Fairfield University graduates and engineering professor among Connecticut entrepreneurs taking part in crowdfunding discussion


Image: Crowdfunding panelThese days, the quickest way to access cash to fund a new business venture just may lie in crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.com, Indiegogo.com and Rockethub.com.

Crowdfunding - the process of attracting a large number of investors online to pledge relatively small amounts of start-up money - will be the topic of a free panel discussion at Fairfield University on Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m., in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room.Open to the public, the event - "Crowdfunding Your Invention" - will feature Fairfield alumni and a School of Engineering professor discussing their inventions.

Entrepreneur Mark Nowotarski, president of Markets, Patents & Alliances LLC, in Darien, Conn., will moderate the panel of four Connecticut entrepreneurs sharing what drew them to crowdfunding, how they were successful, and what they have learned since they raised money.

Panelists include:

  • Fairfield graduates Mark Donne '11, and Jason Maloney '11, makers of the Diffr3nt™ wallet and iPhone carry cases, a company based in Westport, Conn. Diffr3nt raised $4,609 on Kickstarter in 2012. A former Apple Store employee, Donne earned a bachelor's degree in New Media and marketing from Fairfield. Maloney works for IBM as a client research analyst and earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from Fairfield. Read their story at http://blog.fairfield.edu/magazine/?p=2329.
  • Doug Lyon, Ph.D., chairman of the Computer Engineering Department at Fairfield and the inventor of the Arduino Digital Signal Processing Shield (DSP for Arduino), based in Fairfield, Conn. The device is a programmable circuit board that helps musicians make unique sounds and helps students learn the basics of digital signal processing. He raised $7,859 on Kickstarter. Dr. Lyon is president of the Inventors Association of Connecticut (IACT).
  • Jim Vellano, a former chef de cuisine at Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, and Jen Vellano, former chef de partie at Per Se in New York, who founded Maison Privé, a boutique catering company based in Greenwich, Conn. They raised $14,920 on Kickstarter.
  • Cliff Thier, president of iKeyboard, Inc., maker of the TacType™ keyboard, a company based in West Hartford, Conn, which raised $26,000 on Kickstarter.

The event is co-sponsored by Fairfield University's School of Engineering and the IACT. For information about the School of Engineering, visit http://www.fairfield.edu/soe/.  

Image: Fairfield University graduates Jason Maloney '11 and Mark Donne '11, makers of the Diffr3nt™ wallet and iPhone carry cases.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 17, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 291