Penn StateSchool of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs

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Workshops prepare attendees for "invention to venture"

Invention to Venture (I2V), a one-day workshop on the basics of technology commercialization and entrepreneurship, was hosted by the Penn State Entrepreneurs Network and the College of Engineering at University Park on Oct. 24, 2009.

The workshop, which was intended for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty/staff, and community members, included presentations focused on technology entrepreneurship, opportunity assessment, venture capital, marketing, intellectual property, business plans, and related topics.

Speakers at I2V included experts with national stature, local technology entrepreneurs, and a number of Penn State student startups. Gavin McIntyre (co-founder of Ecovative Design), Shabbir Dahod (CEO of TraceLink and venture partner with FirstMark Capital), Ujjwal Gupta (co-founder of Watermelon Express), and Pat McNamara (marketing guru) were some of the speakers at the conference.

Workshop participants explored technology entrepreneurship fundamentals, discovered how to turn an innovative product idea into a new technology venture, heard success stories, and networked with other participants and speakers at the conference.

Watermelon Express, a Penn State student startup and sponsor of the event, gave away standardized test preparation software to all participants free of cost.

The I2V workshop was held in cooperation with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and sponsored by RatnerPrestia and the University Park Allocation Committee.

Following I2V, the College of Engineering and Smeal College of Business hosted the Advanced Invention to Venture (AI2V) workshop from Nov. 20-23, 2009, at University Park.

The intense four-day workshop was open to student teams, faculty, non-academic-affiliated venture teams, and corporate technologists who committed to starting a company and were striving to define and articulate the market value of their technology and the best strategy for commercialization.

Participants conducted critical and strategic thinking about their ventures with assigned mentors and coaches who are accomplished entrepreneurs in industry. AI2V instructors, coaches, and mentors helped participants to formulate plans to raise money, recruit team members, and further develop technology.

AI2V provided a more thorough review of the subject matter with hands-on exercises that made the materials pertinent to each participating team’s venture. Limited class size and hand-picked mentors and speakers provided startups a unique venture acceleration opportunity.

AI2V is a world-class venture accelerator workshop that has helped advance early-stage startups and shorten their time to market, with proven results. Participants have called it the single most important turning point for their startups.

AI2V was sponsored by Penn State in conjunction with the NCIIA.

To learn more about Invention to Venture, visit Videos of the I2V conference talks are available at To learn more about Advanced Invention to Venture, visit or contact Khanjan Mehta at