Over the past 20 years, Priya Amin has worn her share of hats in many different cities. She’s been a consultant, a brand manager, a cofounder of two companies, a PR strategist, and for a time, a stay-at-home mother. In the new year, Amin added a new title to her already versatile resume: entrepreneur in residence at the University of Pittsburgh.
Having worked in the business world in so many different capacities, Amin told Technical.ly that she feels like she’s in a good position to provide mentorship and support to Pitt’s students.
“I’m an entrepreneur that ran a company within the last several years, and there’s a lot of opportunities here that I saw firsthand and viscerally feel connected to,” Amin said. “One of those is just bringing more access to funding to startups in Pittsburgh” — something that’s been noted as a pain point among local entrepreneurs.
Plus, Amin said, it doesn’t hurt to have an undergraduate degree in biotechnology. While her own companies focused on offering child care (Flexable) and business consulting (Roki), she explained that her understanding of biotechnology comes in handy when interacting with founders who are interested in the life sciences sector. Yet, she’s committed to being a resource for young entrepreneurs no matter what service or product they’re trying to sell.
My career has gone all over the place. Knowing that it’s not a linear path [and] there’s so many opportunities to go with just gives me perspective that I’m grateful to have.Priya Amin University of Pittsburgh
To that end, since she began at the university one of her biggest projects has been relaunching the university’s mentorship program in hopes of evolving its approach into something more inclusive and accessible for the people who need it.
Amin also occupies another entrepreneur in residence position at Robert Morris University, though she said that’s mostly a ceremonial position. While she’s at the University of Pittsburgh, she’d like to not only be a support system, but ensure that when students come to the university’s Innovation Center with questions or concerns, they get what they need almost immediately.
“It’s almost like [being a] concierge,” Amin said. “A lot of these folks have full-time jobs, they’re teaching classes, or they’re getting a master’s or a doctorate. This is on top of the work they’re already doing, so we try to provide as much support as possible.”
Amin feels that her role at Pitt is a full-circle moment of sorts. From her years in Silicon Valley to owning her own business in the Steel City, Armin said all the different positions she’s held have given her experiences to share with the newest generation of entrepreneurs and provide them with validation she wishes she’d had while starting out.
“My career has gone all over the place, which has been fascinating to look back on,” Amin said. “Knowing that it’s not a linear path [and] there’s so many opportunities to go with just gives me perspective that I’m grateful to have and to bring to the table.”
A new HQ and hiring for Mach9 Robotics
Change is in the air for Mach9 Robotics this spring. Coinciding with its new software platform, recent engineering hires and an upgraded website, the geospatial software company has found a building in Bloomfield to call its new HQ. According to the Pittsburgh Inno’s reporting, the company will house most of its 12-person team at 4041 Liberty Ave.
Moving forward, the plan is to continue expanding the company, and not just locally. Mach9 recently hired Josh Dague, a software engineer, out of Silicon Valley. Expect more hiring, CEO and cofounder Alexander Baikovitz said in a release.
“As we push the bleeding edge of mapping technology,” Baikovitz said, “we are planning further expansion later this year by adding more of the industry’s most talented engineers and computer vision experts to our team.”
Aurora’s board of directors has a new member
Aurora has made a series of high-profile additions to its staff over the past few months, from its new president to a new general counsel. The latest for the Strip District-based autonomous vehicle company is adding Gloria Boyland to its board of directors.
Boyland previously served as an advisor to the company and brings 20 years of experience at Fortune 50 companies to the board. Most recently she served as the corporate vice president of operations service support and advanced technology at FedEx. In a statement, she explained that she joined the board because she believes in the technology the company’s developing.
“Aurora’s technology has the potential to make the supply chain more efficient, faster, and more flexible, creating a huge shift in our ability to ensure people have what they need when they need it,” Boyland said. “I continue to be impressed by the character of Aurora’s leadership and the way the company is developing products and building their business.
Though it’s been a standout in Pittsburgh’s autonomous tech sector for years, Aurora has grown even more prominent in recent months, as fellow AV companies Argo AI and Locomation have fallen.
Plus: Technical.ly hired its first editorial director
In this new role, Christina Kristofic will work with the Technical.ly newsroom to ensure we’re informing and engaging with our communities in the best ways possible. She comes to Technical.ly with about 20 years of experience as a reporter, social media manager, and editor for news organizations across Pennsylvania. Reach her at email@example.com.
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