Inaugural Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference set for Oct. 6-7

September 27, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and representatives from startup businesses will gather on Penn State’s University Park campus for the inaugural Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference, to be held Oct. 6-7 at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.

The event, a signature program within President Eric Barron’s Invent Penn State initiative, will connect promising startups and emerging technologies with investors looking for ground-floor investment opportunities.

“The Venture and IP Conference will not only feature innovations and intellectual property from our Penn State faculty, staff and students, but it will also bring entrepreneurs and investors from around the country to collaborate around entrepreneurship,” said Neil A. Sharkey, Penn State vice president for research.

The conference will feature several keynote speakers, including Ray Lane, partner emeritus at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and former president and COO of Oracle, and moderated panel discussions, along with participatory events designed to connect investors and entrepreneurs.

More than 80 early-stage companies are currently registered to pitch their concepts at Venture Connection roundtable sessions. Investors will host the tables, and groups of entrepreneurs will be matched to a table session based on industry and capital needs.

A Startup Showdown event will also allow a select group of entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their company in a competition fashioned after the hit ABC television series “Shark Tank” to win cash prizes from event sponsors.

All registered attendees will receive a published guide detailing more than 40 promising innovations from Penn State, including intellectual property currently available to license.

Penn State undergraduate students with startup ideas will also get involved through the Inc. U Student Startup Pitch Competition. Up to 10 winning students will earn grant money, plus the chance to share their startup concept on stage with the investor audience.

The Venture and IP Conference is just one of several signature programs from Invent Penn State, a $30 million initiative launched in January 2015, which aims to drive job creation, economic development and student career success throughout the Commonwealth.

In addition to the conference, Invent Penn State programs include 13 innovation hubs throughout Pennsylvania, such as Happy Valley LaunchBox, as well as the Fund for Innovation, which provides grants to faculty and researchers whose research leads to commercial potential.

Organizers have been encouraged by the high level of interest in the conference, as more than 320 registrations have been received to date.

“There is energy around this event,” said Sharkey. “We are excited to welcome attendees from around the country to experience the strong culture of innovation here at Penn State.”

Plans are already being considered to host follow-up events, according to Nena Ellis-Koschny, assistant director of marketing and communications for Invent Penn State.

“Invent Penn State is a long-term investment in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Ellis-Koschny.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit

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Last Updated September 27, 2016