MSBIC students Awards and Achievements
MSBIC student Jing Li selected as 2014 James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow
Jing Li is one of 10 CMU students in Carnegie Mellon selected for this fellowship, which fast-tracks the careers of selected graduate students who are passionate about entrepreneurship in the technology arena. The program will help develop their potential and leadership skills through hands-on experiences, networking, mentoring and courses in entrepreneurship. Jing will receive a summer internship at a top-tier venture-backed startup, travel stipend for two treks to Silicon Valley and mentoring by CIE faculty and staff, venture capitalists, and C-level executives in high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley.
CloudCare and Symmetric selected to compete in NCIIA competition this year
Two MSBIC Teams, CloudCare and Symmetric, have been selected to compete in the NCIIA competition this year. NCIIA organizes two annual biomedical engineering competitions for university students. The objectives of these competitions are to identify and recognize innovative, commercially promising medical devices and technologies developed by entrepreneurial student teams.
Symmetric awarded $50K for I-Corp Entrepreneur Training
A MSBIC team, Symmetric, was awarded 40K to go to the I-Corp entrepreneur training in May. I-Corps is a National Science Foundation initiative to assess the readiness of emerging technology concepts for transitioning into valuable new products through a public-private partnership. This is the first phase of the three phase process to facilitate startups.
SpringRole makes it to final round of McGinnis Venture Competition 2014
A MSBIC team, SpringRole, has made it to the final round of the McGinnis Venture Competition 2014 There are five teams in final round from over 100 teams competing. The McGinnis Venture Competition brings together Carnegie Mellon’s best and brightest student entrepreneurs to compete for $60k in investments. All participants receive priceless interaction with alumni entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, an opportunity to raise capital and valuable feedback on their ventures.
Trisha Black, a MSBIC student, selected as 2013 James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow
Congratulations to Trisha Black for being chosen as a 2013 James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow. Trisha is one of 11 students selected. Students are selected for this program because of their entrepreneurial passion in fusing technological expertise with business. Fellow will receive a summer internship at a top-tier venture-backed startup, travel stipend for two treks to Silicon Valley and mentoring by CIE faculty and staff, venture capitalists and C-level executives.
SpringRole close the first round of funding:
“We want to disrupt the HR recruiting process” said Kartik Mandaville, a Master’s degree student in the Biotechnology Innovation and Computation program when he and seven other students founded the SpringRole startup.
What SpringRole does is to expedite the hiring process by using Big data analytics and complex machine learning algorithms to mine a number of websites such as Github, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others to identify potential “highly skilled” people that companies want to recruit. SpringRole builds an entire skills profile for candidates, with details including their social activities, circle of friends, and articles that they wrote and published in technical publications or in personal websites. So far SpringRole already has over three million profiles in the database. Zhenxiang Liang, another student who also a co-founder said: “Our goal is to get to five million profiles by next month to have a comprehensive list of all potential highly skilled professionals; then we will go from there.”
Today to recruit, companies must post their jobs in newspapers, magazines, websites, or must hire special recruiting companies to find highly skilled people. They must review a lot of applications and resumes to identify qualified applicants; this process is tedious and consumes a lot of time and effort. Even when they identify potential applicants, it takes several weeks, if not months, to contact them and arrange for interviews. By using SpringRole, companies can reduce this time significantly. An HR person can type in the skills that they need and the area that they want to recruit and “Voila” SpringRole will give them a list of potential applicants with detailed profiles including CVs, skills, publications etc. More than that, SpringRole can also let them know whether these applicants are “connected” to people who are already working in their company via their social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Mingyang Song, another co-founder explained: “The best way to recruit people is via their friends.
Instead of contacting applicants, the company can let their own employees approach their friends by explaining the opportunities and asking whether they are interested. This “soft-approach” is a major function of the SpringRole application. By using their own employees, the companies can obtain more information about potential applicants than just reviewing applications and resumes. Certain information often shared among friends but not explicit in resumes can help companies to distinguish a strong technical candidate or a better “cultural fit” from a list of many applicants.
SpringRole started out as a project in the Biotechnology Innovation and Computation program, a Master’s degree program offered jointly by the Language Technologies Institute (LTI) and the Lane Center for Computational Biology (LCCB) in the School of Computer Science in Carnegie Mellno University. Hank Hwang, another co-founder explained: “In the beginning we were focusing on mining DNA genomic data to identify certain diseases and protein pathways. We were making some progress but we learned that without concrete evidence and additional laboratory experiments we could not draw conclusions.” Kartik Mandaville added: “When the news that “23and me” Company was having difficulty because the FDA wanted to protect the public from certain tests that were unlikely to accurately predict disease risk, we were disappointed. However, we learned quickly from the Enterprise Development course (We use the I.Corp process and Steve Blank’s book) about pivoting so we came up with the idea of using big data to disrupt the recruiting industry, and we switched from mining DNA to mining social networking sites. We use state of the art machine learning and natural language processing algorithms and architect a complex infrastructure that we learned in our program at CMU to store our data for faster retrieval. The transition was smooth and we created our first product prototype within a few weeks.”
As part of the Enterprise Development course, the team had to conduct interview with more than 80 potential customers to understand their recruiting problems, how HR processes works, and possible solutions. With all the feedback from the customers, the team was able to build a business model for their startup and begun to explore possibilities with venture capital investors. The team applied for the McGinnis competition and was among the 7 finalists out of 50 teams. Amazon also gave the team a grant of $3000 to use their cloud services.
In early April 2014, SpringRole closed their first round of funding value over one million dollars. Kartik said: “After we graduate this May, the four of us will be relocating to Santa Monica where we are planning to build a stellar company.”