Carnegie Mellon University
January 15, 2016

Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Launches Spring 2016 CONNECTS Series

The spring 2016 Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) CONNECTS series — a succession of activities and events geared toward aspiring entrepreneurs and students interested in new business creation — will be held Jan. 20-April 21 across a variety of Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh venues.

CONNECTS was designed to enhance the experiential education of any individual interested in venture capitalism and entrepreneurship, and to help student innovators take their ideas from conception to commercialization. Each semester, the series features presentations, panel discussions and workshops that prepare students for competitions, networking and entrepreneurial coursework.

Individuals can register for sessions here. For more information, contact Allyson Hince at

The spring 2016 CONNECTS workshops include:


CANCELLED: Start Smart: Company Formation

(To be rescheduled)

Presented by: David Lehman, K&L Gates

Learn the basic legal issues that can occur with entity formation, including founder arrangements, founder employment arrangements, splitting the founder's equity pie, founder agreements and employee equity. The seminar will be followed by a workshop that will assist startups in the pre-company formation stage with developing a roadmap that covers recommended structure, operating agreements and other formation issues. (If you have a startup and would like to participate in the workshop, contact If you are a law student interested in participating, contact


Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 101

Wed., Feb. 3 from 4:30 pm to 6:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Paul Petrovich, University of Pittsburgh

Learn about Small Business Innovation Research (SBIRs) in this training event presented by the University of Pittsburgh’s Paul Petrovich.


Making Things Here

Fri., Feb. 5 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Ilana Diamond, AlphaLab Gear

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 hardware and manufactured products. Learn why Carnegie Mellon entrepreneurs are positioned to take advantage of the renewed interest in physical products and the resources available to help get their products from idea to market.


The Lean Startup

Wed., Feb. 10  from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Dave Mawhinney, associate teaching professor of entrepreneurship; executive director of the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship; co-director of the Carnegie Mellon University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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.


Financial Modeling

Wed., Feb. 17 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in CIC 1201

Presented by: Phil Compton, CEO Malcovery Security

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 into understanding how to incorporate assumptions and discuss key terms such as burn rate, cash runway and EBITDA will allow you to support more confidently your projections to investors and fellow team members.


Start Smart: Raising Capital Part 1

Thurs., Feb. 18 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh Barco Law Building, Room 107

Presented by: David Lehman, K&L Gates

Learn about the legal issues associated with raising capital through friends and family, seed, series A, B, C and more; structuring investments to maximize growth; opportunities available because of the new JOBS Act; crowdsourcing and proposed SEC regulation; funding from incubators/accelerators, government and foundations.


Agile Product Development

Wed., Feb. 24 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in CIC 1201

Presented by: Sean Ammirati, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship; Birchmere Ventures & Labs

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.


Start Smart: Protecting Your Company’s IP + Unraveling Student IP

Mon., Feb. 29 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh Barco Law Building, Room 107

Presented by: George Dickos, Lauren Shuttleworth Murray and David Lehman, K&L Gates

Learn about legal issues related to intellectual property, including protecting your company's IP, not infringing on another's IP, handling IP created by your employees, including non-compete clauses, determining which IP protection to use — copyright, patents, trademarks and/or trade secrets; first to file vs. first to invent; changes in U.S. patent law; and handling IP created by Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh students.


Splitting the Equity Pie & Other Aspects of Equity Compensation

Wed., March 2 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Frank Demmler, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship; Innovation Works

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.


Insurance for Startups: What Do I Need and When?

Wed., March 16 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Sean Ruppert, Century Insurance Consultants

For startups running on a lean budget, obtaining the right insurance is essential. Learn about the unique risks that can arise when running your business, when you should address those risks and how they can be addressed with insurance.


Start Smart: Raising Capital Part 2 – Negotiating a Term Sheet Case Study

Thurs., March 17 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in Gates 4405

Presented by: David Lehman and Henry Snyder, K&L Gates

Attend this interactive workshop to learn how to address the business and legal issues associated with making investments in startups, including negotiation strategies, valuation, founder and investor rights, vesting, management, and exits. Participants will divide into two groups — one to represent the investor and the other to represent the company. Both will decide independently on the terms they want and then reunite for the negotiation led by the lawyers.


Patent Search

Fri., March 18 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the Gates Hillman Center 6115

Presented by: Reed McManigle, Carnegie Mellon Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC)

Join CTTEC’s Reed McManigle, while he guides you through the process of conducting a patent search in your field of research. After a brief overview of the patent system and process, Reed will discuss patent searching strategies to determine novelty and freedom to operate. Individuals or teams will then conduct their patent search with real-time feedback on their strategies and results.


Getting Started with Sales

Wed., April 6 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Bruce Smith, Achieving Sales Results

How do you grow your company when you lack customers or references? How do you hire your first sales person and manage them? Learn about startup sales and techniques that help you get in the door, close the sale, and how to set sales goals.


Start Smart: Social Enterprise — Profit with a Purpose

Thurs., April 7 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Stephanie Dangel, IPI, University of Pittsburgh Law School

This is a must-attend event for anyone interested in starting and running a company that blends profit with purpose. Learn about for-profit, non-profit and hybrid social enterprise entities and the legal issues related to each entity choice, including financing and employment issues.


Buy-Sell Agreements and NDAs

Fri., April 8 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Daniel Lynch, The Lynch Law Group

Join Daniel Lynch as he gives an overview of the differences between agreements associated with corporations and LLCs. You will learn about Non-Disclosure Agreements (Confidentiality Agreements) — when to use one and how to determine if your agreement should be one-sided or reciprocal — and the six trigger events that form the basis of an Operating/Buy-Sell Agreement: death, disability, divorce, bankruptcy, retirement and voluntary quit.


Convertible Promissory Note – Understanding the Key Terms

Wed., April 13 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Peter Papagianakis, Business Law Firm L

Learn the basic legal issues and pitfalls of issuing convertible promissory notes for your startup. The following topics will be discussed: pros and cons of issuing promissory notes vs. shares of preferred stock to angel investors, discount and caps on valuation and their effects, mandatory conversion vs. optional conversion, reasonable interest rates, and legal documents accompanying the promissory note.


Setting Up Your Back Office

Wed., April 20from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: William Richardson, Sisterson & Co. L

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


Start Smart: Preparing for an Exit

Thurs., April 21 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in Gates 4405

Presented by: David Lehman, K&L Gates

Acquisitions are the most common form of exit. Learn how to prepare the company for sale, including the due diligence process, sale process and potential auctions, the role of investment bankers, tax implications, typical structures, including earn-outs, employment and non-competition obligations.