2015 Edition of inRes: 3rd Workshop
"CMU is Working Upstream and Downstream to Enhance Innovation"
Tara Branstad, associate director of the Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), was in Portugal to participate in the 3rd Workshop of the 2015 edition of inRes. Between July 28-29, 2015, the teams had the opportunity to learn more about IP management and technology transfer, venture deals, and funding negotiation exercises.
In the past 15 years, CMU has been strengthening its culture of entrepreneurship. Tara Branstad talked about the different ways CMU is engaging with industry: “through research, with examples like UPMC, Apple, UBER, Disney and Caterpillar”; “through spinoffs, which can be seen with IBM, Google, Delphi, Facebook, among others.” This is a result of the different activities the university is implementing to address the components of a university-based entrepreneurial ecosystem: culture and incentives, formal entrepreneurship education, mentors and informal training, advisors, networking and events, gap funds and technology transfer. “CMU is working upstream and downstream to enhance innovation,” said Tara Branstad.
|CTTEC plays an important role in managing technology transfer, and in the sense that it allows inventors to participate and benefit from startups, and to execute
the license agreement/shareholder documents. As Tara Branstad emphasized,
“We seek to be fair, transparent, following reasonable licensing
policies.” In the field of intellectual property, Tara Branstad
clarified that “the sole purpose of protecting intellectual property in
the context of a company is to create a competitive barrier to entry.
Therefore, people should know their options, make strategic decisions, and not overspend or overlook other opportunities to create
barriers to entry /IP isn’t the only way.”
After explaining patenting and IP management, Tara Branstad explained that “sometimes, a ‘mix’ of IP protection is the best strategy: patent machine or composition, keeping processes or other recipes as trade secrets, relying on copyright protections for software, and going with the trademark if there is a value in the brand.”
On the second day of the workshop, Tara Branstad addressed the topic “Funding your Venture.” She identified six investment stages: pre-seed (prototype; technical team; provisional patent, move to independence), seed (customer validation/beta test, addition of business person to team, address other critical issues), A(1)round (get to product sales, key hires), B(1)round (get to break even; growth – sales), later stage (position for exit; enter new markets/international), and exit. The founder’s pie calculator, from Frank Demmler, associate teaching professor of entrepreneurship at Tepper School of Business at CMU, was presented by Tara Branstad as a way to help the founders to decide which part they should keep with them.
Alípio Torre talked about strategic assessments, which should happen early in the planning process. Strategic assessments examine the impact of actions which might stem from one or more policy. Alípio Torre also talked about the Porter’s five forces tool - buyer power, supplier power, threat of new entrants, threat of substitutes, and degree of rivalry.
The training in Portugal will be concluded between August 31 and September 1, with a workshop at Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN), in Coimbra. The teams will start the immersion in Pittsburgh, anchored at CMU, on September 21, and will be concluded in November, 2015.