Session 1 - America's Seed Fund - Growing your Startup with SBIR/STTR
ModeratorBack to Home
Senior Technology Licensing Officer, Commercialization Strategist - Office of Technology Management at Penn State University
Tim Hurley is presently a Senior Technology Licensing Officer - Commercialization Strategist in the Office of Technology Management at Penn State University. Prior to joining Penn State in May 2017, Mr. Hurley spent over 20 years leading start-up companies in both product development and associated intellectual property management and, more broadly, in securing financing, scale-up manufacturing and other skills essential for managing a small business. Most recently, Mr. Hurley was President of DIApedia, LLC, a small technology firm developing advanced orthotics for people with foot problems related to diabetes. Since 2001, DIApedia has raised over $9M of SBIR funding, including a $3M NIH award to support a medical device clinical trial. Mr. Hurley has also twice served as a proposal reviewer for a NIH SBIR study section. He has been a principal in six startups and has provided project management support to several others. Mr. Hurley received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Penn State.Back to Home
SBIR/STTR Program Director - National Science Foundation
Henry Ahn joined the National Science Foundation in July 2016 as an SBIR/STTR Program Director. Prior to joining NSF, Henry managed seed/early stage investment programs for TEDCO for 12 years including Technology Commercialization Fund, TEDCO's flagship seed funding program for technology-based companies in Maryland. During his time at TEDCO, Henry was actively involved with various entrepreneurs and entrepreneur support groups as a guest speaker, an advisory board member, a judge, a mentor, among others. Additionally, Henry was part of the licensing/supplier relations team at a biotechnology company called Upstate, where he successfully negotiated, licensed and commercialized approximately 190 biomedical research reagents from around the world. Henry has also done approximately 5 years of research, mostly in the field of immunology (including graduate work). Henry has an MBA from Rice University, an M.S. in biotechnology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Boston University.Back to Home
Andrea Johanson, Ph.D.
Senior Principal Consultant - BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting (BBCetc)
Andrea is a BBCetc Sr. Principal Consultant with over 25 years of experience in leading international collaborative research projects. Prior to joining BBC in 2006, she was responsible for developing a portfolio of agricultural biotechnology projects at Michigan State University's Institute of International Agriculture, and for reporting to federal funding agencies about the program. Andrea has also served as an international consultant on a broad range of issues relating to international agricultural development, biotechnology, biosafety, intellectual property rights and technology transfer. She holds a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Reading University, UK, a Masters in Plant Pathology from Cornell University, and a Master of Arts in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, UK.Back to Home
Maureen L. Mulvihill, Ph.D.
President and CEO - Actuated Medical, Inc.
Maureen L. Mulvihill, Ph.D., President and CEO of Actuated Medical, Inc. (AMI), has been recognized nationally and internationally for her entrepreneurial leadership. She is an out-of-the box thinker that uses many sources of financing (e.g., Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Pennsylvania state economic development convertible-debt, personal monies, SBA and personal guaranteed bank loans, and Angel investment) to grow AMI. Recently, she was appointed to the AdvaMed Accel BOD to represent small emerging medical device companies. Her leadership style focuses on a strong corporate culture, team work and a vision of improving care for patients. She works with clinicians and strategic partners to ensure AMI's products are viable in real-world settings. Over the last 11 years due to changes in the market, she has led the transition of AMI from a concept-prototype company to a fully-integrated medical device company that develops, manufactures and sells its own devices. Maureen is an alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10k Small Business program and has been a Finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year® Award twice. In 2015, she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the CBICC. In 2016, she received a Bronze Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year. Most recently, Maureen was a U.S. Delegate to the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, India. She received her Ph.D. from Penn State University.
Session 2 - Getting AI and Technology Right in Education Ventures
ModeratorBack to Home
Dr. Lawrence C. Ragan
Principal Community Aggregator - Penn State EdTech Network
Dr. Lawrence C. Ragan is the Principal Community Aggregator for the Penn State EdTech Network. In this role, Dr. Ragan helps to foster relationships between members of the Penn State community who share a dedication to advancing innovation in education. From 2012 to 2017, Dr. Ragan served as a Co-Director for the Center for Online Innovation in Learning at Penn State, where he directed the center's mission of research, scholarship, technology innovation, and leadership development programming. He has been a part of the creation and management of Penn State World Campus since its inception in 1998, serving as Director for Instructional Design and Development and Director of Faculty Development.
Since 2009, Dr. Ragan has served as Co-Director of the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL). In partnership with the Online Learning Consortium, IELOL addresses the operational and strategic leadership of the design, development, and preparation of the next-generation of leadership in online learning. Dr. Ragan previously served as founding Co-director and faculty of the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership program. He is active in the design and delivery of international leadership development institutes, and in 2011, was recognized as a Sloan-C Faculty Fellow.Back to Home
Director of Education Technology Services - Penn State University
Kyle Bowen is director of education technology services at Penn State University, where he leads university efforts for effective uses of technology for teaching and learning. Kyle oversees a portfolio of services including instructional design, faculty research support, learning spaces, digital media development, and the exploration of emerging technologies. Formerly the director of informatics at Purdue University, he shaped and led the university's strategy to advance student success through new and innovative technologies. He has co-authored and edited more than 20 books in the areas of web design, development and usability - and his work has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, TIME, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.Back to Home
CEO/Entrepreneur - Verificient Technologies
Tim Dutta is founder and CEO of Verificient Technology's Trusted Identity-as-a-Service (TIaaS), platform for identity verification and authentication. As CEO, Tim's responsible for leading the overall firm's strategy, product development, product and market positioning, client acquisition, operations and managing investors/partners. Tim brings a well-rounded perspective and broad expertise from working with various strategy-consulting and outsourcing firms like: KMPG, Accenture, Global Synergies, and EXL Service in the Investment Banking/Capital Markets/Technology sectors. Having managed many start-up technology company strategies through incubation, growth, mergers, and liquidation milestones, Tim has a vast experience in providing due diligence for Angel and Private Equity investors. Tim has also led several panel discussions on the importance of multi-factor requirements for the Higher Education, Talent/Recruitment and Workforce Management as it relates to disruption in identity verification. In his free time and night job, he mentors founders and entrepreneurs in various accelerator programs such as: Techstars, Kaplan powered by Techstars, FinTech powered by Techstars, RGA Ventures, and Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition.Back to Home
Portfolio Product Management - Blackboard
Carl R. Marrelli started his journey in EdTech in 2002, right when online video exploded in HigherEd and enabled teaching and lectures to move online. Carl spent many years in the lecture capture, video and active learning space as a technical lead and product manager with Anystream and Echo360. He has been privileged to work with some fantastic entrepreneurs in other early-stage EdTech companies as a strategy advisor and investor. Carl now spends his time on portfolio strategy for Blackboard's teaching and learning products. In this capacity, he thrives thinking about the future of the digital learning environment and the promise of technology to help institutions drive their student success strategies. He geeks out on both AI and blockchain lately, too.Back to Home
Assistant Professor of Engineering Design, Industrial Engineering, and Computer Science - Penn State University
Dr. Conrad Tucker holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor in Engineering Design and Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. He is also affiliate faculty in Computer Science and Engineering. Dr. Tucker is the director of the Design Analysis Technology Advancement (D.A.T.A) Laboratory. His research focuses on the design and optimization of systems through the acquisition, integration and mining of large scale, disparate data.
Dr. Tucker has served as PI/Co-PI on several federally funded grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). He is currently serving as PI and Site Director of the NSF Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT), an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center at Penn State.
Session 3 - 8 Questions Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know the Answers ToBack to Home
Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Brian Slawin is a recovering entrepreneur who has lived the startup life for most of his adult life. From the late nights to the last minute deadlines, from running out of money, to running out of ideas to capturing it all again, Brian says it's the best thing he's ever done!
Because, after exiting his technology startup, he moved to Northwest Pennsylvania to become the portfolio manager at the Ben Franklin Technology PArtners and now works with people interested in taking their company to the next level or even starting their idea from scratch. Brian helps those people and company's by marshaling the resources needed to nurture, support and ultimately invest in as they innovate in their industry; be that small manufacturers or technology startups. Ultimately, the goal of helping those entrepreneurs is to grow their idea into a full-fledged company employing a few or a few thousand people.
In short, Brian supports the vision entrepreneurs have and believes in the power that comes with passion and commitment. Plus, as he tells everyone, he's fortunate to have found an entire region of people to work with and invest in, all who are looking at their future and thinking "I'd like to give that a try".
Session 4 - Growing PA's Capacity for Life Sciences Startups
ModeratorBack to Home
Director, Center for Medical Innovation - Penn State Hersey College of Medicine
Appointed as a professor of practice in September 2015, Kevin Harter serves jointly in the School of Business Administration and the School of Science, Engineering, and Technology as he leads Penn State Harrisburg's new entrepreneurial center. Harter is the former chairman, president and CEO of Saladax Biomedical, Inc.
As part of Penn State President Eric Barron's INVENT Penn State initiative, Penn State Harrisburg in May 2015 was awarded $50,000 in seed funding to help the college develop the center, whose mission will be to leverage the breadth and depth of the college`s expertise and intellectual capital to stimulate new business and economic development in the region. The center will provide entrepreneurial resources for faculty, students, and the community.
Harter, of Camp Hill, has more than 30 years of experience in new business development, including in all aspects of developing, managing, and financing life science and technology businesses. He also has volunteered extensively in these areas, as well as in entrepreneurship, economic development, and education.
Harter served at Saladax, a leader in personalized medicine and diagnostics, since 2007. He was also co-founder and senior vice president of the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania (LSGPA). LSGPA invests in the growth of life science companies, focusing on technologies developed at universities, including Penn State. Harter also co-founded Keystone Medical Systems, previously the largest independent supplier of information technology and electronic medical record solutions to physicians.
Harter holds a bachelor's degree in information systems and a master's of business administration from Penn State Harrisburg. In 2010, he was named a Penn State University Alumni Fellow. He is emeritus member and past chair of the Penn State Harrisburg Board of Advisers and is an active member on several Penn State Harrisburg program advisory boards. In 2014, he received the Ben Franklin of NorthEast PA Entrepreneurial Achievement Award.
The professor of practice title is given to individuals who have accumulated a decade or more of high level and leadership experience in the private or public sectors and can provide a unique background and wealth of knowledge to the academic community.Back to Home
Nik A. Heble, Pharm.D., J.D.
Partner - Blank Rome LLP
Nik is a registered patent attorney, and a Partner at Blank Rome LLP, who provides strategic legal and business counsel to a diverse client base, including, e.g., generic pharmaceutical, consumer product and emerging growth companies; investment firms; and universities, on a wide variety of intellectual property related matters. His practice involves rendering invalidity and non-infringement opinions; developing and implementing pre-litigation/litigation strategies for Hatch-Waxman related matters; conducting due diligence to support in- and out-licensing efforts; preparing and prosecuting patent applications covering myriad technologies; and drafting and negotiating various technology related agreements.
Prior to joining Blank Rome, Nik co-founded Thubrikar Aortic Valve, Inc. (TAVI) - a Philadelphia-based medical device start-up - and provided counsel on all legal matters to the management team. Before TAVI, Nik held the position of Senior Patent Counsel for the in-house patent department of a Fortune 500 consumer products company where he had global responsibility for developing and managing the patent portfolio and business interests for an $8 BB business unit. Having practiced as both in-house and outside counsel for start-up and publicly traded companies, Nik has a unique approach to the practice of law.
Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Nik earned his JD from the University of Miami School of Law; and his Pharm.D., magna cum laude, from Temple University School of Pharmacy. Prior to attending law school, he worked as a pharmacist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, and also gained pharmaceutical experience in both government and industry settings.Back to Home
President & CEO - Life Sciences Pennsylvania
As president & CEO of Life Sciences PA, Christopher Molineaux serves as the chief advocate and spokesman for the life sciences industry that calls Pennsylvania home. Molineaux oversees the strategic direction for Life Sciences PA, assuring the trade association continues to be the catalyst that makes Pennsylvania the top location for life sciences companies.
Molineaux brings to Life Sciences PA more than 25 years of experience in the life sciences and health care industries, with front-line experience in developing and executing strategies to navigate a shifting economic and public policy environment.
Prior to joining Life Sciences PA in September 2009, Molineaux served as worldwide vice president of pharmaceutical communications and public affairs for Johnson & Johnson. He began his Johnson & Johnson career as vice president of corporate communications at Centocor, Inc., and was later promoted to vice president for communications of Johnson & Johnson's global Biotechnology, Immunology & Oncology (B.I.O.) business unit.
Molineaux previously served as vice president of public affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Prior to his role at PhRMA, he was vice president, communications and marketing at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, developing public awareness and education strategies related to commercial and government payer systems. Molineaux also worked as a public affairs executive for the federal Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture, and as a press officer on the White House staff of President George H. W. Bush.
In addition to leading Life Sciences Pennsylvania, Chris Molineaux serves as a Director of Aclaris Therapeutics, the Chester County Economic Development Council, and the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board. He also serves on the Advisory Boards of BioAgilytix of Durham, NC and St. John Vianney Church of Gladwyne, PA.Back to Home
Strategy and External Relations - LifeX Ventures
Bill Schlachter is excited to lead Strategy and External Relations for LifeX. Mr. Schlachter obtained his undergraduate degree in English Writing, History and African Studies from the University of Pittsburgh (summa cum laude) and his Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Chicago. Mr. Schlachter’s employment experience is broad and diverse. Mr. Schlachter serves as President & Co-Founder of Solve Consultancy Group, Inc. and most recently served as Director of External Relations for the National Center for Arts & Technology, where he oversaw the process to replicate Centers for Arts & Technology in international (Akko, Israel; London, U.K.; Vancouver, B.C.) and domestic markets (U.S. Virgin Islands).
Prior to joining the National Center for Arts and Technology, Mr. Schlachter served as the Senior Program Manager at Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. In this position, Mr. Schlachter managed the organization’s flagship program, Leadership Pittsburgh, a civic leadership program for leaders with significant spheres of influence that examines critical community issues, enhances civic engagement, and develops executive-level networks. Other professional experiences that have influenced Mr. Schlachter’s career and life include: serving as a teacher in rural South Africa, as Policy Strategist at the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics, a Project Manager at Conlon Public Strategies and as a Harold Rosenthal Fellow in International Relations within the U.S. Senate Policy Committee, Office of the U.S. Senate Majority Leader. In this position, Bill crafted policy oversight reports about U.S. Senate Intelligence, Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Homeland Security Committee hearings and attended weekly strategy meetings with U.S. Senators.
Raised in New Jersey, Mr. Schlachter is an Eagle Scout and enjoys travelling, hiking, writing fiction and listening to live music. Mr. Schlachter is currently a Board Member for the University of Chicago Alumni Association in Pittsburgh.Back to Home
Dr. Lindsey Snyder focuses on accelerating commercialization of innovative biological research to viable products by supporting the development of early stage businesses, currently working with LifeX in Biopharmaceutical Development. Dr. Snyder works on research and business development with several LifeX Portfolio companies, including Elastogenesis and FarmaceuticalRX. Previously, as a due diligence member at Blue Tree Capital Group, Snyder has applied market research and competitive analysis techniques to analyze over a dozen company valuations. She was also Vice President of Business Development for Fourth River Solutions, a non-profit consulting group, where she designed the scope of work for consulting projects in order to drive customer discovery and refine the strategy of early-stage businesses. During her one-year tenure, she doubled project volume and income for the group. Snyder received her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Neurobiology and the Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research, where she had 10 publications. She trained as a research specialist at the Translational Neuroscience Program at the University of Pittsburgh after receiving her B.S. at Allegheny College.
Session 5 - The Secrets of Fundraising for Your Company
ModeratorBack to Home
Chairman of Deal Flow - BlueTree Allied Angels
Don Morrison is a serial entrepreneur who has been involved in the growth and development of several businesses, including American Eagle Outfitters, from 1 to 165 stores (as President/CEO), Sundance Catalog Company (as Executive Director), and Bear Creek Corporation (as Senior VP of Sales and Marketing).
He is currently Chairman of Deal Flow for BlueTree Allied Angels and Chairman of the Linden Pointe Development Corporation (LDC). In addition to his roles at the LDC and BlueTree, Mr. Morrison also serves on several Boards of Directors/Advisors including, Pittsburgh Green Building Alliance, The Forbes Fund UpPrize Advisory Committee, and Innovation Works Technology Commercialization Advisory Board.. He also serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Pittsburgh's Innovation Institute.
Mr. Morrison is actively involved in mentoring and coaching numerous start-ups and early stage companies in the region through the Alpha Lab and Alpha Lab Gear accelerators, and the eCenter@LindenPointe and Ascender incubators. He is frequently invited to be a guest speaker and judge at several start-up business competitions.Back to Home
Attorney - McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC
Sal is an attorney with McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC in Harrisburg, PA, where he practices the Corporate & Tax Practice Group.
In his practice, Sal focuses on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital/private placements and corporate law. He serves as outside general counsel and/or transaction counsel to a number of clients in various industries, including healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing and real estate. In the healthcare sector alone, Sal has represented clients in over $1 billion of mergers, acquisitions and financings.
Sal is pragmatic and knows how to get deals done. His clients appreciate his business sense and ability to work well with others.Back to Home
Senior Vice President - Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA
Steve Carpenter is Senior Vice President at the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA. His principal responsibilities include serving as director or board observer for portfolio companies, evaluating prospective companies and performing due diligence for investment. He provides companies with strategic, financial, and operational guidance and has provided project management support for a regional company's acquisition of a $15 million life sciences business. Prior to joining the LSGPA, Mr. Carpenter has over 20 years' experience in a variety of management and engineering positions leading operation start-ups and new product launches at DuPont, Berg Electronics, and FCI USA.
Mr. Carpenter also serves as an adjunct instructor at Penn State University's Smeal College of Business teaching entrepreneurial finance to MBA students and guiding student teams evaluating commercial potential of new Penn State technologies for the Fund for Innovation program.
Mr. Carpenter has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University and an MBA from Penn State University focusing on venture capital, entrepreneurship, and finance.Back to Home
Angel Investor and Founder - Capital Growth
Valerie is a results-oriented entrepreneur, investor and start-up business advocate with a proven track record in building profitable businesses for more than 20 years. She founded her first company, Capital Growth, Inc. (CGI), in 1994 as a venture capital data and information publishing company and has bought and successfully sold several small and medium sized business properties over the last several years. Valerie co-invests with various investor groups including Hivers & Strivers which focuses on investing in and mentoring start-up companies run by U.S. Military Academy graduates. She served as President of the Pennsylvania Angel Network, Director of the Private Investors Forum, Founder of the Angel Venture Forum and operates Fifty-First Associates, LLC, a political information firm.
Valerie is a regular speaker on issues regarding company valuation, capitalization, entrepreneurship, venture capital, angel investing, patents, technology and more. She has provided testimony to Congress for the Inventor's Project, Save the Inventor, Innovation Alliance, Edison Nation and others on U.S. Patent reform. And, has been featured in publications and media outlets including Forbes, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Technically Philly, Private2IPO, Executive Leaders Radio, DC Inno, Patent Truth, TechBisnow and more.
She earned a BA from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In her spare time she races sailboats on the Chesapeake Bay. She is currently running for the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives District #44 (Allegheny County) to be a strong advocate for Pennsylvania entrepreneurs and innovators.Back to Home
Managing Partner - Robin Hood Ventures
Joe has over 30 years of business experience in various financial capacities. He began his career in commercial lending with CoreStates Bank in Philadelphia, now part of Wells Fargo where he managed a group of middle market lenders. He then served as CFO at a number of early stage technology companies and has experience with manufacturing, software, financial services and consumer products companies. Joe is currently a senior executive with Innovative Financing Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in SBA and other challenging financing situations. He has been an active angel investor since 2004 and is managing partner at Robin Hood Ventures, a Philadelphia based angel investment network. He also serves on the board of a joint venture title company and the Penn State Research Foundation.
Joe received his BS in Finance from Penn State University.Back to Home
Entrepreneur in Residence - Ben Franklin Technology Partners, CNP
As a habitual entrepreneur for nearly 30 years, Scott has started and grown a number of diverse businesses, his first being a restaurant while his most recent an Internet of Things (IoT) software-as-a-service provider. During Scott's entrepreneurial journey, he consistently filled the role of generalist and change agent, leveraging an increasingly broad experience base to assist growth from inception to bootstrapping to expansion through exit.
An inclination toward out-of-the-box thinking allows Scott to creatively identify solutions that generate internal and external value. Most importantly he has done so in ways that are practical for cash and time constrained young companies. Having grown and sometimes re-invented his own startup businesses despite these challenges, he is also sensitive to the pace and agility required to respond and sometimes pivot in pursuit of success.
Scott has created opportunity amongst disruptive change such as transforming a manufacturer of electronic signs into a pioneering cloud-based software solution provider to avoid commoditization. It also includes architecting an IoT application that enabled new business models by orchestrating the interaction between products, data and business systems.
As an Entrepreneur in Residence at Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Scott is now helping other young companies confidently accelerate their progress by leveraging his background to fill gaps in their experience or expertise.
A graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Economics as well as a Master of Business Administration, Mr. Johnson holds two patents and is considered a thought leader on topics related to connecting smart products to business processes, big data analytics, and digital transformation.
Session 6 - How I Did It - Stories from Experienced Entrepreneurs
ModeratorBack to Home
Counsel and Director, Business Strategy and Innovation - Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld
At RCCB, Beth advises clients on business and growth strategies and directs the firm's initiatives for growth and innovation. Beth bridges the worlds of law and business and has served as a vice president of strategic business development and general counsel. Beth has helped growth stage companies develop strategies and relationships to expand their markets and has mentored hundreds of companies from around the world on growth and capital raising. She was recently recognized as one of the top startup lawyers in Philadelphia. As a member of the senior management team for several venture-backed companies, Beth helped lead an internet company to profitability resulting in an exit and led negotiations that resulted in the double-digit growth of a digital content company's European market. Beth holds an MBA from The Wharton School, is an attorney, and has been involved in numerous US and international technology conferences as a speaker and organizer.Back to Home
Founder/CEO - TEAMology
Linsey Covert is Founder and CEO of TEAMology LLC, a PA based ed-tech company commercializing intellectual property from Penn State University. TEAMology offers a first of its kind cloud based software that delivers research based content and curriculum. This interconnected model uses 6 characters and foundations to teach students grades K-8 social emotional learning, bullying prevention and career readiness. In addition, TEAMology supports schools by offering trainings, professional development and school-wide materials to enhance a school’s ability to collaborate and improve school climate. Currently, TEAMology is making an impact on over 15,000 students between PA & NJ, with over 1,400 educators/users on the platform. As TEAMology continues to grow, she is confident this solution will make a positive impact for students and schools across the country and beyond.Back to Home
Harbaugh Entrepreneur & Innovation Faculty Scholar - College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State
Mark Gagnon is the Harbaugh Entrepreneur and Innovation Faculty Scholar in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. Mark is a former entrepreneur and business development executive in forest products and building materials. He has been involved in two green building products start-ups and has managed product portfolios over $300M. In addition, Mark has extensive experience in new product development and has been part of successful product launches for leading brands. Mark also consults with leading firms and emerging start-ups in food, agriculture and bio-renewables.
Dr. Gagnon's scholarly interests are in the area of for-profit entrepreneurship that address challenges in food, agriculture and bio-renewables. Many of these challenges in the agriculture space naturally fit under the banner of sustainability. His current research examines the role of entrepreneur values, cognition and decision making on new firm practices and performance. In addition, Mark teaches courses in entrepreneurship, agribusiness and coordinates the entrepreneurship minor in food and bio-innovation.Back to Home
CEO - Sphere Brakes
As a licensed Project Management Professional, Aaron is an expert at managing high risk projects leveraging earned value, earned schedule, and Agile methodologies. During his 4-year term with GE Transportation as a Business Leader overseeing 3 business units in locomotive production and fleet management, he gained his Six Sigma Green Belt Certification and graduated from LeanCor. Aaron is also a retired military officer with specific experience related to light duty, medium duty, and heavy duty tactical vehicle fleet management. As Commander to Head Quarters and Head Quarters Company for an Infantry Stryker Battalion, he managed over 88 tactical vehicles, the Field Maintenance Shop 5, and 270 Soldiers. With a well-rounded background in technology, manufacturing, and leadership, Aaron has brought technology from conception to market through seed, institutional, and private equity fund raising. He is a recent recipient of SBIR funding and leads a growing certified veteran owned small business.Back to Home
CEO - ConidioTec
Don McCandless is currently the CEO of ConidioTec LLC, a Pennsylvania start-up with a revolutionary bio-pesticide for the control and prevention of bed bugs. Their first product, Aprehend®, was successfully launched at the industry’s national trade show in October 2017 and is exhibiting strong growth.
Prior to ConidioTec, Don worked as Director of Business Development for the Ben Franklin Transformation Business Services Network. His primary responsibility was to deliver critical management assistance to emerging, tech-based start-ups, which includes offering business support services relative to financial planning, cash management, market research, marketing strategy, corporate strategy, accounting operations, and software training.
In addition, Don launched and coordinated the 10-week Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs offered by the TechCelerator@State College, a partnership among several local economic development programs including Ben Franklin, Invent Penn State, the CBICC, and Penn State’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). In the first five years 73 teams graduated, forming 66 companies, receiving over $26M in start-up funding and generating $8M in revenue.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a Master’s Degree in Business, Don also has a Bachelor of Science from the Pennsylvania State University. For 20 years he held a variety of roles at the Bellefonte-based, Restek Corporation, culminating with a five-year tenure as CEO. While there, Restek grew from 30 to 275 employees and five international subsidiaries. The company was subsequently sold to the employees as part of an ESOP agreement.
Involved in the local community for over 20 years, Don is a former board member of the Chamber of Business & Industry, a former coach for State College Little League and Centre Soccer, a volunteer instructor for the Penn State Karate Club, and was part of the team that launched Centre Volunteers in Medicine in 2003, a free medical clinic for the uninsured in Centre County.Back to Home
CEO - Phospholutions
Mr. Swisher graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in Plant Sciences. Before graduating from the College of Agricultural Sciences, he founded Phospholutions after licensing two patents invented by a distinguished professor in the Plant Sciences department. Throughout his undergraduate career, Mr. Swisher was a Summer Founder's Recipient and competed as a finalist in various business pitch competitions including WPSU's The Investment, taking first place in the Ben Franklin Big IDEA Contest and Pittsburgh's Entrepreneurial Pitch Fest. Mr. Swisher was recently nominated for Forbes 30 under 30 and featured in PA Business Central Foremost under 40. Phospholutions has been featured in PA Business Central Top 100 Organizations, Golf Industry Magazine, and TurfNet.
Session 7 - The Corporate Venture Capital Value Proposition
ModeratorBack to Home
Partner - Reed Smith LLP
Matt is a Partner with Reed Smith LLP, a global law firm with more than 1,800 lawyers in 27 offices throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He leads the firm's Emerging Growth / Venture Capital Practice in the United States and is a member of the Global Corporate Group. Matt serves as outside general counsel to emerging growth and middle-market companies; represents venture capital funds and corporate venture capital groups with their investments, recapitalizations and portfolio company oversight; and leads private equity-sponsored and strategic domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.
Prior to attending law school, Matt was an Analyst with Accenture, where he provided management consulting to leading pharmaceutical companies in the areas of information technology, sales, corporate communications and product information. He is a member of the Board of Directors of SDC Nutrition, a Pittsburgh-based nutritional and health supplement manufacturing company, a member of the Board of Directors of Urban Innovation21, a Trustee with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and a member of the Advisory Board of Duquesne University School of Law. Matt is "Recommended" by Legal 500 United States for Venture Capital and Emerging Companies, received a 2017 Corporate Citizenship Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, and was honored as a "40 Under 40" winner in 2014 by Pittsburgh Magazine. He graduated from Penn State University's Smeal College of Business and received his law degree from Duquesne University School of LawBack to Home
Principal - Touchdown Ventures
Greg Bergamesco joined Touchdown Ventures in the Summer of 2016 as a Principal in the Philadelphia office responsible for managing and executing corporate venture capital investments.
Prior to joining Touchdown, Greg most recently worked at Comcast Corporation as senior director of new business strategy, where he was responsible for the identification, evaluation, and incubation of new revenue-generating businesses with a functional GM role. Before Comcast, Greg was a management consultant with both PricewaterhouseCoopers and Booz Allen Hamilton, where he led business case analyses and managed implementations of several large-scale strategic programs at major Fortune 500 companies and government institutions.
Earlier in this career, Greg worked in the insurance industry as a group health broker and financial analyst.
Greg resides in the Philadelphia suburbs with his wife and two boys.
Greg possesses 15 years of combined industry and consulting experience in business strategy and operations.
He received a BA in Economics at Rutgers University while playing Division I Men’s Tennis, and earned an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, graduating with honors.Back to Home
Investment Manager - Lockheed Martin Ventures
Sana Fathima is an Investment Manager at Lockheed Martin Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Lockheed Martin. Her focus areas include advanced AI / autonomy technology, NextGen manufacturing and materials, and IoT. Previously, Sana worked on the investment and financial teams for the World Bank Group's $B global funds initiatives, for a leading European VC fund - Atomico, and for Goldman Sachs. She graduated with her MBA from the University of Cambridge, has a PhD background in computer vision from the University of Oxford, and a BS with high honors in engineering from The College of New Jersey.Back to Home
Investment Manager North America - Solvay Ventures
Coppelia Marincovic is Investment Manager North America at Solvay Ventures, the venture capital fund of Solvay. With 100m USD under management, the fund invests in advanced materials with application in energy transition, health & wellbeing, industry 4.0, and sustainable resources. In addition to providing capital to start-up companies, Solvay Ventures leverages Solvay capabilities to generate business synergies between start-ups and Solvay's businesses and innovation platforms. Her prior experience in VC was at Sofinnova Partners, a large VC fund based in Paris where she specialized in cleantech and industrial biology. Before joining Solvay, Coppelia was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, advising top-tier pharmaceuticals and chemicals corporations on strategy and resource productivity. While at McKinsey, she won a Gold Medal at the McKinsey New Ventures competition. Coppelia holds a MBA from INSEAD, MSc. in Environmental Sciences from Harvard and MSc. in Chemistry from Chimie ParisTech.