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Who: Moderator, Mark Nowotarski, President Markets, Patents & Alliances LLC
Panel: Michael Carpanzano, Doug Lyon, Ph.D., Jennifer Shaw, Cliff Thier
What: Crowdfunding Your Invention – The Panel
Where: Fairfield University Dolan School of Business DINING ROOM (104A)
When: Monday, March 31, 2014; 7:00 PM. Admission is free.

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Crowdfunding Your Invention - The Panel

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, http://www.Indiegogo.com and http://www.Rockethub.com. The panelists will discuss what drew them to crowdfunding, how they were successful and what they have learned since they raised their money.

Speaker Bios:
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 wonfirst 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 licensing allies.

Cliff Thier 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 http://techwomen.co/ 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 http://plumalley.co/ 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.

This presentation made possible by support from IACT, The Inventors Association of Connecticut,
The Dolan School of Business and the School of Engineering at Fairfield University.
Copyright 2014 The Inventors Association of Connecticut
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