Communities / Entrepreneurs / Robotics / Roundups / Science

How many Pittsburgh tech founders have started multiple companies?

These local biz leaders have been in the entrepreneurship game for years across several startups, from RoadRunner Recycling to Better Work Ventures to CivicScience.

Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn. (Courtesy photo)

This editorial article is a part of Evolution of a Tech Scene Month of's 2022 editorial calendar.

Though Pittsburgh is still an emerging tech hub, the founders of some of its leading companies have been at the entrepreneurship game for a while.

To better understand the genealogy of the local startup and tech ecosystem, reached out to InnovatePGH, which recently launched ASTRI — a comprehensive database on just that. Though anyone can use the database to find recent news on local startups, some information, like the number of companies a given founder has launched, are right now only accessible to the InnovatePGH team.

Across a range of industries, founder backgrounds and company stages, below is a small sampling of the serial entrepreneurs behind some of Pittsburgh’s best and brightest tech companies. The good news is that many of them are still in the region today, even if they’ve changed up the work they’re doing.

But this list is by no means comprehensive, and there are certainly many more companies and people to include in a full family tree of Pittsburgh tech. There’s the grandfather of robotics and autonomous vehicles, researcher Red Whittaker, along with the vast number of medical researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC who have helped grow that industry as well. Not to mention the number of companies that have come out of the National Robotics Engineering Center. Still, the following is a glimpse into just how active Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurship scene has become.

Know of more companies and founders we should add to this list? Let us know by sending an email to


  • Founders: Chris Urmson, J. Andrew Bagnell, Sterling Anderson, Vadim Savelyev, Sankar Viswanath
  • Bagnell is also the cofounder of NavPrescience

Better Work Ventures

  • Founders: Lynsie Campbell, Nathaniel Minto
  • Campbell is also the founder of LaneSpotter and cofounder of Showclix
  • Minto is also the cofounder of New Ambit

Bito Robotics

  • Founders: Zhongqiang Ren, Howie Choset
  • Choset is also the cofounder of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, cofounder of HEBI Robotics and cofounder of Medrobotics

Carmell Therapeutics

  • Founder: James Burgess
  • Burgess is also the founder of Surgeoneering


  • Founder: John Dick
  • Dick is also the founder of GSP Consulting Corporation

Cognition Therapeutics


  • Founders: Severin Hacker, Luis von Ahn
  • von Ahn is also the founder of reCAPTCHA

Edge Case Research

  • Founders: Philip Koopman, Michael Wagner
  • Wagner is also the cofounder of Mesh Robotics and cofounder of 18th Street Innovations

ESTAT Actuation

  • Founder: Stuart Diller, Randy Eager, Carmel Majidi
  • Eager is also the cofounder of ResTec Solutions, cofounder of Chement, founder of the Founder Institute Pittsburgh, founder of Aqualibrium and cofounder of DesignAdvance Systems


  • Founders: Brian Finamore, Ryan Green
  • Green is also the cofounder of FXConnection


  • Founders: Hayden Cardiff, Nick Bartell, Andrew Russell
  • Cardiff is also the cofounder of Hyliion and cofounder of Nebulus Audio


  • Founders: Joe Hipsky, Lowell Smith, Luis Burgos, Pete Littlejohn, Tim Haluszczak
  • Burgos is also the cofounder of SteelBridge Labs, cofounder of Exchangelodge, cofounder of NuMoola, founder of the WinJet Company and founding partner of Advue Technologies

KaliVir Immunotherapeutics


  • Founders: Michael Hufford, Eric Lagasse, Paulo Fontes
  • Hufford is also the cofounder of Harm Reduction Therapeutics, cofounder of NQ Oncology, cofounder of e-Nictoine Technology and cofounder of MindApps


  • Founder: Josh Fabian
  • Fabian is also the founder of Kitsu


  • Founders: Eric Koger, Susan Gregg Koger, Adil Wali
  • Wali is also the founder or Hiiro, founder of FoxCommerce, founder of Crowd Interactive and founder of Merit Foundation


  • Founders: Christina Koshzow, Luke Skurman, Joey Rahimi
  • Koshzow is also the cofounder of Branding Brand
  • Rahimi is also the cofounder of Branding Brand

Noveome Biotherapeutics

  • Founders: George Sing, William Golden
  • Golden is also the cofounder of Lancet Capital Health Ventures


  • Founders: Andy Hannah, John Abbatico, Jeremy Garvey
  • Hannah is also the cofounder of Plextronics

RoadRunner Recycling

  • Founder: Graham Rihn
  • Rihm is also the cofounder of Sequoia Waste Solutions and cofounder of


  • Founder: Maxim Likhachev
  • Likhachev is also the cofounder of TravelWits
Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 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: Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute / RoadRunner Recycling / InnovatePGH / Cognition Therapeutics / / Idelic / Gridwise / Duolingo / CivicScience / Aurora / Metafy
Series: Evolution of a Tech Scene Month 2022

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