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  • Office Location:
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  • Phone: 315/268-4483
11-02-2012

Clarkson University Shipley Center for Innovation Students Pitch to Venture Capitalists in Silicon Valley

The Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University recently took nine Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University student entrepreneurs to the Silicon Valley to learn how to "pitch" to professional investors.

Front row (left to right): Gabor Forgacs (Shipley Center executive & scientific director), Stephen Akiki, Sean Cheung, Dietrich Diehl, and Emily Webb. Back row: Cameron Jones, Cyrus Schenck, Andrew Wegner, Daegan Gonyer, Chris Behrens, and Matthew Draper (Shipley deputy director).Visiting eminent venture capital firms and foundations with a history of investing in innovative technology firms, the students had four occasions to pitch in various formats. After their presentations, they received invaluable input, which the students are already incorporating into their business models.

While in Palo Alto, the group met with lawyers from the renowned firm of K&L Gates, which was founded by Bill Gates' father and specializes in intellectual property protection and legal issues pertinent to start-up companies. They also met with investors from Richmond, ULU and T2 Ventures, as well as with representatives of the Kauffman Fellow Program, an executive program to train future venture capitalists.

They also visited Singularity University at the NASA Ames Center in Mountain View, which brings together executives from around the world for intensive courses and helps to launch start-up companies.

In San Francisco, the group visited the Thiel Foundation and also met with the directors of the Breakout Lab, a new foundation started by Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal.

"In follow-up discussions, the representatives of these firms indicated that they were impressed by the students' enthusiasm, innovative ideas and drive to succeed," said Shipley Center Executive & Scientific Director Gabor Forgacs, the Karel K. Czanderna ’77 and W. Dan Shirkey ’80 Professor in Physics.

The Shipley Center accelerates the commercialization of discovery-driven innovations into the marketplace, fostering the exchange of ideas between the University's academic departments and other regional institutions and industry. The center also prepares and educates faculty and students for the 21st century entrepreneurial workplace.

For more information about the Shipley Center for Innovation, see http://www.clarkson.edu/Shipley .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: The Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University recently took nine Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University student entrepreneurs to the Silicon Valley to learn how to "pitch" to professional investors. Above, the students meet in the Palo Alto office of K&L Gates. Front row (left to right): Gabor Forgacs (Shipley Center executive & scientific director), Stephen Akiki, Sean Cheung, Dietrich Diehl, and Emily Webb. Back row: Cameron Jones, Cyrus Schenck, Andrew Wegner, Daegan Gonyer, Chris Behrens, and Matthew Draper (Shipley deputy director).

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/shipley-silicon.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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