Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has announced the schedule for CMU’s Winter/Spring 2015 CONNECTS Series, a succession of activities and events designed for aspiring entrepreneurs and students interested in innovation and new business creation. CONNECTS features presentations, panel discussions and workshops designed to help students take their ideas from conception to commercialization.
The series gives a detailed look into many aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation, and helps prepare students who want to participate in case competitions and obtain investment funding. Individuals can register for sessions here. For more information, contact Allyson Hince at email@example.com.
The spring 2015 CONNECTS workshops include:
Benefits and Perils of Using Open Source Code for your Startup
Friday, Jan. 23 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Elijah Mayfield, Lightside
Elijah Mayfield, a former Ph.D. student from the Language Technologies Institute at CMU, is CEO of LightSide Labs and led his company to acquisition by Turnitin in 2014. He will share his experience with commercializing research software in educational technology, discuss LightSide’s founding, growth and sale; and the role that open source software and intellectual property played in the startup’s success.
Start Smart: F-1 Visa
Thursday, Jan.29 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Gates Center 6115
Students with an F-1 Visa can legally start businesses as well as work on a startup team. Come learn the details of how without violating your student status. Panel discussion includes: David Kalson, Cohen & Grigsby, Director of the Emerging Business Group; Larry Lebowitz, Cohen & Grigsby, Director of the Immigration Group; and Linda Gentile, CMU, director, Office of International Education.
Making Things Here (Pittsburgh)
Friday, Jan. 30from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: 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. Ilana Diamond of AlphaLab Gear will discuss why CMU entrepreneurs are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the renewed interest in physical products and will showcase some of the resources available to help physical product founders get their products from idea to market.
Start Smart: Business Formation Seminar and Workshop
Thursday, Feb. 5 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh, Barco Law Building, Room 111
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
This seminar will cover the basic legal issues involved in Entity Formation, followed by a workshop where startups that are pre-company formation will have the chance to meet with law students who will develop a ‘roadmap’ covering recommended structure, operating agreement and other formation issues. Startups interested in participating in the workshop should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Law students interested in participating in the workshop should contact SAD111@pitt.edu.
Wednesday, Feb. 11 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Learn how to make your startup lean and efficient using entrepreneurial best practices. This workshop is led by Dave Mawhinney, co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Dave is also the managing director of the OFEF. Prior to his role at Carnegie Mellon, Dave was the co-founder and CEO of mSpoke and has more than 20 years of experience starting companies.
Insurance for Startups: What Do I Need and When?
Friday, Feb. 13 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Sean Ruppert, Century Insurance Consultants, LTD
Join us to 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. This workshop is led by Sean Ruppert, a commercial insurance producer and practicing business attorney.
Start Smart: Raising Capital (Part 1)
Tuesday, Feb. 17 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
Learn about the legal issues associated with raising capital through friends and family, seed and series A, B, C, etc. The presenter, David Lehman, partner at K&L Gates, will discuss structuring the investments to maximize growth, opportunities available because of the new JOBS Act, crowd sourcing and proposed SEC regulation, and funding from incubators/accelerators, government and foundations.
Wednesday, Feb. 18 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Phil Compton, Malcovery
Learn the basics and get insight from presenter Phil Compton, veteran of several Pittsburgh startups and the CFO/Co-Founder of the cyber security company Malcovery Security. Understanding how to incorporate assumptions and to discuss key terms such as burn rate, cash runway and EBITDA will allow you to more confidently support your projections to investors and your fellow team members.
Building and Growing an Entrepreneurial Team
Friday, Feb. 20 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Art Boni, Tepper School of Business
Join Art Boni, the John R. Thorne Distinguished Career Professor of Entrepreneurship, for an insightful workshop that will focus on real situations involving startup and growth-stage teams. The workshop will end with a moderated and interactive panel of entrepreneurs who have had direct experience in multiple companies.
Splitting the Equity Pie
Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Frank Demmler, Innovation Works
This workshop is led by Frank Demmler, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, vice president of the Entrepreneurial Services Team at Innovation Works. Equity compensation can be a very mysterious concept for first-time entrepreneurs. From the division of the Founders' Pie through stock option grants, critical decisions must be made with an appreciation of their importance.
Agile Product Development
Wednesday, March 4 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Sean Ammirati, Birchmere Ventures & Labs
Learn an iterative and interactive framework to manage the process of building your startup’s technology solution. We will offer specific tips for implementing this in your venture and hear case studies from local Pittsburgh companies who have taken advantage of these techniques. This workshop is led by Sean Ammirati, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and partner at Birchmere Labs and Birchmere Ventures.
Start Smart: Raising Capital (Part 2): Negotiating a Term Sheet
Thursday, March 5 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates & Henry Snyder, K&L Gates
David Lehman and Henry Snyder, partners at K&L Gates, will address the business and legal issues associated with investments in start-up companies, including strategies in negotiating these arrangements, valuation, founder and investor rights, vesting, management, and exits. In this interactive workshop participants will be divided into two groups – one to represent the investor, the other to represent the company. Both will decide independently on the terms they want and then come back together for the negotiation led by the lawyers.
Start Smart: Protecting Your Company’s IP
Thursday, March 19 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh, Barco Law Building, Room 111
Presenter: Mike Lazzara, K&L Gates & Lauren Shuttleworth, K&L Gates
This seminar led by Mike Lazzara and Lauren Shuttleworth of K&L Gates will cover how not to infringe on another’s IP, how to handle IP created by your employees including non-compete clauses, and which to use: copyright, patents, trademarks or trade secrets. Bring your laptop to this session to get an introductory overview of how to do different types of patent searches and tips on how you can describe your invention to avoid infringing on other patents.
Sales Prospecting & Process
Friday, March 20 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Bryan Whittington, Peak Performance Management, Inc.
Bryan Whittington, a 20-year veteran sales person, from Peak Performance Management, Inc., covers topics regarding how to get into an organization at the right level and at the right time, how to shorten the sales cycle and stay in front of the decision makers, and how to create the ideal value proposition for each situation, how to drive to a decision without looking like a stereotypical salesperson.
Start Smart: Startup Personnel: Employees, Interns, Volunteers and Contractors
Tuesday, Apr. 21 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh, Barco Law Building, Room 111
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates & Mike Pavlick, K&L Gates
Learn about the different types of startup personnel, including students working on projects, unpaid internships, independent contractors and employees. David Lehman and Mike Pavlick of K&L Gates will cover important information about contracts with employees and independent contractors, as well as employee equity issues.
Do It Right the First Time (Setting Up Your Back Office)
Wednesday, Apr. 22 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Bill Richardson, Sisterson & Co. LLP
Learn practical tax, accounting and business considerations that business owners face in their first year of operations. This workshop is led by William M. Richardson, CPA, a tax partner with Sisterson & Co. LLP, where he heads up the firm’s Emerging Growth Niche Team. Bill has extensive experience working with companies at all stages of growth. He is responsible for federal and state tax compliance planning for his clients and has a consulting focus on merger and acquisition transactions.