Invent Penn State’s VIP Conference Spurs Economic Development through Innovation


Image: @webcurtpsu

The Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference is one of the largest tech startup conferences in the Mid-Atlantic, drawing over 800 attendees from startups and investment firms around the country. On April 15 and 16, the conference leveraged Penn State’s research, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to spur on economic development, job creation and student career success in the 2021 virtual conference. 

Image: Twitter

This year’s agenda included topics like: 

  • Investing in Rural & Heartland America
  • The State of Venture and Growth Capital in the COVID-19 Era
  • Life Science Ventures Addressing COVID-19
  • Deconstruct Status Quo Thinking to Drive Innovation in Your Company
  • IP 101 – What Every Startup Needs to Know about IP Protection

Image: Twitter

The conference highlighted innovations from high growth and emerging markets including IT, energy, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, health care, B2B and B2C, among others. Since the conference was virtual, the event was even more accessible to entrepreneurs and students, no matter where they were located. 

Image: @webcurtpsu

Merck Chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier joined the conference as their keynote speaker, providing insight and knowledge on the pharmaceutical industry, as well as diversity and inclusion.

One of the highlights of the Venture & IP Conference each year is the Tech Tournament, a showcase of disruptive technologies and early stage companies born out of Penn State’s robust and diverse research enterprise. The innovators featured in the tournament compete for $150,000 in prizes, along with opportunities for leadership, partnership and support that help them on their path to commercialization. 

Image: Invent Penn State

This year’s winners were:

  • Cranial Devices, Inc., which features advanced surgical shunt systems designed to eliminate the historical failure points of existing shunts.
  • GradienT°, having representation from @PSUScience, which has developed a screening platform for pharmaceutical scientists to select soluble therapeutic protein formulations for clinical development. 
  • ElkosRx, which has developed an investigational treatment for diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) that targets the pathophysiology of DFUs. 

For more information about Invent Penn State and how they can help you start up and grow a business, find licensable technologies and investment opportunities, and get to know the Penn State entrepreneurial ecosystem, visit


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