“Pittsburgh is quite literally leading our nation back to the surface of the Moon, and if Pittsburgh can land on the Moon, Pittsburgh can do anything. We are the next generation of the tech economy, and the opportunities here are limitless.”
Over 500 startups and scaleups call the Pittsburgh region home, estimated to be worth a combined $35.6 billion. Pittsburgh’s startups raised more than $534 million in 2022, an increase from 2021.
The Pittsburgh region was awarded $62.7 billion in a first-of-its-kind federal funding grant from the EDA to expand Pittsburgh's world-leading Robotics and autonomy ecosystem. Innovation Works, along with the Pittsburgh Robotics Network and other partners, have launched the Robotics Factory, a set of programs to create, accelerate, and scale Robotics startups in the region. Innovation Works has invested $120 million in over 730 companies that have brought in an additional $3.5 billion in outside funding. The Build Back Better grant will fund five regional projects designed to provide long-term opportunities in the Robotics and autonomy industry. The growing sector already includes more than 14,500 workers and over 750 companies, and contributes approximately $575 million in regional GDP. The Pittsburgh Robotics Network includes 130+ Robotics organizations.
The Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credit Program, with an annual budget of $15 million, provides credits to businesses less than eight years old operating within targeted industries. Carnegie Mellon University and the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation broaden the pipeline of STEM talent by offering tuition-free graduate study for nearly 90 students a year in perpetuity. Kloopify, a sustainable procurement startup, landed its first major investment in a $1.5 million November 2022 seed round. It was also the first local startup to score a deal from Pittsburgh-based Black Tech Nation Ventures, which led the round.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics
Pittsburgh is home to some of the world’s most respected Robotics companies, including Astrobotic, Aurora, Caterpillar, Seegrid, and Smith+Nephew. A hub for self-driving technology, Aurora, Motional, and Waymo, are based here. Carnegie Mellon University has the #1 ranked Robotics program in the world. Robotics software company Tesseract Solutions announced that its U.S. headquarters will be in Pittsburgh, and Oshkosh Corp. has announced it will also build a space here. Re:Build Manufacturing has announced an $81 million investment to create a manufacturing center and 300 jobs in New Kensington.
Pittsburgh’s vibrant Life Sciences ecosystem has received $714 million in NIH research funding to date. The city is home to 1,000 principal investigators, 56 active venture and angel-funded firms with nearly $1 billion invested, and a growing portfolio of lab and space concentrated in the Pittsburgh Innovation District. Life Sciences firms employ more than 1,000 people in the region. In May 2023, Krystal Biotech raised $160 million on the heels of FDA approval for the first-ever redosable gene therapy product.
Anchored by Astrobotic, Pittsburgh is quickly becoming a hub for space manufacturing and automation. Organizations including the Keystone Space Collaborative are pulling together the collective manufacturing, logistics, and engineering strengths of the tri-state region to catalyze investment and promote growth in this global emerging sector. In the first trip back to the moon since the Apollo era, Astrobotic will launch the Peregrine Lunar Lander, the first privately built rover to land on the surface of the moon.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh was named the most affordable city to buy a home in the 2022 Demographia International Housing Affordability study by the Urban Reform Institute and the Frontier Center for Public Policy. CBRE’s 2022 Scoring Tech Talent Report ranked Pittsburgh as the twentieth most affordable city of 50 North American markets. The city was ranked #21 in terms of affordable living, with average rent costs taking up 17.3% of the average tech worker’s wages.
Pittsburgh Innovation District
Pittsburgh has emerged as a powerhouse R&D center with a particular focus on the autonomy industry, Life Sciences, and medical technology. Rooted in the world-class research of the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and UPMC, the Pittsburgh Innovation District generates $1.2 billion in annual R&D. The area is home to Facebook, Bosch, Uber, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Amazon, Yelp!, ANSYS, Intel, Apple, and others. The University of Pittsburgh is one of the top five in National Institutes of Health funding.
Pittsburgh ranks #2 in the U.S. for IT degrees and is in CBRE’s top 10 North American Tech Markets for quality of tech talent. More than 10,000 tech companies in the region employ more than 300,000 people, a quarter of the region’s workforce. The $26.5 billion payroll for tech workers is 37% of the region’s wages. 30% of Pittsburgh's STEM-focused employment is in jobs that do not require a bachelor's degree, creating as much economic activity as does STEM-focused employment of degree holders.
Selected Startup Organizations
Startup Genome Members
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 Pittsburgh region – comprising 10 southwestern Pennsylvania counties – and supports the growth of existing regional businesses.
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.
Innovation Works (IW) is one of the top U.S. investors in early-stage technology startups and supports the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem within southwestern Pennsylvania. It provides the investment, programming — including the AlphaLab (software), AlphaLab Gear (hardware), and AlphaLab Health (Life Sciences) accelerators — and critical resources startups need to reach the next stage of growth in Pittsburgh.
News from the Ecosystem
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