PRA Post

PRA Post is the Pittsburgh Region’s Economic Development Newsletter

March 2018

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Pittsburgh’s Petuum Expands, Raises $93 Million and Aims to Hire 120 People

Pittsburgh-based software infrastructure and ecosystem provider, Petuum, is expanding after raising $93 million in a recent investment round. The two-year-old, early-stage tech company – whose machine learning platform is providing companies across various industries and sizes a way to create artificial intelligence (AI) products – has plans to quadruple the size of its operations and add 120 employees by the end of 2018.

Petuum’s CEO Eric Xing believes Pittsburgh is the perfect place to grow, particularly with the engineering talent coming out of its nearby institutions like Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. “Engineers here are highly efficient and their work ethic and loyalty is just unbelievable. Plus, for many people in Pittsburgh’s tech ecosystem, the city’s quality of life – from housing costs to healthcare accessibility to the food scene – makes it an attractive place to work and live.”

Read more

Our Region’s Tech Innovation Economy

GeekWire – the popular tech news outlet based in Seattle – set up its own HQ2 in Pittsburgh in February to cover our region’s tech scene. Here are some highlights.

Meet Luis von Ahn: CEO of $700 Million Language Learning Startup, Duolingo
“An accomplished entrepreneur and Carnegie Mellon graduate, meet Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn. He talks about the company’s future, its success in Pittsburgh and the region’s reputation for innovation.” Read more

Inside PPG’s Coatings Innovation Center
“Learn more about the Coatings Innovation Center of global paint giant PPG Industries. The company conducts R&D for coatings for iPhones to airplanes – and now – developing technology to help self-driving cars detect other vehicles via LIDAR sensors.” Read more

AlphaLab: Pittsburgh’s Tech Accelerator Aims to Solve City’s Startup Challenge
“AlphaLab has become a bedrock of the growing Pittsburgh tech ecosystem. As one of the country’s first-ever accelerators, it has graduated 147 early-stage companies in a variety of industries.” Read more

Our Robot Neighbors: Hanging Out With the Mechanical Inhabitants of “Robotics Row”
“Meet a few of the approximately 25 robotics companies clustered in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville and nearby Strip District neighborhoods, including companies that manufacture robots as well as others like Uber and Argo AI that are working on autonomous vehicles.” Read more

Former Microsoft Research Chief Rick Rashid on the Rise of ‘Invisible’ Tech, Robotics, AI, and Pittsburgh
“So much has changed, in this city and in the technology world, since Rick Rashid arrived in 1979 as a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Read his thoughts on Pittsburgh’s transformation.” Read more

More on Pittsburgh’s Opportunities around Tech

Pittsburgh Poised to Build Thriving Health Innovation Industry
“The city has put itself on the map as a center of innovation in medicine, health systems and biotechnology, and it has done so by leveraging one of the city’s most valuable assets: its research institutions.” Read more

Our Region’s Strengths in Healthcare and Life Sciences

How Carnegie Mellon Researchers are Preparing for the Rise of Edge Computing, with a $27.5 Million Grant
“Backed by a $27.5 million grant from the Semiconductor Research Corporation, Carnegie Mellon University is ensuring developers prepare for edge computing with a project known as CONIX.” Read more

Inside Uber’s Self-Driving Tech Center in Pittsburgh, a Glimpse of the Possible Future of Transportation
“Walking through Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center feels like something out of a movie, or a step into the future. The 80,000-square-foot facility houses hundreds of Uber engineers who are developing the company’s latest autonomous driving technology.” Read more

More GeekWire Pittsburgh HQ2 coverage

More Economic Development News

Amazon to Expand Office in Pittsburgh, Add 125 Jobs
“Amazon has plans to more than double its tech-focused workforce at its Pittsburgh Tech Hub on South Side Works, adding 125 jobs in machine translation and speech science.” Read more

Pittsburgh Data Company, Niche, Expands; Plans to Hire 20 People
“Niche expects to expand this year. The Pittsburgh data company announced it has raised $6.6 million and is planning to hire more than 20 people by the end of the year.” Read more

E-Commerce Car Dealership, Carvana, Plans 1.2 Acre Site, Adds 20 New Jobs
“Officials of Carvana, the Phoenix-based e-commerce car dealership, announced plans to bring a car-vending machine concept, located in only seven other cities nationwide, to South Fayette on 1.2 acres of land.” Read more

Our Region’s Business Investment Advantages

A New Public-Private Partnership Has Formed to Feed City’s Innovation Economy
“A coalition of civic leaders – Allegheny County, City of Pittsburgh, UPMC, Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Conference – are teaming up to support InnovatePGH, a new public-private partnership to accelerate Pittsburgh’s growing tech economy.” Read more

UPMC and University of Pittsburgh Announce $200 Million for Immunotherapy Research and New Collaboration Center
“Two of Pittsburgh’s research powerhouses – the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the University of Pittsburgh – unveiled plans for a new $200 million immunotherapy center, the UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center.” Read more

Allegheny Health Network, Forbes Hospital Announce New, $35 Million Cancer Center in Monroeville
“A new, $35 million state-of-the-art cancer and imaging center is expected to open in early 2019 at Allegheny Health Network’s Forbes Hospital in Monroeville. About 20 new employees are expected to be hired.” Read more

CoLab18 Opens on Pittsburgh’s North Side
“CoLab18 – a 4,600-square-foot space inside tech hub, Nova Place – recently opened as a digital literacy laboratory and public resource for learning and collaboration among North Side’s 18 neighborhoods.” Read more

A New, $23 Million, 105,000 SF Building Set To Rise in the Strip District
“A $23 million, four-story, 105,000-square-foot office and research and development building, dubbed District 15, will rise at the corner of 15th and Smallman streets in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.” Read more

Officials Break Ground on 95,000 SF Mixed-Use Building in Oakland
“Officials break ground on the Murdoch Building, an eight-story, 95,000-square-foot office and retail space in Oakland, slated to open in the third-quarter of 2019.” Read more

Ohio Developer to Build More Warehouses near Pittsburgh International Airport
“Al. Neyer LLC, a Cincinnati developer, reached a deal with the Allegheny County Airport Authority to build two more single-story warehouses – measuring between 50,000 to 75,000 square feet – at the Clinton Commerce Park near the airport.” Read more

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business’ $201 Million, 300,000 SF Tepper Quad Building Nears Completion
“Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business will move this summer into the $201 million, 300-000-square-foot building – known as the David Tepper Quadrangle or Tepper Quad – rising over Forbes Avenue.” Read more

Carnegie Mellon University Receives $15 Million Donation to Launch Block Center for Technology and Society
“A Carnegie Mellon University alum and his wife donated $15 million to the school to start the Block Center for Technology and Society. Housed in its Heinz College, the center will be dedicated to examining the organizational, public policy and economic impacts of technology.” Read more

McKees Rocks Barge Facility, Other Projects, Receive State Multimodal Grants
“About $5.1 million in grants is coming to Allegheny County through Pennsylvania’s Multimodal Transportation Fund, including a $638,015 grant to McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises’ barge facility.” Read more

Shell Donates $1 Million to Community College of Beaver County’s Process Technology Program
“Shell Chemicals has donated $1 million to the Community College of Beaver County’s process technology program. The program prepares a new generation of local students for employment in industry and manufacturing like Shell’s $6 billion cracker plant being constructed in Beaver County.” Read more

Seton Hill Celebrates $1 Million Gift for Math Center, Scholarships
“Seton Hill University will create a mathematics enrichment center and endowed scholarship fund with a $1,018,000 gift from entrepreneur Robert M. Brownlee, the nephew of one of the school’s founding sisters.” Read more

KeyBank Grants $300,000 for Upper Hill District Development
“Neighborhood Allies will receive a two-year, $300,000 grant from the KeyBank Foundation for revitalization efforts in the Upper Hill District.” Read more

Chuck Noll Foundation Grants More Than $600,000 for Brain Injury Research
“The Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research announced its inaugural grants to five research teams from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and UPMC totaling more than $600,000.” Read more

Amazon Awards $250,000 to Carnegie Mellon University’s Team to Compete in Alexa Prize
“An 11-member team from Carnegie Mellon University will get $250,000 from Amazon to compete against seven other teams worldwide for its $500,000 Alexa Prize and a $1 million research grant to the university.” Read more

Homestead Receives $100,000 Grant for Bike Park
“Homestead Borough will receive $100,000 toward creation of a one-mile-long trail and bike park that will provide a direct connection between the Eighth Avenue business district and the Great Allegheny Passage bicycle trail.” Read more

Four Pittsburgh Nonprofits Received $50,000 each from Google
“Four Pittsburgh nonprofits have each won a $50,000 prize for their economic initiatives in Google’s first Impact Challenge Pittsburgh competition.” Read more

Pittsburgh Tops the List of’s “Top Affordable Cities for Tech Jobs”
“Among many cities across the U.S. emerging as tech hotbeds, Pittsburgh is the most affordable.” Read more

Pittsburgh Shows the Way to a Rust Belt Rebound
“Pittsburgh is setting an example for other cities when it comes to revitalization. A growing mecca for millennials, the city is being hailed as the next tech industry hotspot. Even manufacturers like Alcoa Corp. are moving back to the city.” Read more

Explore the Region’s Quality of Life

Investments Present Major Growth Opportunities for Westmoreland County
“Millions of dollars in investment throughout Westmoreland County present the opportunity for jobs – now and in the future – and economic benefits for the 355,000 people who live here.” Read more

It Was a Very Good Year for Washington County’s Economy
“With 90 economic development projects bringing in more than $727.6 million in capital investment and 1,438 jobs created and retained in 2017, Washington County continues to create new economic growth, new job opportunities and countywide expansion in the Greater Pittsburgh region.” Read more

Explore Our Regional Economic Development Network

Major Tech Companies – Google, Amazon, Uber – Give Back to Pittsburgh
“As major tech companies set up engineering centers and offices in Pittsburgh, they’re also taking steps to show that they are here to more than just take advantage of talent but impact the community.” Read more

Tech Industry is Biggest Employer of Carnegie Mellon University Grads
“More than 40 percent of the 2017 MBA graduates from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business landed jobs with technology companies.” Read more

University of Pittsburgh among Top Fulbright Grant Producers
“The University of Pittsburgh is one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright students and scholars for the 2017-18 academic year, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.” Read more

How the AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup Found Roots in Pittsburgh
“Now in its fourth year, the Pittsburgh-based AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup competition continues to grow and expand as one of the few focused solely on companies with a physical product.” Read more

Traffic up at Pittsburgh International in January
“Passenger traffic at Pittsburgh International Airport saw an uptick in January, some 8.6 percent, the 21st consecutive month with growth in numbers.” Read more

Nonstop Flights from Pittsburgh International

Pennsylvania’s Rig Activity Hits Highest Level since July 2015
“Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry rose to the highest number of rigs since July 2015.” Read more

Shale Gas Output Ahead of Facilities
“Natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions tripled in the past five years and, in Pennsylvania at least, created more gas than its network of distribution companies and power plants uses.” Read more


Companies are investing and growing in the Pittsburgh region and creating opportunity for top talent, including positions below:

Go to to check out more jobs, learn about the region’s employers and industries and explore the region’s great live, play, and learn options.



March 6PVCA Luncheon
Join the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association for a luncheon on “Its Second Decade: Trends and Opportunities in Impact Investing.” As the “impact investing” field has moved into its second decade, how have players and perspectives evolved? What has Pittsburgh learned and where does it see new opportunities? Hear from Alexandra LaForge, interim executive director of Investors’ Circle & Social Venture Network. Held at the Fairmont Pittsburgh from 11:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., cost to attend is $60 for members, $110 for non-members.


March 7CIO Insights with Dan Sheehan, CISO Dick’s Sporting Goods
The Pittsburgh Technology Council is pleased to present chief information security officer of DICK’s Sporting Goods, Dan Sheehan, who will speak to what it takes to secure the massive IT infrastructure and data for its 715 locations across the country, youth sports digital platform offering called DICK’s Team Sports HQ and the company’s content-rich eCommerce platform. Cost to attend is $55 for Tech Council members, $175 for non-members.


March 9Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series: Going All-In on a Startup
Presented by Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship. Join Nina Barbuto, founder and director of Assemble, to learn about how Assemble has been assembling. Get some FYIs for your own business beginnings along with ways to be resourceful and how to truly start something with “nothing.” This talk will also include some hands-on aspects where you can assess your own eight forms of capital, look for collaborators and reflect on your context. Held at Chatham’s Shadyside Campus from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.; cost to attend is $25 per person, $12 with a valid student ID.


March 13Learn Ways Google Helps Small Business Grow
Marketing online is critical to growing your business and effectively using the tools available from Google – such as Google Analytics, Google My Business and G Suite – has proven to accelerate growth and position small businesses for success. This is why Google, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Small Business Association and Pittsburgh Chapter of SCORE are proud to sponsor this free, two-part seminar. Learn how prospective customers can find your business online and how to promote your online presence with search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising. Held at the Carnegie Library – Downtown from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., both seminars will be offered back-to-back on the same day.


March 15Caffeinated Innovation
Join Innovation Works (IW) over coffee to hear from women investors and firms that specifically invest in businesses led and founded by women. A panel discussion, moderated by Pam Eichenbaum, business development associate at Innovation Works, will feature Yvonne Campos, president, Next Act Fund; Jeanne Cunicelli, executive vice president, UPMC Enterprises; Samara Mejia Hernandez, principal, MATH Venture Partners; and Liz Todia, analyst, Mutual Capital Partners. Held at IW offices, this event is free to attend.


March 16PowerBreakfast Meeting
Join the African American Chamber of Commerce for its PowerBreakfast Meeting featuring the Honorable William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh Mayor. He’ll provide an update on the health of our city. He will also share his plans on his recent activity to ensure minority and small businesses are included in Pittsburgh’s economic development plans and activities. Held at the One Oxford Centre from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.; cost to attend is $20 for members, $30 for non-members.


March 23March Breakfast Briefing featuring a Municipal Leadership Roundtable
Join the Washington County Chamber of Commerce for a Municipal Leadership Roundtable discussing the challenges and opportunities our local township managers are exploring for growth in our region. Panelists include: Paul Lauer, manager, Peters Township; Erin Sakalik, manager, Mt. Pleasant Township; Brandon J. Stanick, manager, South Strabane Township and moderated by Jodi Noble, manager, Chartiers Township. Held at the Chartiers Township Community Center from 7:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.; cost to attend is $25 for members, $50 for non-members.


March 27A Conversation with Katharine Eagan Kelleman
Presented by the Urban Land Institute Pittsburgh. Get to know some of Pittsburgh’s most engaging leaders in this unique series organized by ULI Pittsburgh’s WLI. They’ll participate in a moderated interview where you’ll hear both the hurdles and the highlights of their professional stories. This event features Katharine Eagan, CEO of Port Authority of Allegheny County. Held at BNY Mellon from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.; cost to attend is $20 for members, $40 for non-members.


March 29GRID Institute Tour at the Energy Innovation Center
Green Building Alliance invites you to tour an incredible lab that is home to groundbreaking research in energy and sustainability: the University of Pittsburgh’s GRID Institute at the Energy Innovation Center (EIC). Explore and learn about three specific laboratories: the Energy Power Technologies Lab, the Next Generation Energy Conversion and Storage Technologies Lab, and the High-Temperature Corrosion Testing Lab. Held at the EIC from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.; cost to attend is $25 for members, $35 for non-members and $10 for students.


April 3-6 Carnegie Mellon University’s Energy Week
Presented by the Green Building Alliance. Carnegie Mellon Energy Week‘s 2018 theme is “Investing in our Energy Future.” Join thought leaders from industry, government, academia and the nonprofit sector to engage and collaborate on energy research, trends, innovative technologies and opportunities. Make sure to reserve your spot at featured events like the energy industry career fair, a Distinguished Mayor’s Forum on “Energy & Resilience: How Smarter Cities are Preparing for the Future,” keynote speeches and panel sessions. For more information visit


April 3Annual Congressional Breakfast with Congressman Keith Rothfus
Join the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce for its Congressional Breakfast featuring Congressman Keith Rothfus. Held at Heritage Valley Beaver from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.; cost to attend is $30 for members, $50 for non-members. RSVP by Tuesday, March 27 to or (724) 775 – 3944.


April 4Corridors of Opportunity: Beaver County
Join the Pittsburgh Business Times as it continues its event series highlighting Pittsburgh’s most important growth corridors – focusing on developments with the Shell cracker plant in Beaver County. Panelists will include Chuck Betters of CJ Betters Enterprises; Darrin Kelly, president of Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, PA AFL-CIO; and Pat Nardelli, principal at Castlebrook Development Group. Held at The Dome @ Community College of Beaver County from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.; cost to attend is $65 per person, $495 for a table of six.


April 9-102018 Pennsylvania Automated Vehicle Summit
As highly automated vehicles grow in public awareness, automated vehicle technology offers the promise of a mobility revolution. Please join in a public discussion on critical issues facing community and regional infrastructure planning and workforce development and explore the future of automated vehicles. The 2018 summit will focus on local planning and economic development, workforce education and training, and safety. Held at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Pittsburgh, cost to attend is $150 per person, $85 for students. A preliminary agenda for the Summit can be found here.


April 25-26Annual Pittsburgh Business Show
The Pittsburgh Business Show is a B2B trade show that’s helping build partnerships, bring professionals together for networking and create opportunities for new and existing businesses. Register to attend and connect with people and industry within the region, learn how to better your business, understand how to set goals and discover new techniques and processes. Click here for a list of speakers. Held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, cost to attend is $79 for both days, $49 for April 25 only and $39 for April 26 only. Opportunities to exhibit and/or sponsor are available.