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Cast your vote for the next DATA winner, the coolest art tech party in Pittsburgh (you're invited)

The 2013 Data Awards return to the Grand Hall at the Priory, one of the biggest innovation celebrations of the year in honor of the coolest design and tech projects in the region.

Nearly 50 companies are in the running for the region's highest (and only) honor for great art, entertainment and design technology, sponored by The Pittsburgh Technology Council.

New this year, the general public, that's you dear reader, will get a vote on the top projects. 

From now until the polls close on May 1st, readers may vote once for a project in each category. The public vote will be tabulated and weighted along with the decisions made by a industry professionals, says Kim Chestney Harvey of the Tech Council, 

Also new this year, tickets are offered at two price points. The early evening will be dedicated to the awards ceremony and presentations, which will end at 7 p.m. After that, the interactive exhibition party begins. The public, and non-PTC members, will be admitted for $25.

“It’s all about engaging the public and pulling interest from beyond the business community this year,” says Chestney Harvey. "It’s really important to keep the community element, which is what the DATAs are founded on.”

As for the contenders, there are many new names and technologies. While a few favorites from years past are back—Schell Games and Lightwave—many are new. There’s SloGo. An intriguing entry from Slippery Rock called “God Particle.” Walking Thumbs’ Blab Cake.

The student category, also new this year, has eight entries from CMU.

The evening’s presenter will be Bill Stankay,  journalist, author, filmmaker and former CNN Bureau Chief. Pittsburgh’s own Chip Walter will host the Awards Gala, drawing on his own explorations of human creativity and curiosity.

Cast your vote today!  Polls close May 1, 2013.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Kim Chestney Harvey, Pittsburgh Technology Council

113 Industries accelerates innovation for Fortune 500 companies

113 Industries, through the power of big data, is working with Fortune 500 companies to accelerate the pace of R&D in Pittsburgh and beyond.  
 
Founded in 2010 and based on Technology Drive in Oakland, the scientific research firm is capitalizing on the concept of “open innovation,” the cooperative sharing of intellectual property available to improve research activity.
 
Trillions of dollars in intellectual property sit on the shelves of universities, companies and federal labs, just waiting to play a role in the next great breakthrough product or technology, says Razi Imam, CEO, co-founder and adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at CMU. Through its internal platform, the company casts a wide net to tap this available research.
 
"We give Fortune 500 companies the opportunity to rapidly innovate and introduce breakthrough products to give them a competitive advantage," explains Imam. 
 
A chemical company, for example, might need a coating material to prevent the corrosion of the product under certain conditions. A food company, at a loss for the right chemical ingredient, might be in search of an ingredient to improve the health benefit or taste of a product.
 
113 Industries’ goal is to help customers reduce their R&D costs and the time it takes to develop and market new products, giving them an advantage in their marketplace.
 
Seasoned entrepreneurs, Imam and his partner Anupam Singh exited from their last company, Landslide, before the company was sold in 2012. Their new company name comes from the lowest chemical element on the periodic table.
 
The firm's team of multidisciplinary, scientists-in-residence, researchers on staff who work to connect the dots on research, is unique, they say. 
 
Pittsburgh has many great companies. Pushing R&D forward will not only help spur innovation but create jobs in the region, they say. “This is a big part of why open innovation is taking off,” Singh says. “It doesn’t need to be invented within your organization. It's something we're trying to foster and encourage in the region.”
 
“We want to give back to the region,” adds Imam. “We love Pittsburgh. This will give our region a true shot in the arm for revenue growth and an economic boost.”
 
Coming up: 113 Industries will co-host the Open Innovation Summit in Pittsburgh this summer and speak at the INPEX 2002 Open Innovation Conference in June.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Razi Imam, Anupam Singh, 113 Industries

Pittsburgh entreprenuers jump in the Shark Tank at the 3 Rivers Venture Fair

Fourteen of the region’s smartest early-stage tech startups jumped into the 3 Rivers Venture Fair Shark Tank last week to compete for venture capital prizes.
 
Mark Cuban couldn’t make it, but a panel of experts was on hand firing the tough questions: Frank Demmler of Innovation Works, Will Indest of Draper Triangle Ventures and Chris Skarlin of Edison Ventures.
 
All of them were products of years of academic research from  University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. In the end, the audience cast the winning votes. 
 
First prize went to Qeexo, a CMU spinout, for a smartphone that is revolutionizing cellphone touch. Chris Harrison, an MIT Review Top 35 Innovator last year, is the force behind the tech. You might recall him dialing calls on his forearm and tabletops several years back.
 
Qeexo distinguishes between fingers and knuckles with 99% accuracy. A knuckle swipe, for example, executes one command, like a right mouse click. The company is in talks with several major manufacturers and is based in San Jose, Calif., with an R&D office at CMU.   
 
LightSIDE was second, a software platform that is ushering in the age of written papers graded by robots. The software uses machine learning to assess student essays. In addition to giving students instant feedback on their papers based on key concepts, LightSIDE hopes to lighten the load on teachers bogged down by traditional grading methods.
 
CE Agent, third place, developed at University of Pittsburgh, helps licensed professionals to track their continuing education credits.
 
Two other audience favorites deserve mention. The first is Topical Drug Delivery Therapy for Skin Cancer, a long-winded name for a band-aid to treat non-melanoma skin cancers. The tech was developed by a scientific team at the University of Pittsburgh.
 
And finally SolePower, an energy-harvesting startup with a shoe insert that recharges your phone (or other portable electronics) when you’re in the middle-of-nowhere.    
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: 3 Rivers Venture Fair
 

Active online? Check out your Social Fingerprint

What is the Internet saying about you?
 
An accurate social media profile is critical in today’s job market. But how to manage the wild west of online content and ensure that the information out there is accurate?
 
Social Media Information (SMI) is rising to the challenge, an information solutions company working out of the Riverside Innovation Center. SMI rolled out Social Fingerprint in 2012, a simple online tool that gives anyone a read on potentially incriminating and embarrassing online posts.
 
SMI has more recently released two business to business products: EPLOY, a pre-employment screening tool to help companies find and retain the best employees; and EGLE, software for legal professionals and insurance analysts to investigate suspicious claims, criminal histories and reduces fraudulent insurance claims.   
 
A premium product to help people with profile or reputation management may be next, says Chris Gormley, CEO, formerly of Pittsburgh companies FreeMarkets, Tiversa and Omnyx.
 
“People should have the ability to monitor their own reputation,” he says. “We think there’s a big market for this.”
 
Gormley recently addressed college students at Pitt, prolific users of social media who might want to think twice about what they post on Facebook. Thirty-seven percent of employers today are using social media to research job candidates, he says. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular, used 65% of the time.
 
Industries that use social media the most when hiring are IT (52%) and Healthcare (28%). Of the remaining companies, 11% say they plan to start using it soon, he says.
 
So before that happens, one might want to try Social Fingerprint.
 
As a frequent user of social media and an online writer, I signed up, offered a few details and began receiving daily lists of potentially damaging information on myself.
 
Several problems popped up, all of which were false positive, fortunately. Here’s what Social Fingerprint had to say:
 
My name was closely linked with the words guns, riot, police and charges. Turns out it was a Pop City story, written by me, on “Behind the Scenes at the G-20.”
 
My name was found with the words roasted, served and hash. Another Pop City story about readers’ favorite dishes in Pittsburgh.
 
There was a mugshot that wasn’t me, whew, but one Debra Jeanne Smith who was charged with second degree murder for stabbing her boyfriend in Florida.
 
Most interesting was a site called Instant People Finder, which knew all my names, before and after marriage, and listed every place I’ve ever lived, all five, and my correct age.
 
Okay, I’m sleeping at night for now.
 
“You have to know what’s out there,” says Gormley. “You want to control your own online brand and know how to manage that. “
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Chris Gormley, SMI

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Bombardier, Luma Institute and the Mayor's office...

Each week Pop City reports on the latest company and hiring news.
 
Global transportation company Bombardier is posting eight jobs and two internships at its West Mifflin operation. The positions range from an assortment of engineering jobs to project management. The firm is also looking for project management intern and software engineering intern.
 
Luma Institute is hiring a senior program director, a position that seeks world-class designers, innovators and teachers to run Luma programs around the world. The ideal candidate should have at least seven years experience as a design or innovation professional.

Flying Cork Media, a strategic marketing communications firm, is seeking a full-time creative writer. This position will assist in all client campaign writing, ensuring all initiatives are strategically and creatively aligned to clients’ needs, while being delivered on time and on budget. 

The Pittsburgh’s Mayors Office of Service and Civic Engagement is hiring for four Americorps Vista positions in July. All positions will involve the development, expansion, and streamlining of various servePGH programs.
 
PULSE, the Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Experience, seeks a part-time, high energy person to coordinate the office and help the small non-profit as it grows.  PULSE cultivates a community of young servant leaders who are working to transform Pittsburgh.
 
Metro Family Practice is looking for a triage nurse for its family practice located in Wilkinsburg. The ideal candidate should be flexible and able to work both evenings and weekends.
 
Carnegie Mellon University seeks a senior writer/editor for national media outreach. As part of the public relations team, this position contributes to strategic public relations and internal communications in support of CMU’s Software Engineering Institute.
 
WPXI-TV and Cox Enterprises is looking for an experienced hard news reporter with energy, the skills and a passion for breaking news. Multiple talents are required and being a star on social media is a must.

Have hiring news? Email Pop City and include the link to the job on your company website.

Writer: Deb Smit

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
 
 
 

Haunting documentary-style video game Atomic Zone recalls the bombing of Hiroshima

The first atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.
 
Inspired by survivor testimonials and actual photography of the bomb site, CMU Entertainment Technology Center grad students have created an interactive documentary video that recreates the explosion site and depicts the deadly aftermath that killed more than 100,000 people.  
 
Atomic Zone might be the first post nuclear Hiroshima educational tool on the effects of nuclear weaponry, says Rodrigo Cano, one of six students who worked on the project as part of a class with Professor Scott Steven last fall. The other students are Nick, Noreen, Anabelle, Eric, Jason.

The video game was created for the Dept. of Defense to prepare military personnel for the realities of radiation during the aftermath of a nuclear war. It was funded by the Army’s Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC).

Atomic Zone is a 3-D simulation of both the natural and human destruction that occurs after a nuclear blast. Visitors walk through the blast zones and listen to stories told through photographs and haunting music of how so named “Little Boy” nuclear bomb wiped out the inhabitants of the city.  
 
The animation is graphic; the students rendered the landscape using historical materials and maps to tell the story authentically. It is not recommended for anyone under a high school age.
 
“This is something that people are slowly forgetting about,” explains Cano. “Especially the younger generation. Maybe this will help them to remember.
 
“Most of the feedback has been positive,” he adds. “Many people were surprised by the imagery we used. Some were surprised by the different effects of fallout.. We tried very hard to stay a political of the issue.”
 
Many ETC class projects have gone on to become game simulations, such as PeaceMaker, a simulation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Rodrigo Cano, Atomic Bomb
 

Coming up: Startup Weekend Pittsburgh and two shale and energy forums

Several events are coming up, whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to start a business or interested in the region’s future in energy, especially as it pertains to gas drilling.
 
Startup Weekend will be held from April 5 to 7, two days that offer a rich opportunity to join passionate entrepreneurs from the region (and around the world) who are learning to launch successful ventures.

This is the third Startup Weekend in Pittsburgh, a packed schedule that culminates in a lively competition. Everyone is invited to pitch a startup idea and receive feedback. Teams form around the top ideas as determined by popular vote.

A 54-hour creative fest of designing, coding and market validation ensues. The weekend finishes off with presentations before a panel of entrepreneurial leaders. This year’s panel includes: John Biggs, east coast editor of TechCrunch and a CMU alum; Don Morrison of BlueTree Allied Angels, Rich Lunak of Innovation Works and Matt Newton of TriStar Investors.

In energy-related events, a free forum “Presenting the Case for Crafting a Regional Energy Strategy and Plan” will be held on April 9th at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Room 407, from 3:15 - 4:45 p.m.

The forum, hosted by Sustainable Pittsburgh Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management, offers an opportunity to hear the latest on the region’s energy strategy.

Panelists include Robert Vagt, president of The Heinz Endowments and Greg Babe, CEO of Orbital Engineering. The event is free; registration is NOT necessary.

Carnegie Mellon University will host a symposium about shale gas and its implications for regional manufacturing from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April 4, at the McConomy Auditorium at CMU's University Center on Forbes Avenue.
 
The symposium will feature panel discussions about the challenges and opportunities shale gas poses for industrial development and about the use of natural gas as fuel.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

The latest made-in-Pittsburgh apps cover everything from fertility to swapping clothes

 
While apps may be so yesterday, they just keep coming. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest ones rolling out of Pittsburgh.
 
In a unique spin on tracking a woman’s fertility, local software company TRA Partners has released an app to help men stay abreast of their partner’s ability to conceive. Called Rhythm Daddy, it allows guys to follow their partner's monthly cycle, sending them funny updates through texts or alerts, whether a couple hopes to get pregnant or wants to “dodge the bullet.”
 
Share Closet is an idea in development by two Pittsburgh women. The app, to launch later this year, will allow friends to share and swap clothes with one another or sell items they no longer need.
 
Can you say goodbye, parking tickets? ParkIt Pittsburgh came out of Steel City Codefest as a parking app that connects users with the city’s new metered parking system, a handy tool if you’re down the street and need to give yourself more time. Pay for parking anywhere in the city using your phone, see your remaining time allowance and receive notifications when you’re running low.
 
This one was created out of sheer laziness: Flippoo allows user to flip unwanted tasks to anyone who is looking for a little extra money. Pitt marketing student Alec Davis created the app as a way to make campus living easier. Need someone to grab a library book for you and drop it off? Flippoo it.

From the team that brought us HitchedPic, the app for those heading toward matrimonial bliss, comes a new release called Baby Patches, to capture and share all the beautiful moments with your baby. 

Clique Vodka has launched a new DrinkyPal app. As with their previous app, users who are enjoying a night on the town can access a list of the nearest taxi companies and hotels, a safer alternative to drinking and driving. Now you can also book a hotel room directly from your phone and call the taxi company directly.
 
Here’s one for the busiest of professionals who needs to prioritize who can and cannot reach them. Selective Disturbance comes to us from 4C Design Works in Pittsburgh. Touted as a “business productivity app,” it integrates with iPhones' Do Not Disturb feature and allows users to pick who can and can’t get through while blocking the rest of the noise. It also syncs with Microsoft Exchange contacts.

And finally, Pittsburgh's own weather app, Swackett, turned two with the release of an iPad app featuring models wearing American Eagle outfits.

Now, can we do something about this weather?

Writer: Deb Smit




Looking for a more meaningful job? ReWork takes on the purpose-driven career search

Landing a good job is one thing. But finding a career that is both meaningful and purpose-driven is another challenge altogether. 
 
ReWork is a Pittsburgh recruiting agency for the new economy, bringing talented people together with companies that offer rewarding careers, whether it means working for a social enterprise, a nonprofit or a company with the right mix of opportunities.
 
Take Katherine Camp, a Pittsburgh graduate with a master’s degree in international sustainable development. ReWork helped her realize her dream to work abroad by locating a position with a dairy company in India, explains Abe Taleb, ReWork founder.
 
ReWork evolved out of The Unreasonable Institute in Boulder, Colo, he explains. The program convinced him of the value in pivoting his former company, TerraShift, into a talent recruiting agency for social enterprise. 
 
“Most of the people we work with are not active job seekers,” he says. “Many (already) work full-time but want more meaningful opportunities. They want to utilize their skills and give their career a better focus.” 
 
Through an online service, ReWork matches talented individuals from all over the U.S. with national and international organizations committed to making the world a better place. The firm, which launched a year ago, employs 6 full-time people.
 
Rework is planning a series of forums to introduce entreprenuers and talented professionals to companies who are making a difference. The next Scrimmage in the Rust Belt, a day-long event, will be held on April 6th at Thrill Mill, 6024 Broad St., East Liberty from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.   

The mentors will include Donna Myers of TowerCare Technology, Mike Woycheck of AlphaLab and John Cilli of BHiveLab (part of Brunner Works). The cost is $50 to attend and includes breakfast and lunch.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Abe Taleb, ReWork
 

Announcing Pittsburgh DataWorks: Establishing the region as a big hub for Big Data

A new consortium of companies in Pittsburgh are joining forces to establish the region as a major hub for "big data" with the official launch of Pittsburgh DataWorks this week.
 
In stealth mode since last fall, DataWorks surfaced two weeks ago at the MIT Forum held at IBM in Squirrel Hill. IBM initiated the idea and is joined by five founding members: Carnegie Mellon University, Google, Management Science Associates, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Medical Center.
 
A long list of private companies and economic development organizations are on board as well.
 
Pittsburgh companies and universities are already working and established in this space, explains Bob Monroe, associate professor at the Tepper School of Business at CMU and member of the DataWorks advisory board.
 
This is the logical next step, bringing everyone together and unifying the effort to establish southwestern Pennsylvania as a leading region for this industry. By 2014, big data will gain an $81 billion foothold in the market and create 1.9 million jobs in the U.S.
 
“The opportunities are huge,” says Monroe. "As a region, we have many of the assets that will help us to become a capital for big data.”
 
DataWorks will share space in the business incubator Rev Oakland. In addition to promoting the region as a leading destination for big data education, the initiative will develop research, entrepreneurial and regional economic development opportunities.
 
The coming out party will be held Thursday, March 21, at the University Club on Pitt’s campus from 6 to 8 p.m.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Bob Monroe, Saman Haqqi, Pittsburgh DataWorks

Wombat Security offers tips to keep your online business safe from the darker cyber forces

Hackers say they can teach a monkey to hack a computer in a few hours, which is disturbing news to anyone who makes a living online.
 
Having recently suffered two cyber attacks—an email and Twitter account—I sought advice from a cyber savvy friend at Wombat Security Technologies in Oakland, a CMU spinoff and expert in the area of cyber security training and filtering solutions for businesses and employees.
 
Phishing attacks rose a whopping 59 percent in 2012 from the previous year, says Amy Baker, marketing director. Phishing is the fraudulent act of sending emails that pretend to be from a legitimate company or person but are actually breaking into and confiscating your personal information.
 
“It’s just one of many problems,” she says.
 
Wombat Securities shared a few key tips on the top ways to safeguard your online business culled from their vast training library.  
 
Browsing
Just because you Google for something doesn’t mean you will land on a legitimate website. Check urls and learn domain names. There are many dangerous websites in cyberland. CNN.net, for example, is not the same as CNN.com.
 
Don’t allow your browser to remember your passwords; they can be retrieved by other people. And don’t save credit card information on websites.
 
 
Email
Be alert for emails that address current events or the scandal of the moment. Many contain links that lead to websites with malware.
 
Don’t assume your friends or colleagues are sending you safe links or attachments. If you receive a suspect link from a friend or colleague, delete it immediately. If your email is infected, change your password right away. You might need to shut the account down and create a new one.
 
Passwords
This is an important topic, Baker says. If you think you have a great password, think again. Lists are circulating in cyberspace with the top passwords of all time and yours could be on it, especially if it contains the word “monkey,” the numbers 123456 or the letters qwerty.
 
Vary your passwords across sites. Create online banking and purchasing passwords that are different from general website passwords. Strong passwords are key: the strongest ones contain at least eight letters and include uppercase letters, symbols and numbers.
 
The hardest passwords to crack are password families and ones that string multiple words together, like redcar and bluecar or mojomama and mojopapa with a few numbers and symbols tossed in.
 
Social Media
Cyber criminals are having a heyday with your social contacts. Everything you post on social media, no matter what your privacy option, is in the public domain. People have lost their jobs from a tasteless or thoughtless post, says Baker. Set boundaries on your online persona.
 
Wombat’s co-founder Lorrie Cranor recently published a “Guide to Facebook’s Privacy Options” in the Wall Street Journal, a great read for anyone wishing to stay abreast of this fast-moving area of social media.
 
Don’t share information that sets you up for identity theft: your birthday and year, place of birth, address.
 
Text Messaging
Beware of sms-phishing: fake text messages that look like they’re from your bank or a company but are really just trying to harvest your passwords when you follow the link and login.
 
Make sure the apps you download are legitimate. Check reviews for malware ratings. Amazon and Apple apps are generally safer than apps from noname stores.
 
Beware of free WiFi
When you use a public WiFi network that’s unprotected, anyone can eavesdrop on your conversations. Look for password protected sites. If you must use an unprotected network, only visit websites you know are secure and don’t enter sensitive information like passwords.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Amy Baker, Wombat Security Technologies

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

The Hardware Store, Mt. Washington's new tech and video accelerator

Announcing the newest accelerator for entrepreneurs, The Hardware Store, opening in Mt. Washington in a formerly boarded up —what else—hardware store.
 
Unlike the other accelerators opening up around the city, this one is tailored specifically for media freelancers. It offers a space close to the city and is equipped with video-making technology, explains Jason Kambitsis, executive director of the Mt. Washington Community Developing Corp. (MWCDC).
 
The Hardware Store, located on Warrington Avenue, has 25 desks and a 20-foot green screen. The Mt. Washington Community Development Corp. will facilitate the space and Pittsburgh startup @crowdasaurus will be the first tenant and will manage the day-to-day operation.
 
The developer, RE360, is providing the space and making the necessary updates to the property.
 
“All these startups need good media and media content to sell their brand,” says Kambitsis. “We think if we smoosh everyone together we can not only save them money but (help them to) generate good media content. We’re making it work because, at the end of the day, getting a business open there will be extremely beneficial for the neighborhood."
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Jason Kambitsis, MWCDC

CWE's MyBoard, helping women entrepreneurs to grow their companies to $1 million and beyond

While many women in business today are successful, they often struggle when it comes to growing their businesses to greater profitability. 
 
A new program at Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship (CWE) hopes to change that. CWE MyBoard is helping women entrepreneurs to not only succeed in the startup of their business but to sustain and grow it, which is often the hardest part.
 
Statistics show that while 50% of privately held companies in the U.S. are owned by women, only three-fourths of those women grow beyond $50,000 in gross revenues. MyBoard strives to make a difference by helping women gain the confidence they need to take on greater risk, hire more personnel and raise the necessary financing to push their businesses toward the $1 million mark, says Rebecca Harris, director of CWE.
 
MyBoard, an extension of the programming already offered by CWE, has paired 10 mentees with successful professionals who are serving as mentors, both women and men. The virtual platform offers the flexibility to meet at convenient times for everyone.  
 
“Being an entrepreneur myself, I wanted to make sure I had the time (to be a mentor),” says Gloria Blint, president and CEO of Redhouse Communication. “It’s a very cool way of maximizing people’s time. When professionals get involved, you want to be both effective and productive.”
 
Beth Slagle, an attorney with Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, serves as a mentor to Chef Kate Romane’s of the popular Highland Park restaurant E2. The program is helping Romane tackle the many business issues involved that will elevate her business to the next level, Slagle says.
 
The program is assisted through funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation with additional support from both the Alcoa Foundation and Bridgeway Capital.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

Image: MyBoard mentors and CWE Staff members meeting with mentee Kate Romane of E2 restaurant.
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