Following an impressive debut in 2016, the Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference is returning to the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel April 19 and 20, 2018. The conference will feature keynote speakers representing a wide range of businesses and fields as well as events where entrepreneurs can compete, pitch their business ventures and meet with potential investors.

The inaugural conference showcased over 90 startup ventures, 14 of which were from the Penn State community. Each of these 90 ventures represented emerging markets including IT, energy, biotechnology and healthcare among many others. The coming 2018 conference is expected to draw an even wider array of markets and innovations.

Venture Connection

The Venture Connection event is divided into two sessions. The first will be held on Thursday, April 19, from 12:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and the second, Friday, April 20, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

Venture Connection is the central event of the Penn State VIP. During the event, investors host tables where they meet with groups of entrepreneurs who have been matched with the investors based on key criteria, including capital needs and industry. Each Venture Connection session is divided into 20-minute segments that give each investor the chance to meet with up to 36 capital-seeking, well-screened entrepreneurs.

Venture Connection helps build relationships between innovative entrepreneurs and investors. Entrepreneurs are provided with the space and time to give an elevator pitch to their potential investors, and investors can then share details about what they look for in prospects and can discuss funding and strategies. If a connection is made, further one-on-one meetings can be scheduled.

Entrepreneurs participating in Venture Connection must apply to participate in the event. Their applications are then reviewed by a selection committee to ensure that Venture Connection is an exemplary showcase introducing bright and promising technology ventures.

Tech Tournament

The tournament will be held from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at the Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel.

The Penn State Tech Tournament is a fast-paced competition in the style of the hit TV series Shark Tank. The Tech Tournament gives Penn State research-based startups a chance to present their technology to a large audience of investors. Entrepreneurs have only a few minutes on stage with which to impress a panel of judges to earn one of three cash prizes for first, second and third place. But it isn’t just the judges and investors they should aim to impress. The winner of the fourth award, the People’s Choice Award, will be chosen by the audience via a text message vote.

Conference Speakers

This year’s conference speakers include:
Penn State University President, Dr. Eric J. Barron; James Franklin, head coach for Penn State Football; Wayne Kimmel, managing partner at SeventySix Capital, Brian Slawin, regional director and portfolio manager at Ben Franklin Technology Partners Central and Northern PA; and Nir Eyal, bestselling author of “Hooked: How to Build Habit-forming Products,” a public speaker and a consultant.

Additional Events

The Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference will feature tours of the Millennium Science Complex, located on the University Park Campus, and a tour of the LaunchBox, located on Allen Street in downtown State College. The Conference will also host exhibits and expert-led panels both Thursday and Friday, as well as a cocktail reception 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19. Courtesy shuttles will be available to take guests between the Conference Center and downtown State College.


Tentative agenda. Subject to change.

Thursday, April 19th

8:00 am – 7:30 pm
General Registration
8:30 – 11:00 am
Millennium Science Complex and LaunchBox Tours
11:00 am
Exhibits Open
11:00 – 12:30 pm
Keynote: Dr. Eric J. Barron, President of Penn State
Inc.U Student Startup Pitch
12:45 – 3:00 pm

For pre-selected entrepreneurs & investors
12:45 – 1:45 pm
Session #1 - America's Seed Fund - Growing your Startup with SBIR/STTR
2:00 – 2:45 pm
Session #2 - Getting AI and Technology Right in Education Ventures
3:00 – 5:30 pm
Penn State Tech Tournament
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Cocktail Reception
7:00 – 11:00 pm
Courtesy Shuttles to and from The Penn Stater to Downtown State College

Friday, April 20th

7:00 am – 2:45 pm
Registration & Exhibits Open
7:30 – 9:00 am
Breakfast & Keynote: Fireside Chat with James Franklin, Penn State Football Coach & Wayne Kimmel, Managing Partner, SeventySix Capital
9:00 – 11:00 am

For pre-selected entrepreneurs & investors
9:00 – 9:45 am
Session #3 - 8 Questions Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know the Answers to
with Brian Slawin of Ben Franklin Technology Partners
10:00 – 10:45 am
Session #4 - Growing PA's Capacity for Life Sciences Startups
11:15 am - 12:15 pm
The Corporate Venture Capital Value Proposition Panel
11:00 – 11:45 am
Session #5 - The Secrets of Fundraising for Your Company
11:45 am – 12:30 pm
Session #6 - How I Did It - Stories from Experienced Entrepreneurs
12:30 – 2:30 pm
Lunch, Awards Ceremony & Keynote: Nir Eyal, Investor, Entrepreneur and Author