News

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Announces Fall 2015 CONNECTS Series Lineup

The Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will once again be hosting its annual CONNECTS Series, a succession of activities and events geared toward aspiring entrepreneurs and students interested in new business creation.

Designed to provide a detailed exploration of the many aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation, CONNECTS features presentations, panel discussions and workshops that will prepare students for competitions, networking and entrepreneurial coursework, and help them take their ideas from conception to commercialization.

The CONNECTS Series is kickedoff by an Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, which will be held in the Rashid Auditorium in the Gates-Hillman Center on Saturday, September 12. This day-long, immersive workshop will feature sessions related to connecting with the entrepreneurial community at Carnegie Mellon, idea generation, and the best practices of startup success. The event wraps up with a networking reception at the Project Olympus site. Register for Bootcamp.

Individuals can register for sessions here. For more information, contact Allyson Hince at ahince@andrew.cmu.edu.

The fall 2015 CONNECTS workshops include:


Evaluating a Good Idea

Thursday, September 17 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Gates 6115

Presented by: Kit Needham, entrepreneur-in-residence, Project Olympus

Do you have lots of ideas but don’t know which one to pursue? Get some simple ‘first steps’ to help narrow down the list and determine which of those are good uses of your time.

 

Creating a Successful Student Business Team

Friday, September 18 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Kit Needham, entrepreneur-in-residence, Project Olympus and Bill Courtright, Carnegie Mellon University

Do you have an idea for a startup but need to find co-founders or teammates? Or, have you worked on a business startup as part of a class project and want to pursue it afterwards – with or without some of your classmates? Learn successful techniques to help your team create a solid foundation that can help your startup thrive, attract funding and avoid problems in the future.

 

START SMART: Contract Basics

Thursday, September 24 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.  at the University of Pittsburgh’s Barco Law Building, Room 107

Presented by: David Lehman & Susan Altman, K&L Gates

This seminar will address what startup business owners should know about contracts and the contracting processes, including pre-agreements (e.g., binding and non-binding letters of intent, term sheets and memoranda of understanding), common terms in contracts and typical types of contracts (e.g., licenses, leases, corporate agreements, commercial and customer contracts and employment agreements).

 

CONNECTS: The Business Model Canvas

Friday, September 25 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in Gates 6115

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 goals of this workshop are to identify and explain innovative business models. Find out what will work and what won’t for developing your business.

 

Special Seminar: Customer and Competitor Discovery via Database Research

Wednesday, September 30 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Gates 4405

Presented by: Roye Werner, business and economics librarian

Good market research informs the planning of any entrepreneurial venture and underlies its success. This workshop will use demonstrations and hands-on activities to show you how to maximize the information resources available from the CMU Libraries to conduct secondary market research.

 

The Lean Startup

Thursday, October 1 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in Gates 4405

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 offers a technical approach to generating and managing startups and gets an anticipated product or service to customers' hands faster. Learn how to make your startup lean and efficient using entrepreneurial best practices.

 

Financial Modeling

Wednesday, October 7 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. Gates 4405

Presented by: Phil Compton, Malcovery

If you’re going to start a company, mapping out your financial projections will be an important part of that process. 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 fellow team members. Learn the basics and gain insight.

 

Agile Product Development

Wednesday, October 14 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Tepper 322

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: Raising Capital

Thursday, October 15 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in Gates 6115

Presented by: 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. Discuss the following:  Structuring the investments to maximize growth, opportunities available due to the new JOBS Act, crowdsourcing and proposed SEC regulation, funding from incubators/accelerators, government and foundations

 

Special Seminar: Creating an Effective Landing Page for Your Business

Friday, October 16 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Will Lutz, ConnectWith

Do you find yourself asking, “what’s the point of an effective landing page and why are they so?” In this interactive workshop find out key concepts and how to write effective copy for landing pages.

 

Splitting the Equity Pie & Other Aspects of Equity Compensation

Wednesday, October 21 from 3:00 to 4:30 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. From the division of the Founders' Pie through stock option grants, critical decisions must be made. Learn how to make these decisions.

 

START SMART: Protecting Your IP Seminar

Tuesday, October 27 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh’s Barco Law Building, Room 107

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

This seminar will cover legal issues related to intellectual property, including: How to protect your company's IP, how not to infringe on another's IP, how to handle IP created by your employees, including non-compete clauses, which IP protection to use: copyright, patents, trademarks and/or trade secrets, first to file vs. first to invent: changes in US patent law

 

Improv Sales - Acting for a Customer Audience

Wednesday, October 28 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Adam Paulisick, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship; Nielsen Catalina Solutions

The art of Improv Comedy has been around since 391 BC. Before Improv Comedy had a name sales people have been using it to build rapport, make friends, lead teams and sell just about anything. If you are interested in getting better at sales or team building, attend this workshop to improve presence and verbal delivery.

 

Special Seminar: Deciphering Google Analytics

Friday, October 30 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. in Gates 4405

Presented by: Marta DePaul Dalton, ANSYS, Inc.

The web provides nearly unlimited opportunities to measure and track customer behavior, but the challenge is knowing what to look for.  This workshop will provide you with the foundational skills to identify and measure your key metrics in Google Analytics including: What to measure & why, how to identify your conversion metrics and setting up goals, overview of standard reports in Google Analytics, including how you can customize them to meet the needs of your site & metrics, custom reports & dashboards, using Regular Expressions to get more specific information, & Advanced Reporting tips & tricks, Working in Excel using key formulas & pivot tables to garner insights that Google Analytics can't do alone

 

START SMART: Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Startup

Tuesday, November 3 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in Gates 6115

Presented by: Kit Needham, co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, founding director of Project Olympus; and Stephanie Dangel, University of Pittsburgh Law School

Finding the right lawyer is a key strategic business decision for a startup. Your lawyer can be one of your best business advisers OR a poor choice that costs you time and money. Learn the right questions to ask, how to avoid common mistakes and how to manage your relationship.

 

The Art of the Pitch

Wednesday, November 4 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Des O’Connor, Innovation Works

Is your pitch investor effective? Learn about the strategies, tactics and rationale for the successful investor pitch.

 

Creating a Successful Video Pitch

Friday, November 6 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: TBD

Is your video pitch effective for competing in an online business competition for entrepreneurs? Learn how to create a successful video and capture the attention of venture capitalists. HINT: If you are planning to participate in the McGinnis Venture Competition, your first video pitch will determine if you advance to the second round!

 

How to Pitch to Angels

Wednesday, November 11 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Don Morrison, BlueTree Allied Angels

Angels invest much more than VCs and at earlier stages, which means that angel investors may be a vital source of funding for your startup. Learn how to deliver a pitch that stands out from the crowd.

 

Special Seminar: The Price of Admission: Communicating Effectively

Friday, November 13 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Gates 6115

Presented by: Emily Stark, associate director of the Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Your competence in communicating can make a big difference in your entrepreneurial success. How do you ‘speak to’ your audience in text? What are useful, persuasive tactics you can use? What are common blunders to avoid? In this special workshop, practice your writing and analysis skills to improve your ability to persuade. The 1-2 page Executive Summary will be a particular area of focus.

 

Start Smart: Structuring 3rd Party Relationships

Tuesday, November 17 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Gates 6115

Presented by: David Lehman, K&L Gates

Learn about the different types of startup personnel, including employees, independent contractors and unpaid interns, as well as legal issues related to student projects, terms of employment, relationship/covenants and employee equity.

 

Special Seminar: Buy-Sell Agreements and NDAs

Friday, December 4 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. Newell Simon Hall 3305

Presented by: Daniel Lynch, The Lynch Law Group

A brief overview of the differences between agreements associated with corporations and LLCs with a deeper dive into the six trigger events that form the basis of an Operating/Buy-Sell Agreement: death, disability, divorce, bankruptcy, retirement and voluntary quit. The seminar will also include a discussion of Non-Disclosure Agreements, also known as Confidentiality Agreements. When do you really need one? What is a trade secret? Should your agreement be one-sided or reciprocal?