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Founders Hat Series

Founder’s Hat Series

The Founder’s Hat Series creates a safe space for founders to discuss the challenging roles (or ‘hats’ they wear) in a peer-to-peer fashion (think support group). Each series includes a group leader, or successful serial entrepreneur. The group leader helps to start off the conversation with a short introduction. The group leader acts as facilitator for the meetings, interjecting lessons learned along the way.

Founders who attend this series will improve their ability to take on many different roles and responsibilities demanded by their business, while building an intimate founder-to-founder network of trusted individuals within the Pittsburgh entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Participants will be accepted through a short application process. Each attendee should be a founder, founding member, or core team member of a startup or non-profit. Multiple team members from one business or multiple businesses from the same networks (i.e. work at the same coworking space) will not be chosen to participate in order to create a free sharing environment. Priority will be given to attendees in cross-industry, similar stages of business.

What Participants get from the experience:

  • Increased sense of self-awareness
  • Space to share the ups and downs of startup life
  • Space to learn peer to peer/create founder network

The Founder’s Hat Series is facilitated by Ascender EIR Craig Markovitz. Craig is also an Entrepreneur in Residence in the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship and an Assistant Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition, Craig is the co-founder of Blue Belt Technologies, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based robotics company that was acquired in 2016 for $275 million. Learn more about Craig »

Who Should Attend?

I have an idea

I've started a company

I’m growing a company

Founder's Hat Curriculum

All events will take place from 8:30–10:00AM at Ascender in East Liberty, Pittsburgh

Date 6/6/2019
Theme Session 1
Topic The Founder's Hat
Description Discuss what it’s like to be a founder, experience with companies & getting to know one another. Discussion Question: What is keeping you up at night?
Date 6/27/2019
Theme Session 2
Topic The Fundraiser Hat
Description Discuss ins and outs of raising money from investors, family & friends and customers. There will be time to share positive and negative stories/experiences. Discussion Question: How is fundraising impacting your entrepreneurial journey?
Date 7/11/2019
Theme Session 3
Topic The HR Hat
Description Discuss hiring and firing inside your business. How are you managing Talent Acquisition? There will be time to give advice for one another about dealing with co-founders & first hires. Discussion Question: What are the biggest challenges associated with recruiting and managing teams?
Date 7/18/2019
Theme Session 4
Topic The Sales Hat
Description Discuss how to deal with first customers and/or initial niche customers. How do you manage deal flow? There will be time to share lessons learned about sales negotiations and cycles. Discussion Question: What is your sales strategy and how is it affecting your ability to grow as an organization?
Date 7/25/2019
Theme Session 5
Topic The Human Hat
Description Discuss how to balance home life & entrepreneurship. There will be time to discuss different interpersonal skills that may be helpful in Discussion Question: How do you cope with the stress of running a business?

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