The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | February 17, 2006

Robotics Institute Seminar, February 17, 2006
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

Identifying the Business Opportunity in your Research: Securing Alternative Funding Sources for R&D

Leo A. Keevican, Jr.

President and Managing Director

Renaissance Partners, LLC


Adrienne Garber

Director of Technology Ventures

Renaissance Partners, LLC


Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science

M.S.I.T. eBusiness Technologies graduate (2005)



Time and Place

Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm


A process exists for analyzing the commercial potential of university research projects.  Resources in our region are available on a federal, state, and local level to secure funding past government contracts and foundation support.  Pitfalls exist that can dramatically reduce the chances that institutional research will become wide-spread.  This presentation outlines a methodology for researchers to use in examining their project(s) and assessing whether it is a candidate for commercialization.  In addition, we will explore various types of capital investments and the criteria that researchers must meet in order to attract these alternative funding sources.  Using our experiences as an investment banking firm as a baseline, coupled with research of current investing trends and economic development initiatives in our region, we will present our findings on the Southwestern PA investor landscape.

This talk is partly based on trend analysis conducted by the firm about investments made in Southwestern PA by not-for-profits, angel networks, and venture capital companies.

Speaker Biography

ADRIENNE GARBER is Director of Technology Ventures at Renaissance Partners, LLC. Prior to joining Renaissance Partners, she was involved in research projects for both Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and the Language Technologies Institute.  As a master’s student, she studied at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science and worked on the Red Team project with Dr. Red Whittaker. Utilizing her background in software, robotics and associated advanced technologies, she evaluates business opportunities, identifies resources, and acquires funding for early stage ventures. Ms. Garber completed her Masters in Information Technology from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. She received both her J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Duquesne University, and a B.S. degree from Lehigh University.

LEO A. KEEVICAN, JR. is the Managing Director at Renaissance Partners, LLC. He has worked extensively with innovators to bring their ideas from conceptualization to actual production, commercialization and ultimate profitability.  With access to a sizeable network of private equity and venture capital resources, he has been involved in the funding for technology related companies such as IntelliSpace, Phobos Corporation, Alloptic, Kenai Systems, Forum Systems and OpenPeak.  With strong ties to the innovators of well-known products such as Dirt Devil Vacuum, Crest Spinbrush and Little Tykes products, Mr. Keevican is also able to assist clients in ascertaining the feasibility of commercializing their technology.

Mr. Keevican received a B.A. degree, with honors, from Yale University and attended graduate school in economics at the Pennsylvania State University. He is also a graduate of the Boston University School of Law.

Speaker Appointments

For appointments, please contact Virginia Arrington (

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.