Carnegie Mellon - Olympus - Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon - Olympus - Carnegie Mellon University


Bridging the gap between

world-class university research/innovation and

economy-stimulating commercialization

for the benefit of our communities

Carnegie Mellon

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

48 Events

• 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

earliest stages.








Pittsburgh: A Community of Innovation




leveraging $$ billion$$ research










Startup Early Growth Rapid Growth



Innovation Works (IW)

PRA – Attraction and Support Services

Drug Discovery

Tissue/Organ Engineering

Neurological Treatments

Medical Devices


Maturity Reinvention

PTC – Trade Association



Electronics /Embedded Systems

Cyber Security

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)

Faculty PROBEs

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



Student PROBEs

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

and assistance.

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."


Student PROBEs

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

good guidance...”


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.

CONNECTS Community

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

Development Powerhouse

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

Carnegie Mellon.

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

university research."

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,

Carnegie Mellon

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

national organizations.

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 AlphaLab

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 or by contacting Olympus staff.

Adopt a PROBE: Individuals can designate micro-grants to help student PROBEs with their

funding needs. Visit to review student PROBE plans and

funding needs.

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.

Contact us

Project Olympus

4620 Henry Street 1 st floor

Pittsburgh PA 15213

412 268-2560

Lenore Blum Babs


Kit Needham

Cleah Schlueter



Museum of Art

Carnegie Mellon


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!!”


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