With the inauguration of a new mayor comes the continuation of a City of Pittsburgh-sponsored accelerator that started under the previous one.
A few days before Mayor Ed Gainey’s swearing in ceremony, PGH Lab announced a new cohort of startups that would work with the City to launch pilots for their products and services in an effort to gain valuable market feedback. Local government, for its part, gets the advantage of gauging the feasibility and interest in new technology it’s considering for implementation. Alumni of the program include companies and organizations such as Meta Mesh Wireless Communications, CleanRobotics and Honeycomb Credit.
Though the companies for this seventh cohort were chosen according to goals outlined by former mayor Bill Peduto’s administration, they’ll work to align those with new ones from Gainey’s, as Trever Stoll, a civic innovation specialist in the City’s Department of Innovation and Performance, told Technical.ly. He specified that the selection process for the accelerator was agnostic and separate from both administrations.
Seven companies were chosen out of a total pool of 13 who applied, Stoll said. Common themes across many of them involve the use of tech and other products to improve equity and sustainability across different environments.
“Following our commitment to highlight equity and inclusion under previous cohorts, we continued these effort while launching our call to action and application process for the 7.0 Cohort,” he said. “One of our goals here at PGH Lab is to use this platform to uplift our local startups while identifying innovative solutions for the city and our partnering authorities.”
The latest cohort of companies will benefit from new insights of Alaa Mohamed, a former policy analyst in Peduto’s cabinet who recently took on the role of senior civic innovation specialist for the City’s Civic Innovation Office. While the accelerator itself does not offer any funding, the mentorship opportunities, valuable alumni network, and chance to test products with the support of local government offer a chance for unique growth and development.
Meet the seven companies in the first cohort of 2022:
Robot Armin builds 3D visualization tools, most notably its Dashcam for your Bike app to help bikers record rides with their phone cameras and share dangerous moments on the road. Its LinkedIn company page also lists the data visualization site RCVis.com as another of its projects.
A sustainability minded company, Doors Unhinged provides businesses with reclaimed commercial doors made from recycled materials. The company’s doors have been used in a variety of settings, including in the new Roundhouse at Hazelwood Green.
Farm to Flame Energy specializes in the development of smokeless, odorless and biomass-powered generators. Their generators also include what the company calls a blockchain-based app to allow customers to monitor the generators.
Komodo Analytics specializes in using data analytics to increase the efficiency of the municipal bond market. Its software platform offers a destination for pricing, monitoring and underwriting bond issuances, with the goal of making the process more appealing to taxpayers.
This holistic health and wellness program offers products like skincare, teas, aromatherapy, essential oils, candles and more with the goal of increasing self care and accessibility of education and other resources to Black and brown communities. Beyond its products, the company also offers coaching and other programming to further its mission.
With the goal of achieving a sustainable supply chain, Kloopify develops a software platform that tracks data on Scope 3 emissions, enabling businesses to make decisions that are more cognizant of their carbon impact. Technical.ly spoke to cofounder and CEO Daniela Osio in November about the company’s plans for growth and customer acquisition in the new year.
Street Sense collects data through the use of cameras and artificial intelligence to help make urban transportation more efficient and equitable. The hope is that this data can help cities make decisions about parking pricing, public transportation routes, loading zones and more.
Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.-30-