PITTSBURGH, Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Carnegie Mellon University's Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund (OFEF), administered by the CMU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has awarded $250,000 to five startup companies to help them grow their business ventures. The fund, established by CMU alumnus and Flip Video Camera creator Jonathan Kaplan and his wife, Marci Glazer, provides early-stage business financing and support to alumni who have graduated from CMU within the last five years.
This is the third cycle for the program, which, since its inception in June 2012, has provided support to 21 startup companies across North America, representing a diverse group of industry sectors. Current awardees are introducing products and services that will benefit humanity in aspects such as helping reduce energy cost for residential electricity consumers, improving the benefits of athletic training, assisting surgeons and physicians in analyzing medical image data, helping network engineers to monitor network performance, and providing a flexible, managed development environment for growing IT development groups.
"Carnegie Mellon is truly an engine of innovation. This cycle of OFEF includes three companies that arose from faculty and Ph.D. candidate research," said Dave Mawhinney, co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and managing director of the OFEF. "In addition to our outstanding curriculum and world-class research, the continued involvement of our alumni network is something that we are most proud of — people like Jonathan Kaplan, whose generosity and commitment toward helping the next generation of entrepreneurs has made the OFEF possible."
CMU has fostered an entrepreneurial culture resulting in the creation of more than 300 companies and 9,000 jobs over the past 15 years. It ranks first among U.S. universities without a medical school in the number of startup companies created per research dollar spent since 2007. In addition, CMU spinoffs represent more than a third of the total companies created in Pennsylvania based on university technologies during the past five years.
"It is exciting to see our young alumni creating such interesting companies," said Lenore Blum, co-director of CMU's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. "These companies are based on years of cutting-edge research and bring real-world solutions to everyday problems and challenges."
The OFEF provides $50,000 in matching investment to each recipient, who also gain access to other funding sources, receive personalized mentoring and attend an annual OFEF business workshop. Peter Stern, a CMU classmate of Kaplan, co-founder of Datek Online and a serial entrepreneur, provides advisory support for the fund and serves as a mentor to one of the OFEF award recipients. The fund selects award recipients biannually.
Mentors will be assigned to each OFEF award recipient, including select CMU alumni who are serial entrepreneurs who have helped to create an excess of $1 billion in shareholder value. Mentors also will include entrepreneurs who are based at Carnegie Mellon, including Mawhinney.
2013 Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund (Cycle 3) Award Recipients
Lumator: Provides intelligent automated services for residential electricity consumers that optimize how they buy and use electricity. Website: http://lumator.com
NetBeez: Introducing a new network-monitoring tool that tests and validates enterprise networks from an end-user perspective. Website: http://netbeez.net
QuantMD, LLC: A Pittsburgh-based health care startup and CMU spinoff that utilizes robust algorithmic analysis of medical image data to aid physicians and surgeons in diagnostics and surgical planning. Website: www.Quant.MD
ToolsCloud: Offers an open source development environment in the cloud, providing a flexible managed development environment for growing IT development groups of any size. Website: www.toolscloud.com
Vibrado: Has created a wearable sensor platform that maximizes the benefits of athletic training, learning and perfecting sports-specific skills. Website: www.vibradotech.com
About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon (www.cmu.edu) is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 12,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Pittsburgh, Pa., California's Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico. The university recently completed "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University," exceeding its $1 billion goal to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements. The campaign closed June 30, 2013.
SOURCE Carnegie Mellon University