Business / Finance / Funding / Startups / Venture capital

Money Moves: Gather AI, RoadRunner Recycling and Innovation Works just got growth boosts

The Pittsburgh tech companies and early-stage funder count a new acquisition, Series A and $2 million grant from the government among themselves.

Gather AI's autonomous inventory drone flying in a warehouse. (Courtesy photo)

From government grants to fundraising, it’s been an active week for Pittsburgh tech. But never fear — if you didn’t catch every headline, is here to help.

Following announcements of a $5 million raise from ERIN Technologies and Duolingo’s acquisition of Detroit-based animation studio Gunner, these other local tech and venture orgs have their own news:

Gather AI raised a $10 million Series A

Supply chain robotics company Gather AI raised $10 million Series A. The financing round was led by Tribeca Venture Partners with participation from Xplorer Capital, Dundee Venture Capital, Expa, Bling Capital, XRC Labs and 99 tartans — all previous investors.

Amid the pandemic’s negative impact on the supply chain, the Squirrel Hill-based startup designed a platform that sends autonomous drones to track products in warehouses. The funding will go toward the company’s marketing strategy and continued development of its platform.

Gather was founded in 2019 by Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute grad students Sankalp Arora, Daniel Maturana and Geetesh Dubey.

“The reality is, the majority of warehouses have access to technology that is from before the e-commerce boom, which has exacerbated the struggle to keep up with the changes in both industry demands and customer habits,” Arora said in a statement. “Gather AI empowers warehouse operators with automation without needing [capital expenditures] to help solve age-old problems. Since our first warehouse deployment in 2020, we have seen incredible demand. This funding round will help us meet the overwhelming interest.”

RoadRunner Recycling makes an acquisition

Graham Rihn. (Courtesy photo)

Downtown Pittsburgh’s RoadRunner Recycling has acquired Compology, a San Francisco-based smart metering technology company. This comes after the sustainable waste management company started 2022 by capturing the tech community’s attention with a $70 million Series D — still one of the year’s biggest local funding rounds.

With the acquisition, the Pittsburgh company will be able to use Compology’s computer vision technology to offer a “technologically advanced” waste management solution for businesses and governments, per a press release. Financial details were not disclosed.

“The future of sustainable waste and recycling management requires smart technology and intelligence,” said Graham Rihn, founder and CEO of RoadRunner Recycling, in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to join forces with Compology, a team that brings industry-leading technology and a shared passion for using data to help businesses increase recycling and operate more sustainably, while spending less for better service.”

The 2014-founded RoadRunner now counts nearly 600 employees after counting 400 in January.

Innovation Works snags Build to Scale funding

Last, but not least, early-stage venture firm Innovation Works was one of 51 recipients of the latest Build to Scale grants from the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The Build to Scale program sets aside $47 million to support technology entrepreneurs and encourage innovation. By making technology ecosystems stronger, the administration hopes the economy as a whole will be strengthened, per a government statement.

Innovation Works and partner Carnegie Mellon University got $2 million from Build to Scale’s 2022 Venture Challenge for their project called “Scaling Networks in Southwestern Pennsylvania.” The funding and project will allow them to “scale entrepreneurial support services to benefit all populations, especially women, people of color, and those living in rural communities.” The funding is coupled with a local match of $2 million.

“EDA is proud to partner with this year’s ‘Build to Scale’ grantees as they invest in entrepreneurs and create equitable access to capital in their communities,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo said in a statement. “These projects will give the next generation of industry-leading companies a seminal boost that will result in job creation and private investment — potentially transforming a regional economy and creating economic opportunity beyond what we can foresee.”

This week, Innovation Works also named its former chief investment officer, Ven Raju, as its new president and CEO.

Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2024 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.
Companies: RoadRunner Recycling / Innovation Works (Pittsburgh) / Carnegie Mellon University
Series: Money Moves

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