April 19-20, 2018 hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and startups converge on Penn State’s University Park Campus for the second Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference. The conference is jam packed with entrepreneurial and innovation activities–student pitches, startup pitches for venture capital investment, research panels and resources for startups.
The Centre Daily Times described the inaugural conference in 2016—with over 580 attendees, more than 90 startups, 69 venture capitalists and 39 sponsors—as having enough “…brainpower in The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center that would put ‘The Apprentice’ to shame.”
The Venture Connection event, the central event of the conference, enables startups to pitch to numerous venture capitalists face to face in a speed dating styled event.
The Penn State Tech Tournament, the “Shark Tank”–styled event gives Penn State research-derived startups just a few minutes on stage to present their technology to a large room of investors. The Penn State Tech Tournament winners and awards at the inaugural conference were:
1st Place ($75,000)
AdvanceRib, an FDA-approved device to improve outcomes of rib surgery invented by a team at Hershey Medical Center led by Barry Fell.
2nd Place ($50,000)
AvoColor, a natural food colorant developed by Penn State food researcher Greg Ziegler that is being commercialized by Ziegler’s start-up company, Persea Naturals LLC, operating in the Innovation Park incubator.
3rd Place ($25,000)
Project Team, a K-12 anti-bullying curriculum developed by a team of Penn State Education faculty members led by Linsey Covert and currently selling to educators across Pennsylvania.
People’s Choice ($10,000)
Lasers for Innovative Solutions, LLC (L4IS), a laser imaging system, developed by Penn State grad student Ben Hall, which provides highly detailed images of samples as the laser slices them into fine layers. L4IS is a tenant in the Innovation Park incubator.