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Josh Dziabiak Exits ShowClix (and Pittsburgh)

on Sun, 01/13/2013 - 15:18

In terms of the local Pittsburgh start-up community, Josh Dziabiak is a bit of a legend. The Beaver County native initially caught the entrepreneurial bug at the age of fourteen, created his first business venture the following year—a website hosting and design firm called Mediacatch—then sold it at the age of eighteen for one million dollars. While the online record label that he developed next failed to catch fire, the experience convinced Dziabiak that there was a need for a cheaper method of purchasing tickets for musical events via the Internet. Thus after a brief “internship” at Spreadshirt, Josh Dziabiak teamed with Lynsie Campbell to launch ShowClix in 2007. By 2009, the company was generating $4.5 million in revenue, and has continued to grow ever since.

Despite such success, however, Dziabiak has decided to move on, not only from ShowClix but Pittsburgh as well. As reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times, the local wunderkind resigned as CEO of the start-up on December 31, 2012, in order to become vice president of product for Insurance Zebra in Austin, Texas, another start-up that began life in the Steel City. “I didn’t want to grow old without living somewhere else and experiencing something different,” he explained, while adding that the move had nothing to do with Western Pennsylvania. “Pittsburgh has been incredibly valuable in terms of the environment of starting a business.”

In a separate interview with the Pittsburgh Business Times, Josh Dziabiak further elaborates on what he considers the strengths and weaknesses of the local start-up community. “This city is very much on the right path,” he says. “Everyone believes in it and there are a lot of people that are vocal and passionate about Pittsburgh being a breeding ground for successful companies. The energy is right. It’s a matter of time and a couple of companies having the big exits.” While the Steel City may be a good place to start a company, however, the region is still lacking in its ability to fully grow those fledgling businesses.

“There are lots of resources for companies that are back-of-the-napkin and need prototyping,” Dziabiak explains. “But once you start scaling and you really start adding people, revenue and volume, the resources in terms of investment becomes greater and certainly become fewer in Pittsburgh.” The ShowClix co-founder also believes that it is more difficult to find experienced high-level employees in Pittsburgh. “There aren’t a lot of emerging tech companies in the new media space and there aren’t a lot of people here that have the experience to lead marketing from the ground up in a new media space,” he told the Pittsburgh Business Times. “That becomes challenging for recruiting.”

Despite leaving Pittsburgh for Austin, Dziabiak will still be involved in ShowClix, retaining his seat on the Board and remaining the company’s largest shareholder. While we wish him success on his new endeavor, here’s hoping that the next Josh Dziabiak is right around the corner and any void in the Pittsburgh start-up community is quickly filled by yet another similarly-minded wunderkind.

Anthony Letizia (January 13, 2013)

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