Second Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference set for April 19-20

Applications for conference's Venture Connection close March 5

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and startups will converge on Penn State’s University Park campus April 19-20 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 — with more than 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.”

This year’s conference promises to be just as exciting. Keynote speakers at the conference include Penn State President Eric Barron, whose support has been key to Invent Penn State’s success. Other high-profile keynote presentations include a “Fireside Chat” with Penn State head football coach James Franklin. The conversation with Franklin will be facilitated by a sports investor and SeventySix Capital Managing Partner Wayne Kimmel and will give attendees insight into Franklin’s leadership philosophy and practices. Wall Street Journal best-selling author Nir Eyal will close the conference. His book, "Hooked," shares his knowledge about consumer behavior and behavioral design that informs entrepreneurs how to build habit-forming products.

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to network with capital-seeking technology startups, business professionals, angel investors, venture capitalists, technology and innovation executives, and entrepreneurs. Panel discussions for numerous audiences will feature Penn State, industry and government experts on a wide range of topics, including AI in educational technologies, commercializing life sciences technologies, corporate venture capital, and how to leverage SBIR funding.

The Venture Connection event, the central event of the conference, will again enable startups to pitch to numerous venture capitalists face to face in a speed dating styled event. Each investor has the opportunity to meet with up to 36 capital-seeking, well-screened, curated entrepreneurs.

The Penn State Tech Tournament, which awarded more than $170,000 to four winning startups in 2016, will return to this conference with prize money. 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 top three prize winners will be decided by a panel of judges and the fourth winner will be determined by the audience via a text message vote for the “People’s Choice” award.

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 startup 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.

Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference startup applications, registration and deadlines

Applications for startups to participate in the Venture Connection close Monday, March 5. Apply here.

Investors and general attendees can register here.

To sponsor the 2018 Venture and IP Conference, contact

The Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference is a signature event of Invent Penn State, a Commonwealth-wide initiative launched in 2015 by President Eric Barron to spur economic development and job creation and to enhance student career success.

Last Updated March 01, 2018