Bridging the gap between
world-class university research/innovation and
for the benefit of our communities
About Project Olympus
Project Olympus, a Carnegie Mellon innovation center, operates at the earliest stages of the value
creation chain. It aims to augment and accelerate the process of moving cutting-edge research and great
ideas to development and business stages through licensing, creating start-ups, and through corporate
collaboration and strategic partnerships. Olympus provides start-up advice, micro-grants, incubator
space, and connections for faculty and students across campus and with the wider regional, national and
global business communities.
A main goal is to create a climate, culture and community to enable talent and ideas to grow, creating a
dynamic commercialization eco-system.
An initiative of the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science, Olympus works with faculty and
students across campus and collaboratively with all units of the Carnegie Mellon Innovation Eco-system.
Based within the university’s academic sector, Olympus can easily tap into promising innovations that
build on the wealth of university research and student ingenuity. Fostering collaborations, both on and off
campus, Olympus leverages considerable community expertise and resources.
Olympus PROBE projects (PRoblem-Oriented Business Explorations) are the centerpiece of the
enterprise. Here teams of faculty and students from across campus explore the commercial potential of
their research and ideas. Guidance is provided at every stage by the Olympus in-house Business Advisor
and Embedded Entrepreneur and a network of economic development partners.
Olympus by the Numbers 1
By its numbers, Project Olympus demonstrates proof-of-concept that nurturing projects at the earliest
stages can result in increased volume and higher quality spinout companies and commercial
64 PROBEs – from various departments across the University
• 42 graduate and undergraduate student PROBE teams and companies
• 22 faculty PROBE teams and companies
41 companies formed - 29 student-based, 12 faculty-based
• 1 acquired by Google, another received VC funding; 6 received SBIR funds
• 4 graduated to AlphaLab; 2 Innovation Works portfolio companies; 3 Idea Foundry portfolio companies
• 12 Show & Tells for the wider community
• 21 CONNECTS Students events including Open Innovation Competitions
• 9 CONNECTS Faculty events including Roundtables and Faculty meetings
• 6 CONNECTS Community events plus numerous meetings with individuals and groups
Over $8.7 million in follow-on funding has been awarded to 15 faculty and 15 student PROBEs and companies
from university and outside sources. Olympus participants have received a Kauffman Innovation Fellowship and
3 Kauffman Commercialization Leadership awards.
1 January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2010.
2 Involving approximately 150 students: 50 from computer science, 50 from business, and 50 from other departments across campus.
3 Not including acquisitions.
Alan Veeck • VC (Meakem Becker) • Olympus Advisory Cabinet member
“It is so important to increase the number of innovators in Pittsburgh, and
Project Olympus is a natural catalyst with privileged access to the talent
pool at CMU. The school has brilliant students, and also rocket-science
professors; now we just need to help them move the great stuff coming
from the labs into start-ups. That's a role Olympus is playing.”
How Project Olympus Operates
With seed funding from the Heinz Endowments Innovation Economy Program, and a mixture of
funds from government, corporate, and university sources, Project Olympus began operations
in January, 2007.
Project Olympus maintains an innovation lab where graduate and undergraduate students, and
Innovation Fellows, team with faculty, Olympus staff, Olympus advisors, and a network of
partners, to investigate the commercial potential of innovations and research ideas. Olympus
PROBEs provide the formal mechanism for carrying out these proof-of-concept explorations.
While most Olympus PROBEs are computer science or information technology related, they also
represent a broad spectrum of areas that include social networking, health, green-tech/energy,
and social entrepreneurship. Faculty PROBEs are generally derived from basic research;
student-generated PROBEs tend to live in the Web 2.0/mobile application space.
Project Olympus hosts numerous events throughout the year, including CONNECTS events
(CONNECTS Students, CONNECTS Faculty, CONNECTS Leaders, Show & Tells, etc.) where
students and faculty interact with the regional investment, business, and civic communities.
Olympus and various PROBEs have been featured in publications, including Pittsburgh Post-
Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Pittsburgh Business Times, and Pop City. Olympus PROBEs
have also been featured on WTAE-TV, KDKA-TV’s “The Sunday Business Page,” and WPXI-TV’s
“Our Region’s Business.” Media coverage has also gone beyond the region: The New York
Times, Chronicle for Higher Education and Popular Science. Additionally, VC blogs and Twitter
have covered Olympus events and activities.
From its base within the School of Computer Science, Project Olympus is part of Carnegie
Mellon’s federation of entrepreneurial initiatives that are dedicated to fostering
commercialization of university innovations. Project Olympus works closely with all
departments across campus, in particular the university’s Center for Technology Transfer and
Enterprise Creation and the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship. Project Olympus also
collaborates with the regional entrepreneurial community including the technology-based
economic development organizations, angel investment groups, and venture capital firms.
Project Olympus was founded by Professor Lenore Blum of Carnegie Mellon’s Computer
Science Department. The Olympus management team includes Senior Business Advisor, Kit
Needham, and Embedded Entrepreneur, Babs Carryer.
Project Olympus: Synergistic Life Cycle
Project Olympus brings together the academic, business and technology communities to create
a synergistic life cycle of economic development that benefits all participants. The launch of
each successful company provides economic growth for the region and our communities.
Companies hire students as they graduate, retaining the enormous talent that our universities
attract. The companies often work collaboratively with the university faculty and students
which further stimulates university education and attracts more research dollars. Business
leaders help guide the transformation of research results into products, services, and new
enterprises, and work to foster and sustain the initiative for the long-term.
Jim Jen, Director of Innovation Works' AlphaLab
“Project Olympus has provided tremendous benefit to the region in bringing
together the academic, business and technology communities and
encouraging entrepreneurship, especially within the Carnegie Mellon
community. Innovation Works and AlphaLab are proud to be a partner of
Project Olympus as we share a common vision to encourage
entrepreneurship and to keep valuable talent here in the region. Several of
the AlphaLab companies have been Project Olympus PROBEs and we view
Carnegie Mellon/Project Olympus as a vital source of prospective AlphaLab
Project Olympus Bridges the Gap Between
the University and the Innovation Community
The Southwestern Pennsylvania region is fortunate to have many technology-based economic
development (TBED) organizations that are funded by the state and local foundations. TBEDs
such as Innovation Works/AlphaLab, Idea Foundry, the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse,
and The Technology Collaborative are seeking to connect with the innovation occurring on
campus and to identify which are the most promising for company creation and growth.
Olympus helps to increase the number and quality of potential new companies by working with
them at the earliest stages. When the PROBE is ready, Olympus facilitates introductions to the
appropriate partners and helps to ease the transition to the next level.
Olympus operates at the
Pittsburgh: A Community of Innovation
UNIVERSITIES/ CMU / UPMC
leveraging $$ billion$$ research
Startup Early Growth Rapid Growth
Innovation Works (IW)
PRA – Attraction and Support Services
PTC – Trade Association
Electronics /Embedded Systems
Government Foundations Angels VCs TiE Pgh
PRA=Pgh Regional Alliance, PTC=Pgh Technology Council, PLSG= Pgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
KIZ = Keystone Innovation Zone (NB. This diagram is a modification of a TTC slide)
Olympus provides a university-savvy Embedded Entrepreneur who gives faculty-friendly,
personalized support and guidance that guides faculty along the path to commercialization. Our
Embedded Entrepreneur helps faculty navigate the often confusing community of individuals
and organizations that provide funding, legal expertise, and business acumen. The Embedded
Entrepreneur also connects the academic entrepreneur to business executive entrepreneurs to
round out the management team and drive the business forward.
Jamie Callan • Professor (LTI and Heinz) • PROBE team leader
“Project Olympus helped us get off to an amazingly fast start. Our Project
Olympus mentor assisted with technology transfer, helped find initial
funding, made introductions to legal and business contacts that addressed
problems specific to our company, and helped in a variety of other ways. The
amount and quality of mentoring and support is far beyond anything we
might have hoped for. Highly recommended! Thank you, Project Olympus!”
Priya Narasimhan • Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering • PROBE team leader
"The work with the Penguins resulted directly due to the last Olympus Event.
Audrey Russo heard me speak and immediately solicited a proposal for the
Penguins [who want to use cutting-edge technology in their new arena]. So,
the Olympus event made this connection happen, and I am very excited by it.
Thank you again.....for EVERYTHING. You have made so much possible for us.”
Alon Lavie • Associate Research Professor, Language Technologies • PROBE team leader
"Project Olympus has been a tremendous asset in getting our company -
Safaba Translation Solutions - launched and started. Babs Carryer, Project
Olympus "Embedded Entrepreneur," took us under her wing and became our
business advisor, connecting us with all the right people in order to get our
business started. The level of dedication and help has been beyond what we
ever imagined and hoped for. Pittsburgh is an ideal place for a translation
technology company and Project Olympus is helping us make this a reality.
We're extremely grateful to Babs, Lenore and everyone at Project Olympus."
PROBEs (PRoblem-Oriented Business Explorations)
At the core of Olympus’ efforts are the creation and nurturing of PROBEs
that are formed by both faculty and students.
Faculty PROBEs originate from years of deep, cutting-edge research in diverse fields such as
computer science, information systems, and engineering, often in collaboration with worldrenowned
companies such as Intel and IBM. Below are some examples of our faculty PROBEs.
reCAPTCHA is a free CAPTCHA service that helps to
digitize books, newspapers and old time radio shows. A
CAPTCHA is a program that can tell whether its user is a
human or a computer. You've probably seen them — colorful images with
distorted text at the bottom of web registration forms. CAPTCHAs are used by
many websites to prevent abuse from "bots," or automated programs usually
written to generate spam.
BeaconSys leverages off-the-shelf smartphone and global positioning
systems to provide support for a rich set of location aware, and context
aware mobile applications, including first-responder support, building
navigation, retail shopping, smart transportation and more.
SpiralGen’s software teaches computers to write fast libraries. The goal is to
push the limits of automation in software and hardware development and
optimization for digital signal processing algorithms and other numerical
kernels beyond what is possible with current tools. Spiral addresses one of
the current key problems in numerical software and hardware development:
achieving close to optimal performance with reasonable coding effort.
Safaba Translation Solutions provides automated solutions for language
service providers (LSPs). Commercial demand for high-quality translation
services has increased dramatically over the past decade and has spurred the
rapid growth of the LSP business sector to an estimated $26 billion in 2009.
This expansion is driven by companies doing business multi-nationally that
require professional-quality translations of an increasing volume of
documents and web pages to support their business operations.
Pow! develops optimal power and workload allocation policies to gain more
performance from the available power by merging advanced queuing,
optimization, and stochastic process theories to produce new, nonconventional
analytical models that improve response time ranging from 2 to
5 times over current methods.
Graphics Parallelism in the Cloud is poised to play a foundational role in nextgeneration
gaming technologies. By exploiting cloud computing, this PROBE
enables revolutionary speedups in graphics computation to create a new
generation of games, advancing a $57B industry which is doubling every 5
Students who approach Olympus range from undergraduate to graduate and
PhD candidates. Their background varies from no start-up experience to those who are working
on their fourth endeavor. Support from the Senior Business Advisor can come as early as
helping to distinguish which business ideas have the most potential or as later-stage guidance
Brian Wirtz •Tepper MBA student • PROBE team leader • Show & Tell presenter
“I must say, I NEVER could have imagined the events of my first semester
here at CMU: our first meeting in July, recruiting Bright's first six teammates,
my first television interview, the first Project Olympus headquarters, Bright's
first newspaper article – things have gone AMAZINGLY well! In just five
months, I've learned so much and have had so many life-changing
experiences. It's my hope that our work will forge a legacy for Project
Olympus and CMU.”
Liz Crawford • PhD Student (SCS) • PROBE team leader
"Project Olympus was instrumental to our company, Crono, getting started.
Our founding team met due to a one of the Project Olympus events that
brings people from different disciplines (e.g., computer science and
business) together. As we have developed as a company, expanding our
team and finding funding etc, we have greatly benefited from the support
provided by the whole Olympus team."
Alberto Gandini • Tepper MBA '09 • PROBE team leader • Show & Tell presenter
"I want to thank Professor Blum and the entire Project Olympus team for
supporting Tropical Health Systems. These few months [in residence in the
Olympus incubator space] have been very important for moving the
company forward. I believe we now have a very good chance to be funded.
Our latest progress would not have been possible without the valuable help
of our summer interns, and I have to thank you all for enabling this."
At the core of Olympus’ offerings is an incubator lab space where student teams can meet 24/7,
set up and leave their materials and equipment, capture and retain their strategy and plans on
white boards, and draw upon the expertise and resources of a Senior Business Advisor. Below
are some examples of our student PROBEs:
BeatBots, started by a PhD candidate in the Robotics Institute,
manufactures a robotic platform used in autism therapy and social
development research. A more broad-based product is also being
developed under contract with an international entertainment company.
Tropical Health Systems was started by an MBA student who has a PhD
in physics. Tropical Health is developing a diagnostic and treatment device
for malaria, a disease that kills over 1 million people every year and is
among the greatest threats to human health and economic welfare.
Fooala was started by a young serial entrepreneur in his junior year at
Carnegie Mellon. Fooala brings the convenience of on-demand ecommerce
to the restaurant dining experience. Fooala was accepted into
Innovation Work’s incubator AlphaLab and then moved on to become an
Innovation Works portfolio company.
Antecea Technologies Inc. is developing a series of transformational and
disruptive software products that will enable a user on any smart phone to
access all his or her files or computer desktop, whether they reside on
another computer, network storage device, or cloud storage service. It is
one of the top selling iPhone Store applications. One of the co-founders is
a flex-time MBA student while the other founders are located in other
Careerimp is a “software as a service” that enables jobseekers to rapidly
generate resumes tailored towards specific job descriptions. From a onetime
online entry of work history, jobseekers will in seconds be able to
generate multiple resumes tailored for diverse job opportunities.
Careerimp is also forming an online community for matching job seekers
to employment opportunities. The two co-founders are School of
Computer Science students who were exploring social enterprise
opportunities to help people who were unemployed. Careerimp was
accepted into AlphaLab.
Wei An Wang - BS (CS) ’07 • MBA (Tepper) ’08
PROBE team member • Olympus CONNECTS Students presenter
"Project Olympus served as an excellent introduction to the wide range of
opportunities that Pittsburgh offers to budding entrepreneurs. I enjoyed
many hours of valuable face-time with top venture capitalists from Western
Pennsylvania and beyond that helped me to mature individually... In addition,
Olympus tied in nicely with my MBA studies, and helped me to put the things
I learned into an entrepreneurial context."
Betty Cheng • PhD Student (SCS) • PROBE team leader • Show & Tell presenter
"... Through Olympus we were able to meet individuals from business, legal,
and computer science. The business and legal advice proved instrumental in
our preparations, application and negotiations with our lawyer for a patent,
forming our company, while advice from fellow computer scientists helped in
designing user tests and gathering data...Olympus' prestige enabled us to be
more than just a student project and gave us confidence in moving forward."
Matt Humphrey • BS (CS) ’07 • MBA (Tepper) ’08 •
PROBE team leader • Show & Tell presenter
"Project Olympus was and continues to be an excellent boost to my
entrepreneurial career as it provided both immediate, direct, tangible help to
my startup as well as on-going access to prestigious faculty, excellent mentors
... and more potential funders than we ever thought possible in Pittsburgh
and the nation, with lots of anchors in Silicon Valley and elsewhere... Every
day I continue to see personal benefit attained from Olympus, and for that I
really am grateful..."
Student PROBEs (cont.)
Dynamics was launched by an MBA student with degrees in electrical and
computer engineering and in law. Dynamics has developed a series of nextgeneration
credit cards that will help reduce fraud and provide greater
customer convenience using a disruptive technology. The Dynamics credit
card changes card information periodically and employs a magnetic
emulator so that the changed information can be transmitted to the
traditional credit card infrastructure.
Black Locus is a cloud-based, business intelligence platform for ecommerce
retailers. The platform analyzes current and historical facts
about the company, the market, and the competitors and then delivers
real time information and recommendations to literally drive execution,
bypassing the need for time consuming data analysis and interpretation.
The co-founders, two MBA students and one from the School of Computer
Science met through Olympus and entrepreneurial activities on campus.
Black Locus is an AlphaLab ‘graduate.’
onlyinPgh was started by a Heinz College masters student as a simple
social networking site where viewers could submit photographs and local
events for posting. onlyinpgh is now evolving into a robust, revenue-
producing online social network. It visually connects people to what is
going on in and around Pittsburgh such as what places are hot, where your
friends are going, and what places have the best attractions using a map
interface. The product is being developed for a nationwide rollout.
Bright was founded by an MBA student based upon a similar system he
created while an Army Captain serving in the Middle East. Bright is a microcollaboration
system that enables internet users to find and connect
instantly with an expert through voice and live-video conferencing, making
Bright the “eBay for advice.”
SlapVid, the first Olympus student PROBE, was started by four computer
science and engineering undergraduates, three of whom were also MBA
students. SlapVid provides technology that dramatically reduces the cost
of video-streaming by allowing peer-to-peer file sharing of pieces of video
files between browsers of concurrent viewers with no additional software
or application. SlapVid graduated to Y- Combinator. The founders have
since gone on to start more companies.
James Baker, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Dragon Systems, Inc
Distinguished Career Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
“I was very impressed with the Olympus Connects Leaders’ Show and Tell
yesterday (6/17/09). The quality of the presentations was uniformly high.
The business strategies were well thought out and many key issues had been
anticipated and good solutions were proposed. At several points I noticed a
degree of "business sense" that I have sometimes found lacking even in
professional business managers… Clearly, Olympus has been giving them
Show & Tells
CONNECTs and other events
Project Olympus Show & Tells have been hugely 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. The basic format consists of a series of 10-minute talks presenting cuttingedge
research, PROBEs, start-ups and community perspectives, followed by a networking reception.
Student CONNECTS events provide a forum for students from the science, technology and business
schools to meet each other, explore mutual interests, and form collaborations around PROBEs. Project
Olympus works with campus organizations, such as the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club
(EVC), Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Association (UEA), the SCS Entrepreneurs Club, the local student
chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Women@SCS, and the Tepper Women in
Business Club to stimulate discussion and participation around entrepreneurial activities. Olympus has
actively assisted with planning Carnegie Mellon’s Entrepreneurs Week and an entrepreneur event
organized for the College of Engineering. Olympus has presented at the Don Jones Center’s summer
Swartz Boot Camp and hosted receptions at Olympus’ incubator. These events generate a number of
student PROBEs each year. Olympus also helps to connect students through its CONNECTS MarketPlace
(Projects Seeking Talent and Talent Seeking Projects) section on its website. Anyone with a valid
Carnegie Mellon email account can recruit people to work on their projects. Conversely, students who
are eager to work on a start-up venture can post their talent and skills.
The Olympus Embedded Entrepreneur leads regular informational sessions on the “Path from Basic
Research to the Market Place,” aimed at demystifying the commercialization process for faculty and
researchers who are new to the world of intellectual property, venture finance, stock ownership, and
market entry for new products. Several of our current faculty-generated PROBEs have resulted from
these sessions. Olympus’ website also features an Entrepreneurial Corner, a section with links and
articles targeting the academic entrepreneur to help them on the commercialization journey and a blog
which provides postings related to commercializing new technologies.
In collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, Olympus holds events to connect faculty PROBE teams
with potential executive officers. The aim is to create an environment where faculty can interact with a
pool of potential executives, and executives can quickly assess whether a project is a good fit for their
skills and experience. Olympus also hosts Student Showcases where students present their businesses to
potential advisors and representatives from local economic development organizations.
Project Olympus is frequently contacted by individuals and organizations that are seeking to connect
with the innovation community within Carnegie Mellon. For example, Olympus was the major sponsor
for the fifth Young Inventors International (YII) Conference which attracted participants from around the
world. Olympus has developed a mentor program with the Pittsburgh Chapter of The Indus
Entrepreneurs (TiE), and has given presentations to angels and VCs from the East and West Coasts.
Carnegie Mellon University is a Proven Economic
Carnegie Mellon University, one of the most prestigious research universities in the world, is
home to leading experts in a diverse range of fields. From computing to the arts to the
environment to biotechnology, Carnegie Mellon faculty and students are shaping the future
with a strong focus on finding practical answers to complex problems. With an appreciation of
interdisciplinary collaboration, Carnegie Mellon affords its researchers the freedom to look
across disciplines for solutions, benefiting from many perspectives.
Each year since 2005, Carnegie Mellon has averaged 10 direct spin-outs (companies that
licensed technology from Carnegie Mellon). Based upon peer comparisons, Carnegie Mellon has
the best “start-up efficiency” in terms of number of start-ups per research dollars, being twice
as efficient as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and three times more efficient
than Stanford University. Carnegie Mellon also stands out when compared to the top 100
research universities, coming in second overall in start-up efficiency.*
In addition, Carnegie Mellon annually produces 5 – 10 indirect faculty and student spin-offs
where the technology is developed while at Carnegie Mellon but the technology is not owned
or licensed by Carnegie Mellon. Over 200 companies in the region can attribute their roots to
Further, collaboration with researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has further boosted productivity for the benefit of the
Carnegie Mellon has taken proactive steps to help create this prolific growth. The university’s
favorable “5% go-in-peace” policy was designed to support faculty entrepreneurship. The fact
that Carnegie Mellon faculty generate approximately two new patentable ideas every week
attests to the entrepreneurial culture on campus.
*2007 Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM)
“It’s really gratifying to see how the Olympus model resonates with faculty and students
campus-wide. The phenomenal growth of Olympus PROBEs and companies attests to the value
of providing appropriate resources and support within the academic arena where we can tap
into our university’s tremendous talent base and great ideas early on. The Carnegie Science
Catalyst Award is further recognition of our impact beyond campus. As we move forward, we
are working to transform Olympus into a world-class innovation accelerator for the benefit of
all our communities.”
Lenore Blum, Founder, Project Olympus
"Olympus is focused on encouraging an entrepreneurial culture across campus. Of prime
importance is commercializing the next generation of technologies developed by our top notch
faculty to help people. That's what we do at Olympus: we enable the commercialization process
so that these great technologies can make it into the marketplace."
Babs Carryer, Embedded Entrepreneur
“Olympus is a nurturing environment where students can explore the process of
commercialization, and learn from their successes and mistakes as they develop all aspects of
their business strategy. When selecting student PROBEs, we look for students who have a
plausible business concept and show the commitment and perseverance to get the most from
the Olympus experience.”
Kit Needham, Senior Business Advisor
Lenore Blum, Founding Director Project Olympus
Lenore (PhD, MIT) is a Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon
where she is co-Director of the NSF-ALADDIN Center and faculty advisor to the student
organization, Women@SCS. Her research focuses on complexity and real computation. Lenore is
internationally recognized for her work in increasing the participation of girls and women in
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. In 2005, in recognition of this work, she
received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering
Mentoring. In the past, Lenore taught at the University of California at Berkeley; she also founded
the Mills College Department of Mathematics and Computer Science (the first CS department at a
women’s college), was a Senior Researcher at the International Computer Science Institute and
Deputy Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley. She has served the
professional community in numerous capacities, including as President of the Association for
Women in Mathematics, Vice-President of the American Mathematical Society, and as a member of
the MIT Mathematics Visiting Committee. In 2009 she received the Carnegie Science Catalyst Award
for her work with Olympus targeting high-tech talent to promote economic growth in the region
and increasing the participation of women in computer science.
Babs Carryer, Olympus Embedded Entrepreneur, Liaison with the Donald H. Jones Center for
Entrepreneurship and the Heinz College Institute for Social Innovation
Babs is President of Carryer Consulting which provides strategic marketing and business planning
services to technology companies and organizations. Babs is widely experienced in the start-up
community, having been involved with hundreds of early-stage companies seeking financing,
growth or acquisition partners. Babs is past Director of Deal Flow for BlueTree Allied Angels,
Western Pennsylvania's region angel investment group. Babs co-founded, was past President,
and still serves as Secretary and Director of LaunchCyte, a development company that creates,
seeds and harvests life sciences innovations from leading research universities across the U.S.
LaunchCyte has a portfolio of five life sciences companies. Babs has a Masters degree in Public
Management (MPM) from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon, and has been teaching
entrepreneurship there, and at other institutions, for over 10 years.
Kit Needham, Senior Business Adviser
Kit provides students with start-up advice, business strategy planning, and connections to industry
experts, advisors and the business community. She is President of Needham Consulting, specializing
in promoting economic growth by engaging the established business community in supporting
start-ups, assisting entrepreneurs, and advancing non-profit organizations. She is a Facilitator and
Advisor for Chatham University Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship and the Education
Coordinator for BlueTree Allied Angels. Kit was formerly Senior VP for the Allegheny Conference on
Community Development, where she developed the Conference’s strategy to expand business
opportunities for start-ups in the region. Previously, Kit served as the Chief Operating Officer for
Mellon Lab, established to create new businesses within Mellon Financial Services Corporation, and
with the Financial Services Roundtable and American Bankers Association. Kit graduated magna
cum laude from the University of Maryland with a BS, and obtained a Masters of Technology
Management degree from American University, receiving The Graduate Scholarship Award.
Raymond Luk • Founder, Flow Ventures • Olympus Advisory Cabinet member
"It’s rare that I come across a tech incubator that can claim any more
success than the square footage they’ve rented out. It’s not that incubators
can’t work, it’s that most confuse office space with synergy. Others try to
do too much and end up competing with the entrepreneurial ecosystem
around them... Given my bias, I was pleasantly surprised to [visit] Project
Olympus... With a shoestring budget that would make certain government
funded incubators blush, [they have] created a model that will be of
interest to anyone trying to figure out how to better commercialize
Audrey Russo • President & CEO, Pittsburgh Technology Council
Olympus Advisory Cabinet member • Show & Tell presenter
"Project Olympus is an example of the infectious yet subtle leadership
which exists in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon... I have
consistently met brilliant, diverse and talented innovators as a result of the
Show and Tells, but even more crucial, is the impact this program is having
across faculty, students and supporting organizations to accelerate the
growth and retention of talent which is pivotal for our region."
Olympus Executive Board
Olympus Executive Board and Advisory Cabinet
Lenore Blum, Founding Director, Olympus; Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science
Randal E. Bryant, Dean, School of Computer Science
Mark Kamlet, Provost, Carnegie Mellon
Richard D. McCullough, Vice President of Research, Carnegie Mellon
Timothy McNulty, Special Assistant to the Provost, Carnegie Mellon
Bruce McWilliams, Chair of the Board, Tessera, Inc; Chair, Research &Technology
Commercialization Committee, Carnegie Mellon Board of Trustees
Luis von Ahn, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science
Jeannette Wing, Head, Computer Science Department
Robert A. Wooldridge, Director, Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation,
Olympus Advisory Cabinet
Ron Brachman, Vice President, Yahoo! Labs and Head, Academic Relations, Yahoo!
Benno Bernt, Chair, Griffin Group Partners; Chair, School of Computer Science Advisory Board
Arthur Boni, Director, Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper School of Business
Phil Bronner , General Partner, Novak Biddle Venture Partners
Eric C. Cooper, Former CEO and co-Founder, FORE Systems
Kenneth Dunn, Dean, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon
Christina Gabriel, Director, Innovation Economy Program, Heinz Endowments
Garth Gibson, Chief Technology Officer, Panasas, Inc.
John Glicksman, Vice President, Legal Affairs, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
Matt Harbaugh, Chief Investment Officer, Innovation Works
Matthew Humphrey, Computer Science and MBA alumnus, Carnegie Mellon
Jim Jen, Director, AlphaLab
Pradeep K. Khosla, Dean, College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon
Ramayya Krishnan, Dean, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon
Carl Kurlander, Executive Producer, Steeltown Entertainment Project
Olympus Executive Board and Advisory Cabinet
Olympus Advisory Cabinet (cont.)
Kai-Fu Lee, President and CEO, Innovation Works, China
Philip L. Lehman, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, School of Computer Science
Roy Levin, Director, Microsoft Research Silicon Valley
Raymond Luk, Founder, Flow Ventures
Chris Maeda, Founder and CEO, Brick Street Software; co-Chair, SCS Alumni Advisory Board
Michael M. Matesic, Chief Executive Officer, Idea Foundry
Dave Mawhinney, Executive-in-Residence, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
Regis McKenna, Founder, Regis McKenna, Inc.
Andrew Moore, Engineering Director, Google Pittsburgh
Jacqui Morby, Senior Director, TA Associates; School of Computer Science Advisory Board
James H. Morris, Dean, Carnegie Mellon West
Catherine V. Mott, Founder/CEO, BlueTree Capital Group, Blue Tree Allied Angels
Priya Narasimhan, Director, Intel Research Pittsburgh
Cindy Padnos, Managing Director, Illuminate Ventures
D. Raja, President and CEO, Computer Enterprises Inc., Past President, TiE Pittsburgh
Scott Russell, School of Computer Science Advisory Board, a founder, West Coast Campus
Audrey Russo, President and CEO, Pittsburgh Technology Council
Tuomas Sandholm, Founder, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Scientist, CombineNet, Inc.
Matthew A. Sanfilippo, Executive Director, CenSCIR, Carnegie Mellon
Ed Schlesinger, Head, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon
Harry Shum, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Corporation
Luke Skurman, CEO, College Prowler
Alfred Spector, Vice President of Research and Special Initiatives, Google
Jay Srini, CEO, Strategic Consulting Solutions
Anne Swift, Founder and President, Young Inventors International
William (Bill) A. Thomasmeyer, Executive Vice President, The Technology Collaborative
Astro Teller, Chairman and Chief Research & Strategy Officer, BodyMedia
Raul Valdes-Perez, CEO and Co-Founder, Vivisimo
Alan Veeck, Principal, Meakem Becker Venture Capital
Olympus has received critical financial support for its mission from local and
Core funds for Olympus have come from:
p The Heinz Endowments Innovation Economy Program (primary core funding)
p The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA)
p Idea Foundry
p The Microsoft Research Carnegie Mellon Center for Computational Thinking
p Intel Higher Education Program
p Computer Science Department, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon
p Pro-bono professional contributions
Olympus PROBEs have received additional funds from:
p The Technology Collaborative
p Idea Foundry
p Innovation Works
p The Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation
p The Don Jones Center for Entrepreneurship
p Kauffman Entrepreneur Postdoctoral Fellowship
p The Quality of Life Technology Center
p Individual grants and university support
p U.S. Department of Defense
p National Institutes of Health
p National Science Foundation
Opportunities to help Olympus
Become a mentor: Olympus PROBEs often need experienced business executives with domain
expertise to coach and advise PROBEs.
Refer potential CEOs: One of Project Olympus’ greatest needs is finding the right management
to form the company and take it to the next stages. Olympus is always looking for referrals.
Donate to Olympus: Olympus is now seeking funds to transform into a world-class center. The
Friends of Project Olympus Fund will be used to support faculty and student PROBEs to explore
the commercial potential of ground-breaking research and ideas. Donations can be made at
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/about/giving/olympus.html or by contacting Olympus staff.
Adopt a PROBE: Individuals can designate micro-grants to help student PROBEs with their
funding needs. Visit www.olympus.cs.cmu.edu/support to review student PROBE plans and
Olympus welcomes expendable and endowed gifts of any size. Smaller gifts will be combined
into a larger fund. Larger donations can be designated as named gifts.
4620 Henry Street 1 st floor
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Museum of Art
Sue Martin • ARCS member • Show & Tell attendee
“My husband and I were delighted to attend your presentations last week
at Carnegie Mellon. We're looking forward to attending more of them.
You should be very proud of what Carnegie Mellon is contributing to the
Pittsburgh community... We're bragging about Olympus to all of our
friends. You'd think that we were the proud parents!!”