Pittsburgh’s region startup ecosystem: Robotics capital of the world

Over the years, Pittsburgh’s region has made a name for itself as a booming tech hub. Home to Carnegie Mellon University, the birthplace of Artificial Intelligence, Pittsburgh is seeing the implementation of AI transcend the field of tech, and especially robotics, in new and exciting ways. 

To facilitate access and bring more transparency to the region’s tech ecosystem, InnovatePGH, a public-private partnership built to accelerate Pittsburgh’s status as a global innovation city, introduces ASTRI: Access to Startups, Tech, Research, and Investment. In this framework, Pittsburgh’s region launches its new startup database, initiated by InnovatePGH and powered by Dealroom. 


Explore the Pittsburgh startup ecosystem


Portrait of Pittsburgh’s region startup ecosystem

There are currently over 500 startups and scaleups born or HQ in Pittsburgh. Innovative companies in the city founded after 2000 are now worth a combined $35.6B. In 2021, startups and scaleups in Pittsburgh’s region raised $307M, mainly in the industries of transportation, robotics, and health. 

Screenshot Dealroom app chart
Comparison per sector of the amount of VC investment between 2017 and 2021

These startups grow shoulder to shoulder with giants like Duolingo, the language learning app that IPO’d in 2021 at $6.5billion, and Aurora Innovation, the $11billion autonomous vehicle startup that acquired Uber’s self-driving unit Uber ATG.


Robotics companies powering the future


Corporate innovation and R&D meet in Pittsburgh. With 20+ robotics research centers to commercialize advanced technologies, the ecosystem positions its self as the robotics capital of  world. Tech giants like Facebook Reality Labs, Amazon Alexa, and Google Cloud all choose Pittsburgh to tackle some of their most challenging projects. 


Organizations like the Pittsburgh Robotics Network (PRN), the region’s premier robotics cluster oganization, actively contribute to the local ecosystem’s growth. So much so that, robotics took the lead in the local investment scene in 2020 accounting for over half of all investments. 


Explore all the companies members of PRN


More specifically, Pittsburgh is a global hub for self-driving technology. Companies leading the industry for self driving cars and technology like Aurora, Argo AI, Motional and Waymo chose Pittsburgh as the one place to put down their roots.


Growing a startup ecosystem with a focus on inclusion and transparency


Pittsburgh is a city that knows that diversity and inclusion are strengths in a tech ecosystem. Numerous local organizations work to widen the tech talent pool and ensure more women and people of color can start a career in tech. 

Their initiatives shine through the city’s startups, like Marinus Analytics, AI XPrize finalist and women-founded startup.  Marinus Analytics, is an artificial intelligence company focused on protecting the vulnerable and ending human trafficking, child abuse, and cyber fraud. The internationally recognised startup paves the way to more female-founded startups in Pittsburgh region

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A landscape of female-founded startups in Pittsburgh’s region cataloged by industry

The new database should contribute to facilitate access to the tech ecosystem for all, improve transparency and increase the visibility of all local startups both locally and globally. 

This new database not only offers the most detailed picture of the region’s tech scene up until now, but it’s also an ongoing collaborative project. Any startup, investor, or ecosystem stakeholder can add their own company and organization details and enhance their profile – providing open access to real-time data for the community. More accuracy and transparency in tech and investment industry data will not only improve local ecosystem connectivity but will also help put the region on even more the map internationally. 


Explore the Pittsburgh startup ecosystem