Duolingo was founded in Pittsburgh due to talent, technology, and lifestyle. It’s a great place to start a business, and a great place to live once the workday is done.
Pittsburgh is leveraging its technical strength in AI and autonomous systems to build a dynamic and diverse startup ecosystem. The birthplace of AI, Carnegie Mellon University, and regional partners are driving the future of AI across all innovation sectors. The city’s many notable companies include Aurora Innovation — the $10B autonomous vehicle startup that acquired Uber ATG — as well as home-grown startup Argo AI, Motional, Waymo, and a dozen other mobility companies who have put down roots to solidify Pittsburgh as a global hub for self-driving technology. It’s also home to AI XPrize finalist Marinus Analytics, a women-founded startup that uses facial recognition to disrupt human trafficking and cyber fraud. Pittsburgh is growing its startup ecosystem with a focus on inclusion, widening the tech talent pipeline to ensure more women and people of color can access careers in tech. Black Tech Nation (BTN) also offers education and funding for Black technologists to create a more welcoming, inclusive community. VCs are doing their part, too. Innovation Works, Magarac Venture Partners, and BTN Ventures are all prioritizing investment in diverse founders. Entrepreneurs are inspired in an ecosystem alongside Duolingo — a language learning app that IPO’d in August 2021 at $6.5B — as well as R&D offices for tech giants that choose Pittsburgh for their most challenging projects: Facebook Reality Labs, Amazon Alexa, and Google Cloud. Pittsburgh’s startup ecosystem makes you part of a community of purpose-driven builders, makers, and innovators who work local but have global impact.
Ecosystem by the numbers
Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics
Pittsburgh is home to a UN Center of Excellence on High Performance Buildings and was the second city globally to commit to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A founding member of the 2030 District Network to reduce energy use and carbon emissions, Pittsburgh has 73 cleantech companies, 35,000 employed in the region’s energy industry, and over $103 million invested by the Department of Energy in university-based R&D in the last 5 years.
Reasons to move your startup to Pittsburgh
High-quality tech talent
The Pittsburgh Innovation District
In 2020, Governor Wolf allocated $225 million in CARES Act funding for small businesses in Pennsylvania through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in addition to available federal resources. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, there will be another $7.25 billion available in the U.S. through the Paycheck Protection Program and $15 billion in Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Payments.
InnovatePGH is a next-generation public/private partnership built to accelerate Pittsburgh’s status as a global innovation leader. Powered by a coalition of civic, university, and business leaders, the partnership is Pittsburgh’s platform to rapidly translate the city’s R&D strengths into a high-growth, inclusive, and equitable tech-based economy.
Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) is the economic development affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. The PRA attracts strategic investment opportunities and diverse talent to the 10-county southwestern Pennsylvania region and supports the growth of existing regional businesses.
Innovation Works (IW) is one of the top US investors in early-stage technology startups and supports the startup & entrepreneurial ecosystem within Southwestern Pennsylvania. IW provides the investment, programing – including software, hardware, and life science accelerators – and critical resources startups need to reach the next stage of growth in Pittsburgh.
Are you interested in diving deeper into this ecosystem? Drop us a message. Our Ambassadors and Partners can plug you in.