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South Side : Pittsburgh Innovates

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FutureDerm rolls out new beauty products, introduces a custom-mixed moisturizer

When it comes to the science of beauty, Nicki Zevola knows her stuff.
 
The CEO of FutureDerm, Pittsburgh's own Estee Lauder, prides herself in educating women on the chemistry of cosmetics through her line of beauty products and an accompanying blog.
 
With two products already on the market, the startup has rolled out several new ones, including a customized face moisturizer designed to meet the personal needs of each user. FutureDerm Specialist is a patent-pending blend, bringing together elements of modern skin care chemistry, digital technology and the old-school apothecary, says Zevola.
 
Customers fill out an online survey about their skin care needs and an algorithm does the rest, creating a personalized formula from more than 100 different combinations of active ingredients.
 
Also new is FutureDerm’s Vitamin C Eye Cream, Skin Reborn Facial Cleanser and Seven Wonders Antioxidant-Rich Toner, which join the Time-Release Retinol 0.5 and Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum (a vitamin C formulation). The products were formulated to work together as an overall skincare system.

For seekers of a more organically-based system, the FutureDerm Organic 8 line--a cleanser, toner and moisturizer--is made from all-natural skin-care ingredients.
  
“We have a very scientific-minded audience,” explains Zevola. “We’re very authentic about who we are and what we represent. Women care about whether it works, not the fancy packaging and high price point.”
 
Another two products will be developed under a different brand name. Zevola declined to elaborate on them at this time. All will be available by Dec. 10th.
 
“What’s nice about the FutureDerm line is you get a wide assortment of ingredients that are scientifically proven. Everything is biocompatible to get maximal results,” she says.
 
The company has an office below Alpha Lab on Carson Street on the South Side and recently hired a chief marketing officer (formerly with TripAdvisor). FutureDerm employs seven; manufacturing takes place in Pittsburgh, Alabama and New Jersey.
 
FutureDerm’s growing success comes from a caring approach that is conveyed through its blog and responding to requests and questions through social media, Zevola says.
 
“I always say people don’t care what you know till they know that you care,” she says. “The fact that we have a lot of heart comes through. We’re walking before we run, but making great progress.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Nicki Zevola, FutureDerm

Need storage? Help balancing your budget? AlphaLab Demo Day shows and tells all

The AlphaLab Demo Day & Technology Preview proved yet again that entrepreneurs and startups are a big draw in Pittsburgh.
 
More than 375 people attended the presentations of six university tech startups and nine Innovation Works AlphaLab companies at the New Hazlett this week. Many stuck around to meet the companies afterward during an informal lunch mixer.
 
“The companies gained market traction and validation during the AlphaLab program and did an excellent job of presenting their products and companies at Demo Day,” said Jim Jen of IW. “This cycle’s companies continued the tradition of raising the bar for future AlphaLab classes.”
 
This year marked the first time that National Energy Technology Laboratory joined the lineup.  
 
The preview opened with university technologies, ranging from Lightside, an online platform that instantly assesses student writing and offers feedback to both teachers and student writers, to Diamond Kinetics, which is in the throes of commercializing technology that improves the performance of baseball and softball players.
 
The current crop of AlphaLab companies were equally compelling, ranging from reality-based gaming to a look at the savvy new age of college-level athletic recruiting. 
 
A few highlights:
 
What is augmented-reality gaming? MegaBits CEO Patrick Perini explained how his new game brings the gaming world and real world together. The game is based on a player’s physical location, allowing gamers to chase and battle monsters and feed and train them, in all kinds of real world weather.
 
It’s catching on. Nearly 200 applicants signed up in the first two hours of MegaBits’ launch, said Perini.
 
Ever lose an important file, or key nugget of information on your computer? Steve Cotter of Collected wants to streamline the way you find it by providing intelligent authoring technology to help you quickly access frequently used content. Not only does it speed up access, but also it can drill down contents on a Google drive and costs, at minimum, $10 a month. Launching in January.
 
Forget reconciling your bank statements across several apps. BudgetSimple tracks your spending and income all in one place and keeps it up-to-date.
 
“The most successful budget is one where you can keep the things that are important and eliminate the waste,” says CEO Phil Anderson, a successful internet marketer who previously worked for Vivisimo (before it was acquired by IBM) and LunaMetrics in Pittsburgh. BudgetSimple has 130,000 users signed on to date.
 
Wing Ma'am, a fast growing mobile app, is bringing bring LBGT women together as a resource for one another. It already attracted 108,000 users to date and is on target in reach 2 million in the next two years, says CEO Ariella Furman.
 
It’s also the only app of its kind that searches for events, not just people, she says.
 
If you’ve ever tried to stay abreast of a high school or collegiate athletic team’s changing schedule, you will appreciate the value of AthleteTrax. The startup is working with high school and collegiate club teams to provide an online tool that puts all a team’s information in one place, a sort of dashboard for athletics.
 
Lacking space for storage? Have space to rent? Spacefinity matches the have-nots with the haves and helps the haves convert their extra space into cash. The startup is tapping into the $22 billion storage industry and has 70 live space lords in Pittsburgh so far, says CEO Alex Hendershott.
 
Those looking for motivation to keep up with their physical therapy routines will gain support from Hability, a mobile tool that keeps patients engaged and therapists and family in the loop. “Compliance is in the root of attendance,” says CEO James Lomuscio.
 
Crowdasaurus stands at the intersection of crowdfunding and digital marketing. Projects with crowdfunding campaigns are matched with like-minded organizations—nonprofits or media outlets—who can benefit from the exposure they will receive by having content appear on the same page, says Josh Lucas, CEO. The Pittsburgh Foundation is already one of several beta testers on board. 
 
Finally, a senior at Grove City College believes the college athletic recruiting system is broken. Her startup, ProfilePasser, is the only platform that brings players and coaches together on the field where the players can be seen and recruited, says Sam Weber, founder. The app is available in the iTunes store now.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: AlphaLab, Innovation Works

Pittsburgh Roundup: NoWait gains on OpenTable. Gov. Corbett visits AlphaLab, shows us the money

With all the world going mobile, will making reservations at restaurants go the way of the smartphone?  

NoWait thinks so. The Pittsburgh-based startup is beta-testing its new mobile app in Pittsburgh. If all goes as planned, NoWait says it will have seated more than 20 million diners by the end of 2013, easily surpassing the number of people making reservations on OpenTable, an online system that caters to fine dining establishments.

The iPad-based app has proven to be quite popular with diners and casual dining spots, places that typically don’t take reservations and might have long lines on any given day, says Robb Myer, president and chief product officer.

Pittsburgh clients have been instrumental in the development of the core product, so it made sense to tap them in developing the consumer interface, says Myer.  “It’s one of the advantages of being in Pittsburgh,” he adds. “We can get a better cross section of people in Pittsburgh than if we launched it in New York or San Francisco.”

NoWait works to make the waiting game more tolerable. When diners arrive, the host inputs the customers’s name and mobile number. Diners then have the choice of leaving the restaurant and returning and are able to check their place in line.

At the same time, restaurant managers are better able to manage the queue and optimize table turnover. The startup received received funding from Birchmere Ventures in Pittsburgh and was built with seed funding and support from Innovation Works’ AlphaLab and Carnegie Mellon University Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund.
 
In other startup news, Gov. Tom Corbett toured IW’s AlphaLab on the South Side last week and launched Innovate in PA, a new program that will accelerate job growth in the tech sector and support entrepreneurs and startup companies.
 
The Innovate in PA tax program is expected to bring in $75 million for seed capital needs across the state. The funds will be distributed through the Ben Franklin Technology Partners and will benefit incubators like IW and the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse.
 
“The most creative entrepreneurs and innovative startups are right here in Western Pennsylvania,” Corbett told the gathered crowd.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Robb Myer, NoWait; Innovation Works

Photo: Gov. Corbett chats with Hank Safferstein of Cognition Therapeutics and Rich Lunak of Innovation Works.

The 2013 Data Award winners included a few surprises and a surreal atmosphere

The Pittsburgh Technology Council’s 5th Annual Design, Art and Technology (DATA) Awards celebrated, as it does each year, the intersection of art and technology design with a lineup of the region’s most creative startups.
 
This year's event gave off a surreal glow, although maybe it was the fog machine and the light filtering through the stained glass windows into The Priory’s Grand Hall on the Northside.
 
“It’s a great event for showcasing innovations with an art twist and sharing it with a wider audience,” said Paul Fireman of Fireman Creative whose firm took away a DATA in the Media Arts category.

“There were a lot of companies this year that I hadn’t heard of and that's a good thing because it means the group of participating companies is growing.” 
 
New this year was an interactive element that allowed the public to vote and determine the winners, along with a jury of experts.
 
The public voting was an important piece, said Audrey Russo, president of PTC, giving the artistic and creative communities a voice in the process.
 
“We are continually pleased with the breadth and number of individuals, and organizations, that actively participated,” said Russo. "I believe this space serves as the preamble to an imminent, seismic change in skill development and education.  Plus, we always have a ton of fun supporting those who build and execute big ideas.” 

The 2013 winners were:
 
i-CON: Apps & Information Architecture Award – Highmark + United Concordia: Chomper Chums

Next Generation: Kids & Creative Technology Award – The Center for Creativity: TransformED

Maker: Design & Art Award – Teletrix: Radiation Training Simulators

Media Arts: Interactive + Multimedia Award – Fireman Creative: Ricky’s Dream Trip
 
Joystick: Gaming Award – Schell Games + Yale University: PlayForward

Student Award – Carnegie Mellon University: Floria

People’s Choice Award – WQED Multimedia + SLB Radio Productions: iQ Kids Radio

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: PTC

Lunametrics takes digital intelligence marketing to the next level

South Side-based LunaMetrics knows all about rising to the top when it comes to the web search.
 
As a digital intelligence firm, Lunametrics works with clients to analyze and increase traffic to their websites. It's also the only certified partner of Google Analytics in Western Pennsylvania, although it has plenty of other tools in the box including search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) and social media.
 
The combination is drawing hits, as they say. Last year LunaMetrics, founded in 2005, doubled its revenues to $1.5 million and expanded staff by 50 percent, growth that required moving from the Terminal Building to more spacious digs on the South Side with conference rooms and a kitchen.
 
LunaMetrics currently employs 12 and is hiring two.  
 
While many clients come to us because we’re a certified Google Analytics partner, they stay because we’re customer centric, says Robbin Steif, CEO.
 
Lunametrics believes in regular communication with customers. It’s important to understand their experience so we can make the entire online experience better, whether that means the website, apps or social media.
 
The industry is growing for two reasons, she adds. It’s the most measurable marketing you can have today, very show me the numbers. The other reason is the tremendous growth of the Internet.   
 
“Its easy to understand what we do to improve rankings, but that’s only one piece," Steif says. "We try to cover the marketing, digital intelligence space. It’s not all about search engines but making your property do what you want it to do."
 
So how is this working for LunaMetrics? “Our visit pattern looks like a hockey stick,” says Steif. “The visitors to the company’s website are up 161% year over year, 2012-2011. That’s what happens when you work really hard at it and have the right things in the right place.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Robbin Steif, Lunametrics
 
 
 

BIG Data: Powered Analytics harnesses the power. Pittsburgh companies launch DataWorks

Imagine the power of billions and billions of data bytes in the cloud that are leveraged to not only solve problems but predict the future. Such is the promise of “big data,” the bold frontier of data mining.
 
Pittsburgh startup Powered Analytics hopes to tap this data mother lode. By developing a cloud-based platform to assist a wide range of industries, the startup, currently in Alpha Lab, hopes to be among the first to establish itself in the business intelligence market, which is estimated to gain an $81 billion foothold in the market by 2014.

And if that isn't exciting enough, Pittsburgh companies have joined forces and launched DataWorks, a partnership of local companies--including IBM, Avere, CMU, Pitt, UPMC and Management Scientist Associates--who are rolling out big plans to make Pittsburgh a hub for "big data." (More on this next week.)
 
From the dawn of man the world has generated about five million terabytes of information, explains Collin Otis, co-founder and Pitt grad who previously worked in the aerospace industry on scientific prediction methods for propulsion applications.
  
“As a society we now generate about that much data in two days.” 
 
Welcome to the next paradigm shift.
 
“There’s an opportunity to really change the world doing this on a massive scale,” says Otis. “You can solve amazing problems with this technology.”
 
For example, auto manufacturers can sift through warranty, recall and service data on a specific model and flag potential mechanical problems before they become a costly issue.  Computers can identify a pattern long before humans, he says.
 
While very new, Pittsburgh is well on its way to becoming a hub for data mining and machine learning. SAP, one of the largest providers of statistical analysis, recently acquired Smartops; IBM, which acquired Vivisimo, and Google are both working on it.
 
It’s the holy grail of business intelligence applications, yet only about 3% of all companies are leveraging this data, Otis says.  
 
It’s not an easy space to get into. The startup has two employees, two interns and received more than 100 applications for its one job opening.
 
“I wanted to work in an industry with an opportunity to make a big impact,” Otis says. “The endgame is to become a global leader in predictive analytics.”
 
Writer: Debra Smit
Source: Collin Otis, Powered Analytics

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Co-eXprise, Mind Over Media, Flashgroup and more

Each week Pop City reports on the latest hiring news in the region.
 
Wexford-based software company Co-eXprise is expanding its team. The company hired 17 in 2012 and currently has three openings for a sales director of the western region, a junior software engineer and a system administrator engineer. The firm provides sourcing software to manufacturers to facilitate their businesses.
 
CMU spinout Flashgroup, founded by two CMU professors, is exploring ways to facilitate a faster-paced social network. The company is hiring three: Python developer for NLP Analytics; a system administrator and a UI/UX designer. Those adept in IT need apply.
 
Mind Over Media, a Pittsburgh marketing strategy firm, is hiring a facilities technician, a key role that will support video and post-production needs. The firm creates multi-channel products for higher education, college athletics and the corporate sector.
 
Little Earth Productions, the South Side company that makes cool purses and recently landed a big contract for the Terrible Towel, is looking for a marketing associate to assist with marketing and the promotion of licensed sports accessories.
 
ShowClix is on the lookout for a director of marketing. The ideal candidate will provide leadership, training and management to the ShowClix marketing team and be able to juggle multiple projects (in the air) simultaneously.
 
The Pittsburgh office of Bombardier is hiring a technical writer/ editor intern to author sections of manuals and smaller documents. The job requires editing and publishing operation and maintenance manuals, illustrated parts catalogs and training documentation as well as assisting in other technical writing duties.

Have hiring news? Email Pop City the details and include the link.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

Looking good Pittsburgh. PittsburghTODAY report highlights the state of the region

PittsburghTODAY released its 2013 Today & Tomorrow report and the news across many sectors is enlightening.
 
With the economic recovery still underway in much of the country, Pittsburgh is the only benchmark region out of 15 that has experienced job growth and housing price appreciation. In addition, the labor force is at an all-time high and young people are returning and staying in the region.
 
Southwestern Pennsylvania continues to be one of the most affordable places for moderate-income families to live. A Brookings Institution study says so too, listing Pittsburgh as one of three cities in the U.S. to have recovered from the deep recession that began in 2007.
 
The region, however, has work to do in several areas, including transportation, the environment and issues pertaining to diversity, particularly in helping African Americans in the region to achieve the same quality of life as whites.
 
Among the highlights:
 
Population: It has been official but bares repeating: the region is attaining and attracting young talent. The region’s population of 20- to 34- year-olds grew by 7% over the last five years and is expected to grow another 8% in 2020. Three decades earlier the region was losing more than 50,000 people than it was attracting, mostly young adults.
 
Jobs: Jobs grew by a non-seasonably adjusted 1.7 percent in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) from November 2007 to November 2012. Certainly not robust, but it was better than any of the Pittsburgh TODAY benchmark regions. Pittsburgh was the only region to post job growth over that period.
 
Tourism: Visitors to Southwestern Pennsylvania pumped $8.1 billion into the local economy in lodging, recreation, retail, food and beverage, transportation and other spending during 2011,the latest year the full data was reported. This is a 9.6% increase over 2010.

Housing: Pittsburgh was the only region in which the 5-year housing prices rose from 2007-2012.
 
Environment: While fine particle pollution is slowly decreasing, and met federal air quality standards for the first time in 2011 since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, smog and sewage spills and the health of our rivers remains an issue.
 
Fracking: Across the region, a survey shows that far more residents are convinced of the economic potential of the Marcellus Shale gas industry than are against drilling for it. More than 70% of those surveyed believe that gas drilling is boosting the local economy.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: PittsburghTODAY

Do you know what your 7-year old is downloading? Be AppCertain

Kids today. Give them a digital device and they will have it mastered by the age of two.
 
Pittsburgh startup AppCertain wants to help by providing parents with a platform that gives them the tools to stay abreast of their children’s digital prowess. Anytime a child downloads an app to their iOS device, AppCertain sends them an email with detailed information on the potential security risk and educational value of the download.
 
The company is the first to be selected by Birchmere Labs as a studio project, a new investment model for the region. Developed by Birchmere Ventures and partner Sean Ammirati, Birchmere Labs offers seed investments to early stage startups; the most promising among them are then selected as studio projects.
 
Unlike an accelerator or incubator, of which there are many in the region, Birchmere Labs is about taking the seed of an idea and spinning it out as a company. The designation comes with an undisclosed amount of funding and further mentoring from Birchmere’s experienced entrepreneurs, says Ammirati.
 
“Birchmere really helped me run with my idea,” says Spencer Whitman, co-founder and CEO of AppCertain. “We’re at the point now of slowly leaving the Birchmere nest, learning how to operate and stand on our own two feet.”
 
Whitman began developing AppCertain during his years at CMU where he was both an undergrad and grad student working at CyLab. When it comes to reviewing apps, restrictions, ratings and reviews aren’t working for parents, he says.
 
Parents need an easy way to monitor their children’s activity and teach them to be responsible digital citizens without having to take their device away or engage in constant confrontation.
 
The platform, which targets children between the ages of seven and 17, provides information on an app’s security risk and content value. Is an app, for example, capable of accessing sensitive information, like data or photos? How educational or violent is the content?
 
The idea is to give kids the freedom to make their own decisions while giving parents the ability to make sure their decisions are sound, he says.
 
AppCertain, currently in beta, is a free download, but hopes to be an app someday. It currently works only with iOS products--iPhone, iPod, iTouch and iPads--with plans to expand into the Android market.
 
The company has three full-time and four part-time employees and works out of Birchmere Ventures in the South Side.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Sean Ammirati, Spencer Whitman, Birchmere Ventures
 
From left to right: Jim Newsome, Spencer Whitman, and Megan Gilligan.  Not pictured: Sean Ammirati, Lara Schenck, Karmyn Guthrie, and Cyrus Collier, courtesy of Birchmere Ventures

Tech Bytes: startup incubators, data mining, $17 million and more

It was a busy week on the local startup scene. Among the highlights:
 
* Innovation Happens was held at the Alpha Lab office in the South Side, bringing five startups together with business leaders in Pittsburgh. The goal of the program is to introduce local startups to local companies, which is a win-win for the region in helping to build great businesses, says Sean Ammirati, partner, Birchmere Ventures. The companies included: Community Elf, Acrinta, WebKite, Appcertain and Legal Sisters.
 
* Birchmere Ventures plans to make a big announcement later this week regarding the first local startup selected for Birchmere Labs, a seed and studio fund.
 
* More than 200 people attended the grand opening of Hustle Den, the new East Liberty incubator for entrepreneurs. Project Aura claimed the $25,000 prize for Thrill Mill’s first Business Bout, two CMU design students who are working to make the streets safer by illuminating bicycle tires in an array of colors depending on how fast the bike is traveling.
 
* Cohera Medical, the company that is bringing absorbable surgical adhesives and sealants to patients, helping them to heal and recover faster from large flap surgeries, has secured an additional $17 million round through private investors. Cohera will use the funds to expand into the European markets.
 
* Big Data is changing the world.  Learn all about it from a panel of local experts on how they are involved with 'big data' and what changes and opportunities they see emerging at the next MIT Enterprise Forum on Feb. 20th starting at 5:30 p.m. The panel, moderated by Raul Valdes-Perez, founder of Vivisimo, includes Mickey McManus, president and CEO of Maya Design, Saman Haqqi, a leader in the efforts to create the “Big Pittsburgh Data Mill,” John Dick, CEO of CivicScience and Susan Bachman of Management Science Associates.

Writer: Deb Smit

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Who isn't? 50+ jobs posted this week starting with Deeplocal

Pop City reports on companies hiring in the region each week. This week several very cool companies report the hiring of five or more employees.
 
Deeplocal regaled the entrepreneurial community with an open house at its expansive new digs in the Strip District last Thursday evening. As Nathan Martin, CEO, put it in his remarks to those in attendance, let the hiring begin.
 
The highly creative marketing firm is revving its engines with clients like Disney, Reebok and Nike.  Current openings include account manager, Android and iOS mobile developers, web developer and two interns for mobile development and software engineering.
 
Branding Brand works the mobile commerce space and counts American Eagle, Ralph Lauren and Sehora among its clients. The firm is hiring nine people in a variety of positions: lead software engineer, web application developer, account manager, project manager, iOS developer, director of account management, VP of project management, quality assurance director and a financial analyst.
 
4 moms is the company behind creative robotic technology that is taking the art of parenting to the next level. The Strip District firm has more than doubled each of the last four years and expects to double again this year.
 
The firm is hiring 13 people at the present time, looking for mechanical and software engineers, a user experience designer, network administrator, logistics and quality technicians and product developers.  There’s an internship for an industrial graphic designer too.
 
EDMC, one of the largest providers of post-secondary education opportunities, is hiring four for marketing and IT positions: admissions representative, academic advising manager, systems analyst III and software supervisor.

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation is hiring a chief learning officer.
 
Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in East Liberty is hiring an event manager.
 
MEMS Industry Group is looking for a marketing associate.
 
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is hiring a director of media relations.
 
SnapRetail is looking for a sales rep for its Pittsburgh-based tech company that helps to market independent retailers through its online marketing system.
 
College Prowler, the online service that guides students through the college decision process, is hiring a quality assurance analyst.
 
Philips Electronics, developer of medical devices for the care of neonates and infants, is hiring a technical writer for its Children’s Medical Ventures New Product Development Dept.

Premier Medical Associates, is growing rapidly and hiring and hiring 16 for its Monroeville, Forest Hills and Penn Hills offices. Positions include: medical assistants, physician assistants, patient care coordinators, accounts receivable and patient care reps.

The architectural and urban design firm of Rothschild Doyno Collaborative is in need of talented and motivated team members with one to five years of post-degree professional experience.  The ideal candidates must also possess excellent communication and graphic skills with both hand-drawn and digital media. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in urban design.
 
Nothing here? Take a look at last week's postings. Have hiring news? Email Pop City and include the job links.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
 


2013 Carnegie Science Awards recognizes outstanding innovators in the region

The 2013 Carnegie Science Awards were announced this week, an illustrious list of educators, researchers and business leaders working to improve the lives of others. The awards celebrate the accomplishments of individuals working in the fields of science, technology and education in Western Pennsylvania.
 
The winners include:   
 
The ExOne Company’s David Burns, Advanced Manufacturing Award 
Burns was recognized for positioning this promising North Huntingdon company as a leader in additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. ExOne recently announced a public offering.
 
Edward Argetsinger, Jonathan Stinson, Paul Turner, Paul Jablonski, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Advanced Materials Award NETL assisted in the design of a new alloy for coronary stents used by physicians to open blocked or restricted arteries.

Nancy Minshew, University of Pittsburgh, Catalyst Award
As the head of the Center for Excellence in Autism Research, Minshew has extensively studied autism and applied the findings to practice and public policy. Her work has led to the region’s recognition as a world-class center for autism research.

Tracy Cui, Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, Emerging Female Scientist Award Cui is researching smart biomaterials for neural implants and neural tissue engineering.

Raul Valdes-Perez, Jerome Pesenti, Vivisimo, Entrepreneur Award
The Squirrel Hill-based company, recently acquired by IBM, has taken an untraditional and creative approach in helping companies and governments discover, analyze and navigate large volumes of data.

Bob Enick, Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, Environmental Award
Working in collaboration with a GE Global Research Team, Enick has developed a unique method of capturing carbon dioxide from the stack of coal-fired power plants, a technique that may cost far less than current technologies.

Patrick Daly, Cohera Medical, Start-Up Entrepreneur Award
As president and CEO of this promising Pittsburgh startup that grew out of research conducted at Pitt, Daly is helping to move the company’s first product, TissuGlu, into the market. The adhesive is designed to reduce the need for surgical drains in plastic surgery procedures and speed healing time.
 
David Vorp, Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and NETL-RU, Life Sciences Award Dr. Vorp's work on aortic aneurysms has changed the way clinicians view this disease and research on vein graft modification may one day change arterial bypass surgeries.
 
Peter Lucas, Joe Ballay, Mickey McManus of MAYA Design, Science Communicator
MAYA is helping the world to think more scientifically about design through informational films and interactive websites as well as the book, "Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology."
 
Check out the complete list of 2013 Carnegie Science Award winners.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

Award recipients Dr. Robert Enick and Dr. Tracy Cui, courtesy of Carnegie Science Center 

Akustica rolls out new HD microphones and names Horst Muenzel as new CEO

Bosch-Akustica rolled out a digital family of four high-definition microphones this month for consumer devices that promises to dramatically improve sound quality.
 
The latest additions to the company’s product line of HD voice microphones for smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronics was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month.
 
“A lot of the accuracy for speech recognition today depends on the quality of the microphones, which are continually getting better,” explains Davin Yuknis, vice president of sales and marketing. “They are getting so clear you can hear a pin drop.”
 
The South Side Akustica office has announced a managerial shift within the global company as well. Dr. Stefan Finkbeiner, former CEO of Akustica, has moved to Germany to lead Bosch Sensortec, a sister company to Akustica.
 
Dr. Horst Muenzel has taken over as CEO and general manager of Akustica. Muenzel, who has been with Bosch since 1989, was previously regional president of the Robert Bosch Research and Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif.
 
His many years in MEMs research and technology makes Muenzel an excellent choice for continuing Akustica's mission to deliver innovative microphones and products that meet changing market requirements, says Yuknis. 
 
“Stefan was the integrator within the Bosch structure, a $70 billion company.” Yuknid says. “Horst has run the research and technology center for all of Bosch and is very familiar with Pittsburgh.”
 
New management marks the next phase of bringing new products to market for both the cell phone and consumer products. Akustica will remain in a growth phase and hiring is expected in the coming year.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Davin Yuknis, Akustica

2012 was a good year for VC growth in Pittsburgh despite a nationwide decline

Venture capital investment across the region continued to climb steadily in 2012 with 79 deals that totaled $168.97 million, a 7.9% increase over 2011 when $156.53 million was raised and spread over 55 deals. 

The news in Pittsburgh was a bright spot; nationally VC figures declined by 10 percent from the prior year. All figures are from the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), based on data from Thomson Reuters.

“We’re bucking a trend here in Pittsburgh which is very positive,” noted Gary Glausser who joined Innovation Works this month as Chief Investment Officer.

A longtime venture capitalist in the local community, Glausser was with South Side-based Birchmere Ventures for 13 years. He most recently handled alternative investments for the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System, a total portfolio of $7 billion. He is also a member of the IW Board of Directors.

Among the highlights of the MoneyTree report for 2012:

The strongest showing in Pittsburgh was the life sciences and software sectors. More than 23 companies received funding in life sciences, predominantly medical device companies, and 19 software and IT services companies were funded. The number of software company deals last year is a sign of the region’s strength in this sector since software companies generally don’t require large infusions of cash, noted Terri Glueck of Innovation Works.

Innovation Works and The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG) were the largest overall investors, IW with 12 deals and PLSG with six according to the MoneyTree report.

The companies that raised the largest rounds included: Avere Systems ($20 million), Thorley Industries ($20 million), TriStar Investors ($15 million) Duolingo ($15 million) Knopp Biosciences ($14.94 million) and BodyMedia ($11.89 million). 

Other local investors included: Birchmere Ventures, Draper Triangle Ventures, Adams Capital Management, BlueTree Allied Angels, Eagle Ventures and Pittsburgh Equity Partners.

“I personally think the next few years will be exciting,” Glausser adds. “We’re looking at a pipeline of opportunities here. Our mission is going to be to get the capital to put into these companies.”

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: NVCA and MoneyTree 

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Design Center, ShowClix and more

Looking for a job? Each week Pop City reports on company hiring news in the region.
 
Design Center Pittsburgh is hiring a Community Programs Manager who will be responsible for management and oversight of projects for the grant-making program of the Design Fund. The ideal candidate will provide technical assistance and support around issues of design, planning and policy to community-based organizations.
 
The position demands a highly organized person with experience in architecture, planning and/or community development and strong program management and communications skills.
 
The hiring spree continues at ticketing company ShowClix, which is posting seven jobs and four internships for account executives and managers, software engineers. The news at ShowClix is the recent departure of company co-founder and Josh Dziabiak who is moving to Austin, TX, to work for former AlphaLab company Insurance Zebra.
 
ShowClix has no immediate plans to fill the CEO position and remains committed to Pittsburgh, reports Lynsie Campbell, president. A new funding round is in the works.
 
Tickets for Kids Charities, a nonprofit that seeks to give underprivileged children in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio access to the arts, is looking for an executive director and administrative assistant.  
 
The ideal candidate will have have 10 years minimum experience as a senior manager in a nonprofit or business environment and an established record of success in several areas.
 
The administrative assistant position is part-time, about 20-hours a week, and requires one to two years of experience working in a busy office environment.
 
Carnegie Robotics, a startup company that builds robots, smart sensors and automation components with a strong relationship with the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC), is hiring mid-level software engineers for its Lawrenceville office.
 
The full-time positions requires product-oriented software engineers with superior problem-solving skills, high energy, creativity and strong experience in developing C and C++ software for robotics sensing applications. 
 
General Dynamics C4 Systems is hiring an Information Designer. GD works on the latest in visualization and collaboration software for the military and commercial partners. The ideal candidate will have a degree in Design and/or Human Sciences or related field plus a minimum of five years of relevant experience.

Sequoia Waste Solutions is hiring a lead developer and two paid-for-hire interns for its O’Hara Township office. The company, which takes a unique approach to waste disposal and recycling as a service, helps companies save money and recycle products. (See related story.)
 
SnapRetail has a position for a Marketing and Product Management person. The ideal candidate will be an advanced user of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop and be able to execute and create compelling graphics and work with a team.

Treatspace is hiring a Lead Interface Designer.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
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