Mark Nowotarski will moderate a panel of several
Connecticut entrepreneurs who have successfully raised
funds for new projects using crowdfunding. Crowdfunding
is a way to use the internet to raise money from
relatively large numbers of people who each contribute a
relatively small amount of money to back a project.
Major crowdfunding sites include http://www.Kickstarter.com,
The panelists will discuss what drew them to
crowdfunding, how they were successful and what they
have learned since they raised their money.
Michael Carpanzano is a local business
owner and inventor. His latest
product, nuplug, is an innovative extension cord
with clamping system designed for smart-device charging
convenience. As an MBA student at Westconn, his
pitch for nuplug won first place in the small
business category at the CT Business Plan Competition
(sponsored by Entrepreneurship Foundation).
Shortly after, he won the Grand Prize at the
International Giants Entrepreneurship Challenge Business
Competition in North Dakota. Last May, he successfully
raised over $85K in Kickstarter funds to begin
production of nuplug, and has since been sought out by
and partnered with a few major commercialization and
Cliff Thier has invented two products, both of which he has successfully launched through Kickstarter: the Vector™ Cupholder and the TacType™ Keyboard (formerly the iKeyboard).
The Vector Cupholder prevents the user from knocking over a beverage and killing your computer, or soaking the user's books, or burning your lap (www.vectorwerks.com). By taking the beverage off the tabletop altogether, the Vector Cupholder neatly solves the problem of where to safely put a beverage when most of the tabletop is occupied by electronic devices or other possessions.
The Vector Cupholder securely grips table edges as thick as 1.5 inches, and holds a wide assortment of containers: from a huge, 30-ounce “Trenti” to a small airplane cup; from Thermos™ bottles to soda cans; from water bottles to mugs up to 3 inches in diameter.
By holding beverages off the table, the Vector Cupholder also delivers the added benefit of freeing up “real estate” on crowded work surfaces like coffeehouse tables and airplane trays.
Cliff's earlier invention, the TacType keyboard piggybacks over the virtual keyboard of the Apple iPad™. The TacType keyboard (www.tactype.com) gives the user the ability to actually touch-type on the iPad (i.e., type without looking at the keys).
In addition to inventing, Cliff has his own commercial law practice in Connecticut. He holds a Juris Doctor from Widener University School of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from SUNY Stony Brook.
Jennifer Shaw is Founder of
NYTechWomen and http://www.bellaminds.com/
Bella Minds and former Senior Data Analyst for comScore.
Jennifer hales from rural Nebraska, and uses her
All-American roots as fuel for empowering people to
leverage technology and improve the state of STEM
education and workforces in the US. Ms. Shaw quickly
established NYTechWomen as the authority for women in
tech in the NYC area. With Bella Minds, she is leading
the way to educating rural areas of the US and tackling
the urgent need of increased participation and
attainment rates. Bella Minds raised $28,690 in seed
money from the crowdfunding site
Plum Alley. Jennifer is a recognized innovator by
several NYC-based ventures, and has spoken at
TEDxHobokenWomen. Her mission remains focused in
mentoring opportunities and empowering women who are
serious about the technology sector.
Doug Lyon, Ph.D. is Chairman of the Computer
Engineering Department at Fairfield University and the
inventor of the Arduino Digital Signal Processing
Shield (DSP for Arduino). He is based in Fairfield
CT. The DSP for Arduino is a programmable circuit board
that helps musicians make unique sounds and helps
students learn the basics of digital signal processing.
Doug raised $7,859 on Kickstarter in March of 2013. He
is using the funds to feverishly produce the first run
of his product even as we speak. Doug is also a senior
member of the IEEE, President of DocJava, Inc., CTO of
Lyon-Ratafia, and President of the Inventors Association
of Connecticut (IACT). He received a Ph.D., M.S. and
B.S. degrees in Computer and Systems Engineering from
RPI. DocJava home page
Moderator and Meeting Organizer:
Mark Nowotarski is president of Markets, Patents & Alliances LLC
in Darien CT and a registered US patent agent. Mark has
several patent clients with crowdfunding projects and
has given training seminars and webinars on crowdfunding
through the ABA, IACT, SCORE and the UK based CIPA. Mark
is a former Corporate R&D Fellow at Praxair Inc. He
has a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from
Stanford and a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace,
Mechanical Sciences and Physics from Princeton.