Pittsburgh weekly roundup: Duolingo’s $700k taco shop; RIP Alan Waggoner; $250,000 pitch competition

Plus, Pittsburgh startup Apollo Neuroscience is betting your company wants to track your sleep.


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Inside Duolingo’s $700k taco shop

Duo’s Taqueria, tucked away next to Duolingo’s East Liberty building, is more than your average tech office perk. Initially developed to draw attention to the edtech company’s Spanish language learning courses, it turned into a culinary coup. Not only has it landed on “best tacos” lists, but it’s actually making money, pulling in a cool $700,000 last year.

“Our goal with this restaurant is to give back to the Pittsburgh community by providing the best Mexican food in the city,” Duolingo’s CEO told freelancer Aakanksha Agarwal. She took a closer look at features like the housemade nixtamal tortillas and a fully stocked mezcal bar that have turned the stunt into a local business success.

➡️ Read Aakanksha’s full report on the restaurant.

RIP CMU professor and inventor Alan Waggoner

Alan Waggoner, a longtime Carnegie Mellon University professor and CyDye inventor, died at 82 in May. But his legacy stretches far beyond his place as a top authority in the field of cellular microscopy.

Collaborators of Alan’s remember a kind and generous colleague who was intellectually omnivorous and somewhat unconventional, they told Known to be casual in the office, he would sometimes walk around in his stocking feet or lie on the floor of his office.

➡️ Remember Alan’s legacy in Briana’s latest story.

News Incubator: What else to know

• You could win $250,000 in a pitch competition this summer. Apply now for the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center’s annual entrepreneur spotlight, featuring a venture capital prize from Hatch BioFund. [PABC/]

• Pittsburgh startup Apollo Neuroscience is betting your company wants to track your sleep. It launched “Apollo for Business,” a corporate program making its wearables available for businesses to give to employees. [Apollo Neuroscience/]

• Robot startups are moving quickly to get their devices on the ground for efforts like sidewalk delivery. Are they going too fast? A new study details the problems people with disabilities face when encountering these bots, and what the roboticists should do about it. [CMU]

• Datastrike says it’s set to become the largest data infrastructure provider for small-to-medium sized businesses. The Warrendale company acquired Pittsburgh-based MiCore, bringing its total to more than 200 clients. [PR Newswire]

• Neurorobotics Studio in Oakland has set out to achieve a massive feat: creating brains for robots. Probably less, uh, organic than ours. Gen AI is helping make it possible, and an open-source build already exists on GitHub. [NEXTPittsburgh/]

• Alongside declining enrollment and inflation, did “orchestrated attacks” or financial mismanagement lead to the sudden shuttering of Pittsburgh Technical College? Depends who you’re talking to. [Inside Higher Ed]

• PUP news has you covered on ideas for enjoying the summertime. But if you’re looking for a quick drink of water while you’re enjoying the parks, you might be out of luck. Pittsburgh has just one plumber who can turn on public drinking fountains and he’s, understandably, way too slammed to do it. [PUP/KDKA]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• Pitch and Run PGH’s next event will be on June 14. This week, it’ll start in Bakery Square. [Join the group]

• Commemorate Juneteenth with celebrations throughout the city next week. Festivals, movie nights and more start June 14 through 22. [Details here]

• Blockchain company Solana will host a crypto meetup at Aslin’s taproom. Attend on June 20 to get free NFTs. [Sign up]

• The B2B Software Meetup will be hosting its monthly evening of discussions and networking on June 24 in the North Side. [Learn more]

• 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]

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