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Friday, July 30, 2021


Duolingo IPO: Language Learning App's Stock Goes Public on the Nasdaq Under 'DUOL'

Pittsburgh-based language learning platform Duolingo, raised $521M in its IPO. It priced at $102 (above original and revised ranges), for a $3.66B market value. It will list on the Nasdaq (DUOL) and had raised $183M in VC funding, most recently at a $2.4B valuation, from firms like NewView Capital (20.1% pre-IPO stake), USV (14.2%), CapitalG (13.7%), Kleiner Perkins (10.5%), General Atlantic (7.1%) and Durable Capital Partners.

Read more at Pittsburgh Business Times.

Thursday, July 29, 2021


Pendo Raises $150M at a $2.6M Valuation

Tiger-backed startup, Pendo, a startup that helps companies develop better software products, has raised $150 million at a $2.6 billion valuation with an initial public offering potentially on the horizon. B Capital, the venture capital firm started by billionaire Facebook Inc. co-founder Eduardo Saverin and backed by management adviser Boston Consulting Group, is leading the round, Pendo Chief Executive Officer Todd Olson said in an interview.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

DOE Awards

DOE Awards Over $1.65M To Three CMU Clean Energy Startups

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded three Carnegie Mellon University aligned startups over $1.65 million in SBIR/STTR grant funding for clean energy technology solutions. The startups are Grid Fruit, CorePower Magnetics and Liquid Ion Solutions.

In total, the DOE has awarded $125M to support 110 innovative projects focused on "tackling the climate crisis by harnessing market-oriented solutions and emerging technologies.

Read more at Carnegie Mellon University.

Friday, July 23, 2021


Two VentureBridge Teams Selected to Participate in Techstars Chicago 2021 Cohort

Two Swartz Center 2021 VentureBridge teams, Slingshot and Viral Moment, have recently been accepted into the Techstars Chicago 2021 cohort. Techstars is a global platform for investment and innovation where fewer than 1% of the startup applicants are accepted from around the world.


Slingshot is a platform that connects prodigious high school talent with startups out of Y-Combinator and Techstars. Slingshot is founded by CMU alumni Akshat Prakash, Krishna Dave and Mayank Jain.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Innovation Scholars

A Passion for Entrepreneurship: CMU's Undergraduates Aim To Forge New Paths Through Innovation Scholars Program

CMU's Innovation Scholars program, which provides academic coursework, experience working in a startup, networking and mentorship to rising juniors, was recently highlighted in CMU News. Managed by Sonya Ford, a Program Manager at the CMU Swartz Center, thirteen students were chosen for this
year's cohort.

Several students have utilized the Innovation Scholars program to grow their startups such as Samarth Gowda, a rising senior in statistics and data science, where his platform Pralent is being tested. Avika Bansal, a rising junior in chemical engineering and biomedical engineering, is a member of this year's cohort, and the founder of TurnPRO, an app that provides tools to allow users to share videos, images and notes with coaches, and receive technical and tailored feedback.

The Innovation Scholars program, now in its eighth year, seeks to increase the number of startup companies initiated by or involving undergraduate students.

Read more at Carnegie Mellon University News. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

RE2 Robotics Anniversary

RE2 Robotics Marks 20th Anniversary with Launch of a New Robotic Arm For Outdoor Mobile Applications

Carnegie Mellon University's RE2 Robotics, a leading developer of intelligent mobile robotic manipulation systems, marks its 20th year in business with the launch of its newest robotic arm, the RE2 Sapien™ 6M. The milestone marks two successful decades of innovation and growth for the Company in the
robotics industry.

Originally founded as a defense subcontractor to CMU by alumnus Jorgen Pedersen, the Company incubated at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Read more at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Monday, July 19, 2021



ViralMoment, a 2021 VentureBridge & TechStars Los Angeles Team, is revolutionizing the way people understand Visual Conversations.

Co-founded by Chelsie Hall and Sheyda Demooei, ViralMoment aims to make the internet a better conversational space by using AI and computer vision to interpret video and image content for insight and social analytics, understand trends and predict momentum and virality. This month, ViralMoment released a free version of its web-based image search tool called Discover, which enables creatives, brand strategists and marketing teams to search the internet for the most engaging user-generated content.

Find out more about ViralMoment and connect to learn how you can benefit from Discover.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Digital Dream Labs

Digital Dream Labs Closes $1M Equity Raise 

Pittsburgh-based education technology company Digital Dream Labs closed a $1M equity raise in preparation for a “much larger raise” expected to close this Fall, according to its co-founder and CEO Jacob Hanchar. The equity raise, led by CMU's 99 Tartans, brings the company to a $20M valuation.

Read more at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

OneValley Startup Challenge Winners

OneValley hosted a grand opening of its new innovation center on Thursday, July 8, 2021 inside the Roundhouse at Hazelwood Green. It was the culmination of a series of expansion activities, including the launch of OneValley’s physical presence in Pittsburgh, and the conclusion of the Pittsburgh Startup Challenge, with seven companies pitching in-person at the center.

The first place prize of $25K went to AI-driven farming startup Bloomfield Robotics.The second place prize of $15K went to communication feedback platform TalkMeUp, and third place of $10K went to robotics actuator and clutch developer ESTAT Actuation. Each of the teams also received one year of free access to the Pittsburgh Entrepreneurship Platform and Roundhouse, and they all have participated in many Swartz Center programs such as VentureBridge.

Read more about OneValley and the Pittsburgh Startup Challenge winners.

Friday, July 9, 2021


Innotescus Launches Its Next Gen Video And Image Annotation Platform

Innotescus, co-founded by CMU alumnus Shashank Deshpande, Chris Anderson and Rob Walsh, is announcing the launch of its image and video annotation platform. The Innotescus platform delivers high-performance annotation tools for image and video, bolstered by robust collaboration and analytics features that significantly improve annotation speed and accuracy.

Read more in the press release.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Bloomfield Robotics

CMU's Bloomfield Robotics Wins the Innovation Icon Award at Forbes|THRIVE Future of Food Summit

SVG Ventures and Forbes announced that Israeli-based Autonomous Pivot and US-based Bloomfield Robotics’ are the two winners of the Innovation Icon Award at the seventh annual Demo Day at the Forbes| THRIVE Future of Food Summit. Bloomfield Robotics' crop assessment services rely on a unique and cost-effective combination of ground-based image capture and deep learning-based processing to help farmers efficiently, effectively and affordably assess crops. They will receive up to $250K in investment from SVG Ventures.


Thursday, July 8, 2021


CMU Startups Pitch At OneValley Pittsburgh Startup Challenge Grand Finals

Several CMU startups pitched at the OneValley Pittsburgh Startup Pitch Challenge held on July 8, 2021 at the Hazelwood Green's Roundhouse. Seven of the most exciting Pittsburgh-based startups pitched to a live audience of investors, industry leaders and founders with $50K in cash prizes on the line. The winners will soon be announced.

The startups that pitched were:

  • Bloomfield Robotics - Every Plant Matters
  • Codex Labs - Get the Right Data to the Right Engineer
  • - Smarter Cardiac Triage
  • TalkMeUp - Insights to Communicate Brilliantly
  • Rubitection Inc. - Skin Health Assessment, Reimagined
  • ESTAT Actuation - Making Robots Safer and Less Expensive
  • Civic Champs - Ignite Generosity and Service

Friday, July 2, 2021


Duolingo Files To Go Public 

Language-learning app Duolingo, co-founded by CEO Luis Von Ahn, filed its IPO prospectus on Monday, and plans to list on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol “DUOL. Revenue at the Pittsburgh-based company rose 129% last year to $161.7 million.


Thursday, July 1, 2021

Dave Mawhinney

Dave Mawhinney Shares How Carnegie Mellon is Helping to Foster Its Students Entrepreneurial Ambitions

In an interview conducted by TechCrunch—part of TechCrunch’s City Spotlight on Pittsburgh—CMU Swartz Center Executive Director Dave Mawhinney discusses how Pittsburgh is working to build its own startup community and how the Center—named after Accel founder Jim Swartz—is tasked with helping grow the student body’s entrepreneurial ambitions.

Read more at TechCrunch.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Alex Soto

Prelude Raises $1.2M Seed To Fix Broken Recruiting Process

San Francisco-based Prelude—formerly Interview Schedule—has closed a $1.2M seed round led by Fuel Capital, as the company looks to make scheduling job interviews a little easier.

Prelude, founded by CMU Electrical and Computer Engineering alumnus and CTO Alexander Soto, has now raised $2.4M to date.

Read more at Crunchbase News.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Laurie Barkman

Laurie Barkman, CEO and Founder of SmallDotBig, Becomes M&A Advisor with Stony Hill Advisors

CEO and founder of SmallDotBig Laurie Barkman, is now additionally an M&A advisor with Trevose-based Stony Hill Advisors, enabling it to extend its services to companies in the Pittsburgh region. “She’s going to represent us in western Pennsylvania,” said Paul Visokey, Stony Hill president and founder. “Laurie will work as an M&A advisor with Stony Hill to help business owners buy and sell businesses.”

The Tepper School of Business alumnus and adjunct professor of entrepreneurship also hosts a podcast called Succession Stories.

Read more at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Pat O'Donnell

CMU's Pat O'Donnell Becomes New Head of Headstorm Pittsburgh Office

Headstorm announced that it has appointed Tepper School of Business alumnus Pat O'Donnell as Director of Product and leader of its Pittsburgh office. Pat will carry the Pittsburgh leadership torch to focus the office initiatives in healthcare, higher education and finance and continue Headstorm's transformative growth model.

Read the press release [pdf].

Thursday, June 24, 2021


Mastercard Invests $50M In Deserve Cards

Deserve, a provider of bespoke white label mobile-centric API and SDK-based credit card technology, has raised $50M in a Series D funding round joint-led by Mastercard. Deserve is co-founded by CEO and Tepper School of Business alumnus, Kalpesh Kapadia.


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Marinus Analytics

Marinus Analytics Wins Third Place and $500K in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE Competition

Pittsburgh technology company Marinus Analytics won third place and $500K in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition Wednesday, beating out nearly 800 competitors around the world. Marinus uses artificial intelligence to sift through big data and help law enforcement agencies stop human trafficking and recover victims.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Innovation Scholar Qatar

BA Student Becomes First Innovation Scholar from the Qatar Campus

A rising junior in the Business Administration Program has become the first Innovation Scholar at the Qatar campus. Yusufbek Nasriddinov was one of 13 Carnegie Mellon students accepted into the selective program at the main campus’ Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship.

Find out more about the 2021-23 cohort of Innovation Scholars.

Read more at CMU Qatar.

Friday, June 18, 2021


Fluidform Announces Agreement To Develop 3D Bioprinting Solutions

CMU spinout FluidForm, a leader in the field of human tissue for research, repair, and replacement, signed an agreement with Ethicon, Inc., a member of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, to develop 3D Bioprinted applications using FluidForm’s patented FRESH technology. This collaboration leverages FluidForm’s FRESH™ 3D bioprinting platform to achieve specific tissue characteristics that cannot be manufactured with conventional techniques.

FluidForm is a spinout from the lab of CMU's Adam Feinberg, Biomedical Engineering professor, CTO and Co-founder. Read more (pdf).

Friday, June 11, 2021


Elligo Health Research Acquires Root Health 

Elligo Health Research has announced the acquisition of Root Health, an AI virtual assistant for clinical research co-founded by CMU Tepper alumnus and CEO Raj Sharma. The acquisition of Root Health adds to Elligo’s commitment of building a technology-forward, integrated healthcare-enabling research organization with a full range of capabilities to improve the efficiency of clinical research.


Thursday, June 10, 2021


EKTO VR Raises $340K to Launch Partner Beta Program

EKTO VR, provider of virtual reality movement solutions founded by CMU alumnus and CEO Brad Factor, announced it has closed nearly $340K of investment from Reinforced Ventures, a nationwide angel syndicate based in Pittsburgh, PA. The funds will be used to manufacture development kits, showcase at key industry events and grow the team towards a customer product launch. EKTO VR also participated in the Swartz Center's 2020 VentureBridge program.

Read more at Pittsburgh Business Times.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Delta Trail Capital

Tepper School Alumnus Austen Sybert Becomes Founder of Delta Trail Capital

Tepper School of Business alumnus and Swartz Fellow, Austen Sybert recently founded Delta Trail Capital, an acquisition firm of experienced entrepreneurs, business professionals and middle-market investors. Led by Austen, the goal at Delta Trail Capital is to help an owner exit in a manner that monetizes their hard work and preserves the legacy of the business.

The company seeks to acquire a business-to-business service company with a great team in an industry with strong growth. Following the search and acquisition, Austen will take a daily, active role in managing and leading the business.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021


Meet Isha Hans: The Founder and Artist Behind PumBhirri

When Master of Design student Isha Hans arrived at Carnegie Mellon in 2019, she knew her interests were at the intersection of Design, Entrepreneurship, and emerging technology. Upon arriving, she visited the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship to learn about the Swartz Fellows program and immediately applied. Ever since, Isha has used her design and research skills to successfully engage with the entrepreneurship ecosystem at CMU. She has also founded her first company, PumBhirri, an art based venture where she creates immersive and interactive art, and products, in 2D and 3D.

Isha's interest in innovation and crafting desirable futures has led her to work with multi-disciplinary teams that include fellow designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, strategists and business professionals. Her love for doing multiple things simultaneously manifests in her ability to balance her full-time role as an Innovation Catalyst at Robert Bosch NA’s venture building team along with her new business.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

OneValley Pittsburgh Challenge

CMU Startups Win Semi Finals At OneValley Pittsburgh Startup Challenge

Three CMU startups are among the semi-finalists in the OneValley Pittsburgh Startup Challenge, which was held virtually on June 8, 2021. The startups and founders are: ESTAT Actuation (Stuart Diller); TalkMeUp (JJ Xu) and Rubitection (Sanna Gaspard, PhD).

The Pittsburgh Startup Challenge is a region-wide competition open to pre-seed and seed stage entrepreneurs in any industry. The grand finals will be held at the grand opening of OneValley’s Innovation Center at the Roundhouse in Hazelwood Green on July 8, 2021 with prizes totaling $50K.