All series are 5:30-7 p.m. 

January 29, 2019
Starting a Business with an F-1 Visa
CMU, Gates Hillman Center, Room 6115
Cohen & Grigsby

Students with an F-1 Visa can legally start businesses as well as work on a startup team. Come learn the details of how to do this without violating your student status. 

February 5, 2019
Raising Capital: Part One 
Pitt Barco Law Building, Room 107 
K&L Gates       

 Learn about the legal issues associated with raising capital through Friends and Family, Seed Funding and Series A, B, and C rounds, including:

- Structuring investments to maximize growth

- Funding from incubators/accelerators, government, and foundations

- Opportunities available through the JOBS Act 

- Crowd sourcing and SEC regulations

February 14, 2019
  Raising Capital: Part Two
CMU, Newell-Simon Hall, Room 3305
K&L Gates

Learn how to address the legal and business issues associated with investing in start-up companies, including strategies in negotiating valuation, founder and investor rights, vesting, management and exits. In this interactive workshop, participants will divide into two groups, investor startup, each working with an experienced lawyer.   Both groups will decide independently on the terms they want and then come together for the negotiation led by the lawyers.

February 28, 2019
Social Enterprises: Profit with a Purpose
CMU, Newell-Simon Hall, Room 3305
Stephanie Dangel, Pitt Innovation Practice Institute

Learn about for-profit verses non-profit companies, social enterprise, hybrid and alternative legal models, including the Benefit Corporation, L3C's and Flexible Purpose Corporations. This is a MUST-ATTEND event for anyone interested in starting and running a company that blends profit with purpose!

March 7, 2019
How to Handle Your (And Others') Intellectual Property
CMU, Newell-Simon Hall, Room 3305
 K&L Gates

Learn how to deal with intellectual property issues, including:              

- Developing an IP strategy (do you always need that patent? are you patenting new IP?)

-  What are copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets 

- How to protect your company's IP

- How not to infringe on another's IP

- How to handle IP created by class projects when one or more students want to pursue commercialization

- How to handle IP created by your employees, including non-compete clauses

- What to expect after filing a patent (time and expenses)

- Tips on searching the US Patent Office database

March 21, 2019
 Company Formation
Pitt Barco Law Building, Room 107
K&L Gates

Learn about different legal entity structures and other startup formation basics, including:

- LLC v. C and S Corps; 

-Founder Arrangements

    * Splitting the Founder's Equity Pie

    * Founder Agreements

-Employee Equity

The seminar will be followed by a workshop during which experienced startup counsel will oversee law students and startups, who will work together to develop a legal 'roadmap' on recommended entity structuring, operating agreement and other formation issues. To participate, startups must not yet have formed a company, and they must submit a current Business Concept Template to by March 17.  Law students interested in working with the startups should contact Stephanie Dangel  A limited number of startups and law students will be selected to participate in the roadmap process.  We will confirm your participation by 3/20.  Note: startups are under no obligation to incorporate – this is just to help prepare for when the time is right to do so.


April 2, 2019
Preparing for an Exit
Pitt Barco Law Building, Room 107

K&L Gates

Acquisitions are the most common form of exit. Learn how to prepare the company for sale, including the due diligence process, sale process and potential auctions, the role of investment bankers, tax implications, typical structures, including earn-outs, employment and non-competition obligations. Avoid the delays and complications by preparing for the sale at the beginning of the company formation.



April 23, 2019
Employees, Interns, Contractors & Volunteers
CMU, Newell-Simon Hall, Room 3305

Learn the in’s and out’s of staffing a company, including hiring of employees and/or retaining independent contractors, interns and volunteers, important terms of employment or retention, restrictive covenants, and the use of employee equity to attract and retain personnel.  

 Start Smart is offered in conjunction with Connects Entrepreneurship Seminar Series with the CMU Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. 
They also offer several other free and open to the public seminars ranging from a multitude of topics.