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Friday, June 9, 2023

Alison Alvarez

BlastPoint Elevates Past $5.25M

BlastPoint Inc., a software firm that provides companies with affordable and accessible AI-powered data tools for market analysis and other metrics, has surpassed an investment milestone of over $5.25M in seed funding and it's looking to increase its workforce by about 50% of its current headcount before the end of the year. BlastPoint Inc. is co-founded by CEO Alison Alvarez and CTO Tomer Bornstein.

Read more at Pittsburgh Inno.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Gather AI

Gather AI Featured Among Five Startups with Novel Solutions to Materials Handling and Supply Chain

Sankalp Arora, CEO and co-founder of Gather AI, a drone-powered inventory monitoring startup, offers a new approach to materials handling and supply chain. “This is robotics-as-a-service. The end user is paying for data not drones. Gather AI owns the drones and programs them to fly autonomously in the DC. The data they collect is what the end user receives to update inventory databases,” Arora explains.

Read at MMH.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Refiberd Wins H&M Foundation's Global Change Award

Refiberd Wins H&M Foundation's Global Change Award

CEO and co-founder of Refiberd's Sarika Bajaj, has announced that the company is one of five recipients of the H&M Foundation's Global Change Award, an early-stage innovation challenge seeking bright minds that can transform fashion. The company, which helps to ensure the efficient and accurate sorting of textiles for recycling applications, is also a 2020 participant in the Swartz Center's VentureBridge program.

Read at H&M Foundation.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Three CMU Alumni Named to Forbes 30 Under 30 In Energy

Three Carnegie Mellon University Alumni Named to Forbes 30 Under 30 In Energy

Forbes recently named three CMU Engineering alumni to its 30 Under 30 in Energy, Manufacturing & Industry lists for their innovative developments. The alumni founders are: Peter McHale, co-founder of Gaia AI, Olivia Dippo, co-founder of Limelight Steel and Shashank Sripad, co-founder of At Battery Aero, Inc.

Read at CMU.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Parthean App

Parthean AI Can Now Analyze Your Finances, 24/7

Without any prompting, Parthean, a 2021 VentureBridge startup founded by Arman Hezarkhani, will find new ways for its users to save money, make money and highlight perks. Click below to preview Parthean in the App Store.

Preview the Parthean App.

Friday, May 26, 2023


PECA Labs Achieves MASA Valve Successful First-In-Human Implant

Founded in 2012, PECA Labs®, Inc. is a Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh spin-off focused on the pediatric and cardiovascular surgical device spaces. Co-founded by Carnegie Mellon alumni Doug Bernstein, CEO, Arush Kalra, MD, CSO and Jamie Quinterno, COO, PECA Labs's MASA Valve, its novel, fully-polymeric pulmonary valved conduit, has been successfully implanted in an historic first-in-human case.

Read the Investor Update for more.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

ESTAT Actuation

VentureBridge Company ESTAT Actuation Wins $10K at Phoenix Contact Startup Challenge at Automate!

ESTAT Actuation, the deep-tech hardware company pioneering components that make robot solutions safer, more capable and less expensive, took first place and $10K at the Phoenix Contact Startup Challenge at Automate on May 23, 2023. Co-founded by Stuart Diller, Ph.D., ESTAT is a participant in the 2021 VentureBridge cohort. Also a finalist in the Startup Challenge was 2022 Venture Bridge company, Voaige, Inc., builder of vision AI based software for robotic automation, founded by Dipan Pal, Ph.D.

Read at Automate.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Mara McFadden

Endolumik CEO Mara McFadden Named to Pittsburgh Business Times 2023 Women of Influence

Mara McFadden, CMU Tepper School of Business alumna and co-founder and CEO of Endolumik, Inc., a medical device startup, has been selected to the Pittsburgh Business Times 2023 Women of Influence. McFadden hopes that her leadership as co-founder and CEO of a medical device startup can serve as a path that other women can follow, even if that journey is an upward climb for most.

Read at Pittsburgh Business Times.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Kofi Ampadu

Andreessen Horowitz Partner Kofi Ampadu Joins ForbesBLK Advisory Board

Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business alumnus and Andreessen Horowitz partner Kofi Ampadu, has joined the advisory board of the newly expanded and rebranded ForbesBLK—a global community of Black entrepreneurs, professionals, leaders and creators who are driving systematic change in business, culture and society. Kofi is also general partner at SKU'd Ventures, which invests in pre-seed CPG startups.

Read more about ForbesBLK.

Monday, May 22, 2023 Raises $7M Series A Funding Round, a company Carnegie Robotics spun out in 2020, has closed on a $7M funding round, bringing its total outside investment to just over $11M to date. The maker of robotics-based autonomy stacks for industrial equipment manufacturers, plans to use the funding to continue building out its workforce. CMU Tepper School of Business alumnus Daniel Beaven is the CFO at Carnegie Robotics.

Read more on Pittsburgh Inno.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Laurie Barkman

Business Exit Planning Expert Laurie Barkman Launches The Business Transition Handbook

Tepper School of Business adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship and CEO of SmallDotBig, LLC Laurie Barkman recently launched her new book, The Business Transition Handbook, which is being sold on Amazon. "Laurie Barkman has written an indispensable guide for entrepreneurs who are facing the decision of what is next for their business and life's work. The Business Transition Handbook is a must read for those entrepreneurs", says Dave Mawhinney, Executive Director of the CMU Swartz Center.

The host of the Succession Stories podcast is also an EIR at CMU's Swartz Center and an instructor with the Corporate Startup Lab, a CMU Swartz Center Initiative.

Read more at PR Newswire.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Christopher Elston

Christopher Elston, Poets & Quants MBA Best and Brightest Class of 2023

Recent Tepper School of Business MBA graduate Christopher Elston, has been awarded the Poets & Quants MBA Best & Brightest, class of 2023. Chris has been an invaluable member of the CMU Swartz Center, having immersed himself into the Entrepreneurship ecosystem at the start of the Tepper MBA program, applying and being accepted as a James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow (2020-21), becoming president of the Graduate Entrepreneurship Club (GEC) and an MBA partner for the 99 Tartans investment fund.

Read more at Poets&Quants.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Nick Bartel

Idelic CEO Nick Bartel Awarded Leadership in Private Company Governance Award

Tepper School of Business MBA alumnus and Idelic CEO and cofounder Nick Bartel was recently awarded the Leadership in Private Company Governance award at the 2023 Director of the Year Awards ceremony, presented by the NACD Three Rivers Chapter. Nick is a 2014-16 James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow.

Read more on LinkedIn.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The May 2023 Customer Discovery Kickstart Program Cohort Has Been Selected.png

The May 2023 Customer Discovery Kickstart Program Cohort Has Been Selected

The CMU Swartz Center's Project Olympus Incubator has selected its May 2023 cohort for its Customer Discovery Kickstart, a program for early-stage startups to explore the feasibility of their business ideas.

Startup teams in the four-week program will learn about the fundamentals of customer discovery, including conducting customer discovery interviews, and will receive coaching from experienced Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Teams include graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni from many Carnegie Mellon University schools and departments including the School of Computer Science, College of Engineering, Mellon College of Science and Heinz College. Two of the cohort members, Ram Potham (SCS - bottom photo) and Deniz Mehmet Birlikci (SCS, top center) are also Innovation Scholars.

Applications are open for the next cohort beginning June 14th. The deadline to apply is May 31st.

For information about the Kickstart program, contact Melanie Simko, Program Manager.

Meet the teams.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The White House Calls Pittsburgh 'A Hub for Innovation' As It Moves to Boost Investment

The White House Calls Pittsburgh 'A Hub for Innovation' As It Moves to Boost Investment

The city of Pittsburgh was one of five sites that the Biden administration designated as workforce hubs to encourage more public and private investment in new and innovative industries. Pittsburgh was singled out for its emerging robotics, biomanufacturing and clean energy industries.

Read more at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Read more at Pittsburgh Inno.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Duo’s Taqueria Opens as Full-service Mexican Restaurant From Duolingo

Duo’s Taqueria Opens as Full-service Mexican Restaurant From Duolingo

Duo's Taquería, which opened in June 2022 on the ground floor of Duolingo's headquarters on Penn Avenue via a now-replaced outdoor walk-up counter, has reopened as a roughly 2,600-square-foot space featuring a bar, dining and event areas that can seat up to 130 people who are looking to indulge on authentic cuisine inspired by food from Mexico City.

Read more at Pittsburgh Inno.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Meredith Meyer Grelli

Meredith Meyer Grelli Awarded the George Leland Bach Excellence in Teaching Award

Meredith Grelli, Assistant Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship at the CMU Tepper School of Business, has been awarded the George Leland Bach Excellence in Teaching Award. This award for outstanding classroom instruction is given to a faculty member chosen by the graduating MBA class from a list of faculty nominees. The award will be presented to Meredith at Carnegie Mellon University's graduation ceremony this Saturday.

Meredith, also an Entrepreneur in Residence at CMU's Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, also founded, led and sold two craft beverage companies—Wigle Whiskey and Threadbare Cider & Mead. She is a two time James Beard Semi-Finalist for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, Beer Professional and was named 100 Women to Watch in the U.S. by the Business Times.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Steve Feyer

Tepper School of Business Alumnus Steve Feyer Encourages Tartans to Get Their Will and Estate Plans In Place

Tepper School of Business alumnus and 2013-14 James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow Steve Feyer is planning ahead for the future and supporting Carnegie Mellon students in his charitable giving plans. The Director of Product Marketing at plans to create a fellowship benefiting MBA students at the Tepper School of Business after his passing. “For me, it was an easy choice to create a fellowship at Carnegie Mellon with my estate. I got so much from Carnegie Mellon. It’s never been a question in my mind to give back.”

Read more at Carnegie Mellon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023


Duolingo's Paying Subscriber Count Jumps 63% as theCompany Cites Importance Of AI Tools to Grow Users

During t East Liberty-based company's Q1 earnings call, Duolingo (NASDAQ: DUOL) CEO and Co-Founder Luis von Ahn said the language learning platform makers are already using AI to create educational content at a faster and cheaper pace than before. That's saving time across the company's roughly 600-person workforce and it's leading to a better product for its users, von Ahn said.

Read more at Pittsburgh Inno.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023


Honeycomb Credit CEO Becomes Member of Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee 

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced fourteen new members of the Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee, and Honeycomb Credit CEO, George Cook, is one of those new members. Co-founded by George Cook, CEO and CMU alumnus Christian Bilger, COO, Honeycomb Credit provides a platform for growing local businesses to borrow money from everyday investors.


Friday, May 5, 2023


TalkMeUp Adds Technology That Analyzes Video Call Audience Reactions and Engagement

TalkMeUp, founded by Tepper School of Business alumna JJ Xu, has added Live Meeting Analysis to its award-winning platform, expanding its feature set and impact on individual and organizational communication effectiveness. TalkMeUp is an AI based software company focused on corporate communication training.

Read more at Business Wire.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Howie Choset

Howie Choset Wins 2023 PIPLA Inventor of the Year Award

Carnegie Mellon's Howie Choset, the Kavcic-Moura Professor of Computer Science, is the recipient of the 2023 PIPLA (Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Law Association) Inventor of the Year Award. Choset founded HEBI Robotics in 2014 to help bring his “Modular Robotic Units” to the world. PIPLA’s mission is to support Intellectual Property professionals in the greater Pittsburgh area and beyond. Read full bio (pdf).


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

AFWERX Awards Contract to Near Earth Autonomy .png

AFWERX Awards Contract to Near Earth Autonomy

The US Air Force's AFWERX has chosen CMU spinout Near Earth Autonomy, led by CMU Ph.D. and CEO Sanjiv Singh, to collaborate on a reliability standard for autonomous aerial transport as part of the Autonomy Prime program. AFWERX Deputy Director and Tepper School of Business alumnus Phil Hahn recently worked out of the Swartz Center and has participated in many of its programs.


Wednesday, May 3, 2023


ToyzSTEAM Turning Kids Into Superheroes Through Video Games

CBS News host Heather Abraham sits down with Toyz Electronics founders Damola and Wole Idowu, a father and son duo inspiring kids to learn STEAM subjects through video game superheroes.