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Pittsburgh weekly roundup: Coherent shares soar after CEO poach; Triangle Tech shutting down; Motional Mill’s snack game

Plus, why VCs as ecosystem builders makes financial sense.

It's spotted lanternfly season! As exemplified by this donut from Lola's Eatery (Katie Malone/Technical.ly)

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Coherent appoints new CEO, shares soar 20%

For our latest edition of Power Moves, we detailed which major companies in Pittsburgh hired, fired and poached leadership this month. Shakeups came in all different shapes at place like Coherent, the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, Pitt, 412 Food Rescue and more.

➡️ Get all the updates on local tech leadership in my Power Moves report.

VCs should care about home — for ROI

Allegheny County has a thriving startup ecosystem, but where’s the money to back it up? A guest post from InnovatePGH’s Charles Mansfield digs into why only 45% the region’s companies valued at $100M or more were backed by local investors — and what venture capitalists should be doing about it.

“The argument for VCs to be more locally involved is most commonly made through the economic development lens,” Charles writes. “My argument is about capital — that not taking advantage of locality is suboptimal for early-stage VC returns.”

➡️ Read on for Charles’ advice on building local entrepreneurship.

Spotlight: Academia ups and downs

• Triangle Tech, a Pittsburgh-area school for skilled trades, is closing. Students are stuck scrambling for what’s next, and local nonprofit the Worksmith Institute offered a $1,500 scholarship to those impacted. [Triangle Tech]

• Across the state, Philly’s University of the Arts closed suddenly last week. As students deal with the aftermath, Point Park University is offering automatic acceptance to those affected. [Point Park]

• Chatham University will launch a new business school for the 2024-2025 school year. The forthcoming School of Business and Enterprise will include a new degree in sports management. [Chatham]

• The National Science Foundation gave biologists at the University of Pittsburgh a $12.5 million grant to study the genetic phenomenon of having more than two copies of chromosomes. [Pitt]

News Incubator: What else to know

• Local leaders are trying to make downtown the city’s next hot neighborhood. Three proposed revitalization projects would limit car access, add pickleball courts and generally try to make it a hip and fun place to hang out. [NEXTPittsburgh/Technical.ly]

• Local manufacturing consortium the ARM Institute released a report on how employers, workers, educators and unions can prepare for the future of work. TL;DR: DEI efforts will be more common, there will be more opportunities for people without college degrees and almost everyone will need to know AI basics. [ARM Institute/Technical.ly]

• CoPilot Fitness renamed itself to Trainwell, mostly to avoid being confused with the AI projects also calling themselves “copilot.” [Trainwell/Technical.ly]

• Look inside Motional’s Mill 19 office. The 65,000-sq.-ft. space holds all 200 engineers, and includes features like a snack grab-n-go area and a welcome lounge. (Yes, this is the same Motional that recently cut 40% of its workforce.) [Office Snapshots/TechCrunch]

• Coraopolis-based water treatment firm Newterra acquired part of Encotech’s carbon services branch. The carbon filtration tech will add to Newterra’s portfolio of waste management, the CEO said. [Newterra]

• A Walmart in the Pittsburgh area sold the $1 million PA lottery ticket. If you’re the person who bought it, maybe considering donating a portion to the Technical.ly Journalism Fund? [Patch/Technical.ly]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• Out in Tech and Gecko Robotics are teaming up for a Pride Month Mixer to celebrate Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ+ tech community. The free event will happen on June 10 in the North Side. [Sign up]

• The getWITit Networking Mixer takes place on June 13. It’ll be held at Wigle Whiskey Distillery, and 10% of profits go toward supporting the organization. [Register]

• Learn about the local aerospace OEM community at a supplier forum on June 13. The networking and panel discussion event costs $35. [Details here]

• Pitt’s cyber institute is hosting a camp for high school students from June 24 to June 28. It’s free and caters to all levels of technical skills. [Find out more]

• You can mingle with some of the region’s top startups at the Pittsburgh Business Times’ Startups to Watch event on June 27. Tickets cost between $25 and $50. [Learn more]

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