Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

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How to Start a Startup at Carnegie Mellon

Student Groups

CMU Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Association - Promotes the entrepreneurial spirit at CMU through competitions, business development and networking with community entrepreneurs.

CMU Graduate Entrepreneurship Club - Fosters entrepreneurship across the different programs at CMU and brings students together for exciting lunches, tours and competitions.

CMU in China Innovation Summit - A community connecting startups, talents, investors and entrepreneurship resources between US and China, promoting collaboration.

CMU Scotty Labs - A student-run group on CMU's Pittsburgh campus that strives to use their technical expertise to promote innovation in practical ways.

Scotty Ventures - An investment group that focuses on teaching the principles of venture capital to interested community members.

NYC Tech and Entrepreneurship Group - Provides a venue to network with fellow Carnegie Mellon Alumni working or interested in the NYC technology industry

CMU TEBA - Community of CMU students and alumni providing mentorship and networking opportunities

Accelerators and Incubators

CMU Olympus Incubator - a startup incubator program that encourages and supports entrepreneurship on campus. It helps faculty, students, and staff turn their cutting-edge research and great ideas into startups. Provides startup advice, micro-grants, incubator space, and connections for faculty and students across campus and with the wider regional, national, and global business communities.

AlphaLab - Software accelerator in Pittsburgh - helps early-stage tech companies quickly figure out the best way to build and grow in an immersive 4-month program with funding

AlphaLab Gear - Hardware accelerator in Pittsburgh - guides early-stage physical product companies through a 7-month program, providing funding, office space, education sessions, connections to customers, and mentorship from industry experts

Startup Boost - Startup Boost Pittsburgh is part of a global tech startup pre-accelerator program aimed at working with great early stage entrepreneurs to prepare them for accelerator programs, seed investment and revenue through a six week part time program.

Hackathons and Competitions

TartanHacks - CMU's annual February hackathon for undergraduate students. Non-CMU undergraduate students are allowed to participate and no prior experience is needed.

The McGinnis Ventures Competition - brings together Carnegie Mellon's best and brightest student entrepreneurs to compete for $60K in investments. All participants receive interaction with alumni entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, an opportunity to raise capital and valuable feedback about ventures. Kicks off in early January, starting with 2 virtual rounds and a final live round.

CMU Venture Challenge - Occurring in early April, CMU's annual international startup pitch competition to win seed funding, legal services, and mentorship

Alexa Innovation Program - Alexa Skills Hackathon with Amazon Alexa prizes

University Resources

Swartz Entrepreneurship Center - system of programs and activities that offers a unique path of entrepreneurship education, engagement, collaboration and opportunity - the hub of entrepreneurship at CMU

Center for Technology Transfer & Enterprise Creation - responsible for facilitating and accelerating the movement of research and technology out of the university and into the marketplace.

James R. Swartz Leadership Series - a forum for the Carnegie Mellon University community and its entrepreneurial network partners in Pittsburgh to discuss issues central to entrepreneurial leadership.

Swartz CONNECTS Series - a seminar series enhancing the experiential education of any individual interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. Tailored mainly for students to help take their ideas from conception to commercialization. Workshops run throughout the academic year.

Entertainment Technology Center - the premiere professional graduate program for interactive entertainment as it's applied across a variety of fields.

Spark Grant - helps Project Olympus PROBE projects kick-start their business ideas. It is available for PrOBE projects ONLY and is funded by charitable gifts from alumni and other community donors.

Integrative Design, Arts & Technology - offers undergraduate minors and courses in Game Design, Animation & Special Effects, Media Design, Sonic Arts, Design for Learning, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Intelligent Environments, and Physical Computing. These areas merge technology and creativity and provide learning opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. IDeATe minors and courses are open to all majors.

METRO 21 - focused on using innovations in technology and policy to improve the quality of life for all residents independent of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin and orientation.

CMU Silicon Valley - CMU's Silicon Valley campus, offers M.S. degrees in fields such as Software Engineering and Technology Management

Project Olympus Show and Tell - popular venues for providing a window into the many exciting developments on campus and for connecting students and faculty with the wider business and entrepreneurial community.

Project Olympus Entrepreneurs in Residence - access to EIRs who serve as part-time coaches/mentors for startups participating in the Swartz Center's various programs.

CMU VentureBridge Program - an initiative of the Swartz Center to connect early stage founders with successful alumni in top startup ecosystems to develop their startups into fundable seed stage ventures. Culminates in a Demo Day

Notable Courses

Commercialization & Innovation (IEE Minor) | 70106 (TPR)

Entrepreneurship for Computer Scientists | 70438 (IEE)

Entrepreneurship for the Creative Industries | 70421 (TPR)

Entrepreneurship For Engineers | 70425 (TPR)

Entrepreneurship for Scientists | 70414 (TPR)

Funding Entrepreneurial Ventures | 53630 (ETP)

Innovation & Entrepreneurial Mindset | 70509 (TPR)

Introduction to Entrepreneurship | 70246 (TPR)

New Venture Creation | 70415 (TPR)

Technology-Based Entrepreneurship | 24680 (ME)

Topics in Entrepreneurship | 70423 (TPR)


Contrary - University-focused venture fund investing up to $500K in emerging startups launching from the university scene around the US

RDV - General Catalyst's pre-seed investing branch - student team building a large network of student founders

Innovation Works - the largest seed stage investor in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region, and one of the most active in the country. We are dedicated to serving growth-focused tech entrepreneurs throughout the Pittsburgh region

Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund - For CMU recent grads (last 5 years) - selected companies receive $50,000 from the OFEF and must raise an additional $50,000 matching investment to be eligible. OFEF recipients also gain access to other funding sources, receive personalized mentoring, an invitation to attend an annual OFEF business conference and receive legal and accounting support for their startups.

Adams Capital Management - a Pittsburgh-based venture capital firm specializing in early-stage applied technology investments.

BlueTree Allied Angels - West Pennsylvania's lead angel network

Riverfront Ventures - early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in high-growth early-stage companies primarily located in southwestern PA

Draper Triangle Ventures - a Pittsburgh based venture capital firm that partners with the Midwest's top entrepreneurs

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