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LaunchCMU showcases 28 Carnegie Mellon startups in Silicon Valley

The innovative startups spinning out of Carnegie Mellon University’s ecosystem had their chance to shine in the Silicon Valley on May 23 at the fifth annual LaunchCMU.

Hosted by the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, LaunchCMU is an event that brings together the latest research and breakthrough technologies from students, alumni, faculty and staff along with members of the Silicon Valley investment community, regional business leaders and Bay Area-based CMU alumni.

Located at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood City, California, LaunchCMU features a demo/poster presentation, showcase talks from current and former Carnegie Mellon students, and a networking reception to connect startups in various stages of development with the people who can help take them to the next level via capital, connections or customers.

Entrepreneurs show off their robots

Twenty-eight companies showcased their technology within the theme of this year’s conference, “Robotics in Manufacturing.” Of the 28 companies, seven were selected to present their technology to the audience during the Showcase Talks. Among those featured were Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, Agility Robotics, Carnegie Robotics, HEBI Robotics, IAM Robotics, RoBotany Ltd. and Titan Robotics Inc..

“Presenting at LaunchCMU is a great way for us to get exposure in Silicon Valley,” said Bob Raida, MBA ’15, Chief Operations Officer of HEBI Robotics, a startup that creates Lego-like robotic building blocks that make it easy to create custom robots quickly. “Being based in Pittsburgh has always been an advantage for us because the local talent pool is deep and the cost of living can’t be beat. But in Pittsburgh, after you’ve exhausted your friends and family and need to find the next round of funding to take your company to the next level, you still have to head to the Silicon Valley.”

Swartz Center builds relationships

Dave Mawhinney, Executive Director of the Swartz Center and teaching professor of entrepreneurship at the Tepper School of Business, told the crowd of over 200 people, including members of the VC community and alumni, that a top priority to ensure the viability and sustainability of CMU’s startup ecosystem is access to capital.

“Pittsburgh’s reputation as a tech center between the coasts is continuing to grow with the influx of big-name players like Google, Uber, Amazon and Facebook,” Mawhinney said. “And now, in order for CMU startups to truly grow and thrive, Pittsburgh needs some of the top-tier Silicon Valley VCs to start funding Pittsburgh companies at a consistent clip, or better yet staff a partner in Pittsburgh.”

For more information about upcoming LaunchCMU events or about the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, visit their website.