Pittsburgh has a lot going for it as a city for starting a high tech company. After all, it is home to such renowned universities as Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the University of Pittsburgh (PITT) whose academic environments help generate innovative ideas for new businesses. So it is no surprise that Pittsburgh is in Inc. magazine’s ‘Best places in America for Starting a Business.’
Here are a few startups that highlight Pittsburgh’s potential:
Argo AI was founded by a couple of CMU graduates to bring safer, cheaper and more accessible transportation to everyone through self-driving technologies. Ford Motors provided the initial investment of a billion dollars; Ford is also the first customer of Argo AI, with the expectation of making their cars self-driving by 2021 with Argo AI technology.
Complexa develops medicines for treating severe, life-threatening diseases involving fibrosis and inflammation. Complexa founders have PITT backgrounds. They currently have a product, entering Phase 2 trials, for treating the inflammatory and fibrotic basis of some kidney and heart diseases. Their investors include Pfizer, New Enterprise Associates and others who have contributed over $88 million through multiple funding rounds.
Founded by a professor and a doctoral graduate from CMU, Duolingo is pursuing ‘Free language education to the world.’ Duolingo’s customer base of more than 300 million users includes the world’s richest people as well as students in developing countries. It has garnered many awards like ‘iPhone App of the Year’ and ‘Google’s Best of the Best.’ Investors like Google Capital, New Enterprise Associates, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have stakes in the company, raising its valuation to $700million after a Series E round of $25 million.
As implied by the ‘jazz’ in its name, JazzHR considers itself a rule breaker in the recruiting industry. Its recruiting software for startups, growing companies, and even presidential campaigns strive to close the loop between recruiting and performance so that companies can hire the candidate that is best suited for the position. JazzHR has won awards in user friendliness, start up excellence and other categories. According to Crunchbase, Pittsburgh based AlphaLab, Salesforce ventures and other investors have invested a total of more than $24 million in JazzHR.
Founded by a professor and a doctoral graduate from CMU, Petuum strives to bring Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions to Industries, Financial Service firms, and Healthcare. Petuum has been recognized as a trailblazing company by the World Economic Forum, CB INSIGHT’s ai.100 and Pittsburgh Technology Council. SoftBank, Advantech Capital, Tencent, and other investors have made Petuum one of the most highly funded AI startups with a $108 million Series B round.