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LaunchPGH Connects Local Entrepreneurs

on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 09:46

The Pittsburgh-based startup and entrepreneur communities have experienced a good year in 2013 in regards to both growth and reputation. In February, for instance, the National Venture Capital Association ranked the Steel City as the thirteenth best locale for tech startups in the country. Then the Pittsburgh Technology Center—along with a collection of additional local sponsors—hosted a Pittsburgh Innovation Party in Austin, Texas, in early March as part of that city’s annual South by Southwest Festival. The startup accelerator program AlphaLab, meanwhile, not only celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2013 but expanded its Pittsburgh efforts with the creation of a robotics incubator designed exclusively for that ever growing field.

To even further assist the increasing number of local entrepreneurs within the area, the city of Pittsburgh announced in early August the creation of a new website entitled LaunchPGH, a project of the Urban Redevelopment Authority and PowerUp Pittsburgh. “One of our goals when we formed PowerUp Pittsburgh was to create a more robust entrepreneur environment in Pittsburgh, and this website helps us reach that goal,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a press release. “LaunchPGH.com provides helpful information for businesses of all sizes—whether you’re a first-time entrepreneur in Pittsburgh, a local venture capitalist or investor, or looking for job opportunities with a new startup, this site will point you in the right direction.”

LaunchPGH is divided into three categories, each designed to offer valuable information to fledging entrepreneurs in the region. The first section, called “Biz,” is arguably the most useful, with details on both funding and investment opportunities within the city as well as a listing of local resources to assist the startup community. The second—Buzz—is meant to connect Pittsburgh entrepreneurs both professionally and socially, with a selection of news, events and contests going on within the region. Lastly, there is “Burgh,” a showcase of local success stories, “fun facts” and accolades that also includes a photo gallery of local businesses.

“LaunchPGH.com fills a critical gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pittsburgh by providing startups, growing companies and investors with a single information portal to Pittsburgh’s entrepreneur scene,” Jay Katarincic, managing director of Draper Triangle Ventures, further elaborated. “The comprehensive resources are invaluable whether you are trying to start a company, want to work in a fast growth company or are interested in funding a company in Pittsburgh.”

Although only launched on August 1st, the website is already getting praise from the local startup community. “The challenge has always been unless you’re immersed or well-connected in this community, you don't know where to go, so this will get you started,” Kit Needham of Project Olympus, an incubator at Carnegie Mellon University, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I had to spend eight to twelve months meeting people and figuring it out on my own,” added independent graphic designer John Quayle. He said that LaunchPGH has “many resources in the same place and you don’t have to spend six to ten to twelve months meeting people and getting that basic information.”

With such accolades already pouring in, LaunchPGH will no doubt be another in a long series of Steel City success stories that have already dominated 2013.

Anthony Letizia (August 13, 2013)

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