StartNow PGH - Technical.ly

This series is a collection of articles from StartNow PGH authors before the publication was acquired by Technical.ly in April 2021. Read about the acquisition here.

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The next phase of StartNow Pittsburgh

By John Quayle

Today, we are excited to announce: Technically Media, which publishes Technical.ly, is acquiring StartNow!

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Touchwood Labs transforms everyday surfaces into interactive displays

We're doing this is because we want to battle against the trend of the unhealthy relationship that people have developed with technology. Touchwood display embodies the principles of calm technology, passively informing the user through a glowing circle, for example, that they have received an email, rather than pulling the user away with an excerpt of the message itself. 

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Striving for better—not perfect—infrastructure

Since 2016, RoadBotics has advocated for governments to digitize their public infrastructure assets. Using a smartphone and RoadBotics machine learning algorithm, communities can capture high-definition imagery of their assets and receive ratings with “pavement distress identification,” including potholes and fatigue cracking. RoadBotics has empowered more than 200 communities to make data-driven decisions, and to prioritize progress over perfection.

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Bunker Labs launches Pittsburgh chapter to aid veteran startups

While there is no shortage of veteran employment programs, “these are focused on more traditional forms of post-service employment. There are few programs that support military veterans who are interested in pursuing careers in entrepreneurship.” This chapter will offer programs tailored to those military skill sets that also boost interconnectivity within the city’s military-related networks.

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The evolving legal landscape of the gig economy

While gig workers have gained rights the future remains uncertain and future developments will significantly affect gig workers and employers – as well as consumers of the gig economy – in the coming years. Underlining once again the importance both of law- and policy-making in our economy and of staying informed and flexible in changing economic times.

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Second annual Greenwood Week goes virtual to support black-owned businesses

Ten different sessions will cover topics from accounting and business planning to fundraising, tech solutions, self-care, and strategic growth. Presenters are experts in their field and share similar life experience and background as many of the participants, to ensure culturally relevant information in what traditionally is not a diverse space. 

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CleanRobotics sweeps up the AI garbage game with two new TrashBot models

CleanRobotics’ TrashBot created in 2015, automatically separates waste into recycling and landfill. The smart trash can uses sensors and algorithms to learn what’s recyclable and what’s not, improving a facility’s recycling accuracy by 60 percent right away. As it learns by being fed new objects for its data set, it becomes more accurate over time, reaching a 95 percent accuracy at many facilities. 

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How to hire the right candidate. There are lots of options. That’s good — and bad — for startups

There’s not one single system that works best when it comes to hiring. Each business is unique. It’s always smart to build strong networks, keep an eye out for talent, and seek referrals, but there’s also no reason to be wary of a candidate that is seeking a better opportunity. What is most important is that we track the quality of a hire and know what sources produce the best results.

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Module aims to fill Pittsburgh’s vacant lots with homes built 75 miles away

Modular and prefab construction has an opportunity to make an impact on Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods if they can keep building costs low. With many residents priced out of neighborhoods, younger generations looking to grow families in the city, and vacant lots remaining vacant, Module has presented a solution that may very well be able to tackle some of the problems of this capricious ecosystem.

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Pittsburgh Startup bets pop-up childcare can transform the workplace

Flexable’s service brings vetted caretakers to offices and events and creates a custom setup to fit the organization’s needs. When companies work with Flexable, parents don’t have to stop on the way to work to drop off their kids at daycare and don’t need to find a sitter so they can attend a networking event. 

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How Jetpack workflow’s founding still informs its day to day

In the bookkeeping world, companies were desperate for a project management tool to meet their specific needs. None of the out-of-the-box software solutions worked. They were keeping track of projects through old-school filing systems likely to fall victim to human error. Using the knowledge amassed over discovery, Cristello started sketching out a solution

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Raising funds from small investors pays off for Digital Dream Labs

Crowdfunding sites like Republic have offered companies a platform to sell securities. Anyone with $50 can invest in Digital Dream Labs through its campaign page, which contains details about the company’s product offerings, target market, competitors, and even a discussion board where users can ask the company questions.

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Eschewing Robotics Rows for Robotics Boroughs

As Pittsburgh’s robotics industry expands, some companies have stationed themselves outside city limits, away from talked-about developments like the Robotics Rows of Lawrenceville and the Strip District. Some seek more space and lower rent, sacrificing an image of coolness and some ease of access to the city’s talent pool. Some are content with their suburban digs, while others consider their current station a stepping stone as they grow.

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Building Black Tech Nation in Pittsburgh and Beyond

Kelauni Cook’ networking experiences inspired her to start Black Tech Nation (BTN), a professional ecosystem for black people in tech that also aims to create new opportunities for careers in the field. Since 2017 BTN has blossomed from a small group of Pittsburgh black techies to a vibrant organization that has received well over six figures in grant funding and attracted nearly 500 members nationwide.

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Getting back to beginner’s luck

From Scot MacTaggart, host of The Pitchwerks Podcast and cofounder of local strategy firm KRNLS, The Werkshop helps readers to scrutinize and practice a different sales or business development skill every month.

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Pittsburgh’s PART leads the discussion on ethical AI

While culturally, we’re still hung up on AI appearing as a Terminator-style robot, the reality is, AI is already here, integrated into our day-to-day lives. The more we know about it, the more we can drive the development of technology toward a common good. “Recognize AI’s power, respect its potential, educate yourself, and ride the positive waves of its potential.”

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Yearly Carnage brings the daily newsletter to life

Inspired by Carney’s daily digest, the Daily Carnage, the in-person Yearly Carnage provides an opportunity to dig deeper into topics in the newsletter. The newsletter, which has become a must-read for marketing professionals across the country, touches on trends, tools, and news in the marketing world each day. The conference followed much of the same format.

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Build412 Tech raises the stakes for its second demo showcase

You “don’t have to be an investor or a startup founder to have fun at this event,” which is one of the missions of Build412 Tech. Started in 2017, Build412 Tech brings together Pittsburgh’s Technology Professionals working across all areas of tech by hosting and organizing tech happy hours, networking events, demo nights, and workshops. 

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Galley Group: Incubator of the restaurant industry

Benjamin Mantica and Tyler Benson took a concept that has existed for centuries and molded it to fit the modern, developing city. It makes you wonder if the food halls and night markets of Southeast Asia and the Middle East had similar, if not identical origins; breaking down the barriers of entry for an equitable business experience.

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Mighty takes on the home improvement space

When Mighty first started, it offered entire renovation projects with home owners in a very traditional service model, connecting homeowners or agents with contractors. The team learned early on that this process would be challenging to streamline and replicate. But, through the relationships they developed with real estate agents, pain points around the inspection process came to light.

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CivicMapper is solving Pittsburgh’s stormwater infrastructure, one street at a time

What makes CivicMapper’s work different is the specificity of the detail and dynamic data. CivicMapper can drill down to the slope of each street, or the height of a foot-long section of a curb, to predict how stormwater will move. Through understanding the issue at such a minute level, flooding from stormwater runoff can be reduced, leading to clearer rivers, and a stronger infrastructure for the city.

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A Hire Power: Everhire’s disrupting the recruitment space to find candidates faster and more affordable than ever

With a national network of independent recruiters and a “secret sauce of data and learning,” Everhire sees themselves as filling a gap in the recruiting market, making candidate sourcing more attainable for companies across the board, from small startups to larger corporations. “It seemed that the recruiting process wasn’t keeping up with technology, and we want to change that,”

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Subtle Innovation: Rachel Reid’s growth as she redefines the beauty industry

Reid’s approach to Subtl Beauty, and entrepreneurial work in general, champions a blend of functional design and creative aesthetics. This is informed by her academic background in web development and e-commerce, experience in digital marketing and technical skills, and creative arts interest. All of these skills are enabled by her eye for design, concern for her customers, and ability to execute.  

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