What we look for:
Large and growing addressable markets or high-value problem to solve. A plausible, "How do you get massive?"
Passionate, coachable founders with deep empathy for customers. Demonstrated product proof points. We do not typically invest pre-product. Most important skill set for founding team: Hackers, Hustlers and Designers. Teams should be LEAN, have Focus, and Hustle.
Technology innovation rooted in next-generation technologies. All the stuff CMU founders are good at: Robotics, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Human-Computer Design, Advanced Materials, Security, etc. We look for unfair competitive advantage.
A plausible, "Why now? What recently changed to create this opportunity now?”
At least one founder needs to be affiliated with Carnegie Mellon. Affiliation my be as an alumni, faculty or staff.
All startups need an alumni “lead investor” to sponsor their deal with the network. If you have a current CMU alumni as an investors, they can serve as the lead. If you apply without a lead investor, we can present your application to the group to see if anyone is interested in leading.