Last week we announced that Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian will be speaking at our upcoming City Spotlight: Pittsburgh event. Today, we’re excited to announce another big guest: Mayor Bill Peduto.
The event will be held on June 29. You can register here for free to listen to our conversations with Mayor Peduto and Jahanian, among others.
An alumni of both Carnegie Mellon University and Pennsylvania State University, Peduto served on Pittsburgh’s City Council for a dozen years before being elected mayor in 2014. I’ve spoken with the mayor on numerous occasions, and aside from being one of the city’s biggest cheerleaders, he’s also a staunch proponent of the startup scene bolstered by local universities like CMU.
“Having two world-class research universities allows us to draw the companies here in order to be able to utilize that talent. At the same time, that talent is building out the startup community,” Peduto told me in a recent conversation. “The other components of the startup community are now, for the first time, being properly invested in. I think what you’re seeing change over the past five years in Pittsburgh is West Coast VCs aren’t looking to move startups to California. They’re looking to invest in Pittsburgh.”
Having resources like those universities has been instrumental in building out Pittsburgh’s startup community. But the city — which long bore the scars of rustbelt depression — has traditionally had difficulty retaining much of its talent, losing out to better-known startup ecosystems in places like New York and San Francisco.
But that’s changing — and the city is changing along with it. Pittsburgh currently has one of the world’s most vibrant robotic startup ecosystems, is at the center of much of the world’s autonomous vehicle research and has birthed successful companies like Duolingo.
Event organizer Matt Burns will be speaking to Mayor Peduto about the challenges and successes in building up such an ecosystem.
We’re still looking for startups to participate in the event. It’s free to register and participate in networking and watch the event (click here to register). It’s also free to apply to pitch your startup at the event (click here to apply). We’re looking for early-stage companies from the greater Pittsburgh area that can give a two-minute pitch to a panel of local venture capitalists in exchange for feedback.