup with the Best Talent*

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Brandon Beckhardt, Nav Talent; Baris Akis, Nav Talent
*Lunch will be provided.

Learn how to approach career planning, how to assess various career opportunities, and how to navigate the recruiting space.


Agile Product Development*

Monday, September 24, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Sean Ammirati, Birchmire Ventures
*Bring your own lunch
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.


Business Model Canvas*

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Will Kaigler, CMU Swartz Center
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

The goals of this workshop are to identify and explain innovative business models. Find out what will work and what won’t for developing your business.


START SMART LAW: How to Shop for (and Work with) a Lawyer

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
University of Pittsburgh
Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU Swartz Center; Stephanie Dangel, Pitt Law School

Learn why finding the right lawyer is a key strategic business decision for a startup.Your lawyer can be one of your best business advisers OR a poor choice that costs you time and money. Learn the right questions to ask, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to manage your relationship.


Customer Discovery*

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU Swartz Center
*Bring your own lunch
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.


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

Thursday, September 27, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Frank Demmler, Startup Whisperer, 2 X Frank Entrepreneurial Yoda-for-Hire
*Bring your own lunch
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.


Digital Marketing: It's all about the numbers*

Thursday, October 4, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Erich Boduch, Pendo
*Bring your own lunch

Learn how marketing has changed in the last 10 years while discussing the marketing stack of today, how to experiment and scale a digital marketing organization and look at how a high growth startup grew its revenues.


Setting Up Your Series A Financing*

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Chris Olsen, Drive Capital
*Bring your own lunch

Ever wonder what a venture capitalist is thinking when you approach them about investing in your company?  Are there common pitfalls founders should avoid when starting a company?  If you’ve ever wondered about these questions this talk is for you.  Come hear from a venture capitalist about how you can set up your first meeting to turn into a Series A check.


Financial Modeling*

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Phil Compton, SingleSource Property Solutions
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation
Cap Table Example
Financial Model Template

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 your projections to investors, Board and fellow team members.


What Entrepreneurs Need to Know for their Banking Relationship*

Thursday, October 11, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Justin Krauss, Chase
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

Why is this banker asking me all these questions!? Working with banks is a necessary, yet often a head scratching experience. Whether it’s a credit card, checking account, or investing proceeds from a funding round, we’ll discuss how banks look at entrepreneurs


START SMART LAW: How to Structure Your Business Entity

Monday, October 15, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
University of Pittsburgh
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
Presentation

Learn about different legal entity structures and other startup formation basics, including:

  • LLC v. C and S Corps
    • Founder Arrangements
  • Splitting the Founder's Equity Pie
  • Founder Agreements
    • Employee Equity

The seminar will be followed by a workshop during which experienced startup counsel will oversee law students and startups, who will work together to develop a legal 'roadmap' on recommended entity structuring, operating agreement and other formation issues. To participate, startups must not yet have formed a company, and they must submit a current Business Concept Template to kit@cs.cmu.edu. Law students interested in working with the startups should contact Stephanie Dangel, SAD111@pitt.edu. A limited number of startups and law students will be selected to participate in the roadmap process.


Design for Manufacturability*

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Elijah Wiegmann, Founder of Base Design Studio
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

Today's entrepreneurs understand the importance of design in creating the best products and services. Unfortunately, most try to "save up" for design, sometime in the future. If design is at the forefront of the process, it can actually save a ton of money, time and energy. Elijah will be discussing how, and his experience in bringing hundreds of products to market.


Intellectual Property Management from the Entrepreneur Perspective*

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Will Kaigler, CMU Swartz Center
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

Learn tips on how to manage your IP assets for the entrepreneur rather than the lawyer.


How do you get investment with supply-chain management from Japan?*

Thursday, October 18, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Nobuhiro Seki, FabFoundry
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

Do you assume manufacturing in Japan is expensive? It's not only higher-quality but inexpensive as you thought. Learn alternative manufacturing supply-chain services.


Insurance for Startups*

Monday, October 22, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Paul Malone, USI Insurance Services, Tyler Smelko & Erin Terpack, Chubb Insurance
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

Insurance 101 for startup companies - presented by USI Insurance Services and Chubb Insurance


START SMART LAW: How to Structure Your Capital Raise (Part 1)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
CMU Gates Hillman Center 4405
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, B, and C rounds, including:

  • Structuring investments to maximize growth
  • Funding from incubators/accelerators, government and foundations
  • Opportunities available through the JOBS Act (does this still apply?)
  • Crowd sourcing and SEC regulations

Licensing Technology: Both Sides of the Coin*

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Will Kaigler, CMU Swartz Center, Craig Markovitz, CMU Swartz Center, Anita Jesionowski, CMU College of Engineering
*Bring your own lunch

Come watch Will Kaigler and Craig Markovitz role play a typical licensing merger through the eyes of a university entrepreneur and a larger corporate development office.


Franchising - Opportunities are Everywhere*

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Chris Cynkar, FranChoice
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

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.


START SMART LAW: How to Handle Your (and Others’) Intellectual Property

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
University of Pittsburgh
Presenter: George Dickos & Lauren Murray, K&L Gates
Intellectual Property
LSM Patent and Trademark Search

Learn how to deal with intellectual property issues, including:

  • What are copyright, patents, trademarks and trade secrets
  • How to protect your company's IP
  • How not to infringe on another's IP
  • How to handle IP created by your employees, including non-compete clauses

Building a Succesful Team*

Thursday, November 1, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU Swartz Center / Project Olympus
*Bring your own lunch
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.


Effective Investor Presentations*

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Jim Jen, Innovation Works/AlphaLab
*Bring your own lunch
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, we will talk about other factors that are important to raising investment and building investor relationships.


START SMART LAW: How to Negotiate a Term Sheet for Your Capital Raise

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 pm
University of Pittsburgh
Presenter: David Lehman & Henry Snyder, K&L Gates

Learn how to address the legal and business issues associated with investing in startup companies, including strategies in negotiating valuation, founder and investor rights, vesting, management and exits. In this interactive workshop, participants will divide into two groups, investor startup, each working with an experienced lawyer. Both groups will decide independently on the terms they want and then come together for the negotiation led by the lawyers.


Converting Patents from Concrete Shoes to Lifelines*

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Sreekar Gadde, Dynamics, Inc. & Jason Somma, Aldsia, LLC
*Bring your own lunch
Presentation

Too many times, patents are concrete shoes that weigh startups down by wasting precious time and money without providing any value.  But they can also be business lifelines opening access to funding and technology now and in the future.  We will discuss how you can develop a valuable patent portfolio strategy by addressing the 3 questions you need to answer before you talk with an attorney: Why do you need a patent; What should the patent cover; and when should you apply for coverage.  With this framework, you will be able to guide your attorneys to help develop a patent portfolio that drives real value.


Creating a Succesful Video Pitch*

Thursday, November 8, 2018
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad
Presenter: Brian Staszel, CMU
*Bring your own lunch
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!