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Roboburgh, the Sequel

Robots are back at LaunchCMU.

Robots are back at LaunchCMU.

“Roboburgh, the Sequel,” invited LaunchCMU attendees to experience the ways robotics technology originating at Carnegie Mellon is transforming our economy and our world.

Carnegie Mellon University startups, venture capitalists, investment experts, faculty and alumni joined together in the Jared L. Cohon University Center for the showcase of cutting-edge technology, research and innovation.

The event was modeled after last spring’s Silicon Valley showcase of Pittsburgh’s robotic innovations, “Revealing Roboburgh.” 

“We had such a successful event in Silicon Valley in June, that we got a lot of demand to run Roboburgh again,” said Dave Mawhinney, co-director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), which organized the event. “Only two of the speakers are the same speakers we had in Silicon Valley, so it’s a fresh event, but we wanted to show off our capability in robotics.” 

Carnegie Mellon President Subra Suresh discussed the health and vitality of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship across campus and Carnegie Mellon's alumni community in his address. 

The president recognized startups produced by Carnegie Mellon's award-winning faculty in the past year, and expressed pride in the legacy of entrepreneurship at the university. More than 1,000 companies trace their roots to Carnegie Mellon, creating jobs across the United States and internationally, with the highest concentrations in Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley and India. 

LaunchCMU afforded presenters plenty of time to interact with potential investors, with showcases and networking opportunities taking place throughout the morning and a series of talks by founders and current executives of successful startup companies associated with Carnegie Mellon in the afternoon. Speakers included founding members of Astrobotic, 4moms, Blue Belt Technologies, Medrobotics and Visantica.

Howie Choset, professor of robotics and co-founder of Medrobotics, explained how his company, which adapted technology from snake-like robots for use in minimally invasive surgery, benefitted from the entrepreneurship ecosystem at Carnegie Mellon.

“A company like Medrobotics really could have only formed in Pittsburgh. We’ve already established that Pittsburgh has world-class robotics,” Choset said. “What no place has, other than Pittsburgh, is the combination of medicine, robotics and enterprise.”

Now in its fourth cycle, LaunchCMU bridges the gap between Carnegie Mellon startups and investors on the coasts.

Lenore Blum, co-director of CIE, founding director of Project Olympus and a professor of computer science, said those connections are a key to developing a strong culture of entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh.

“The focus of LaunchCMU is really on the investor community and connecting them with our startups, both those coming directly out of Carnegie Mellon and those by alumni who may not have started their companies while they were here,” Blum said.

Carnegie Mellon based companies featured as part of the Technology Startup and Research Showcase included:

The Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, Project Olympus, Latham & Watkins LLP and Deloitte sponsored LaunchCMU. The next showcase will be held at Carngie Mellon's Silicon Valley location in Spring 2015.