City announces sixth PGH Lab Cohort
January 12, 2021
PGH Lab connects local startup companies with the City of Pittsburgh and local government agencies to explore new ways to use technology and innovative solutions to help improve city operations and the lives of residents. The program provides an opportunity for local startups to test their beta-stage products and services in a real-world environment for up to six months with a city department or partner agency, called their "City Champion," using Pittsburgh as an urban lab.
Since 2016, the City of Pittsburgh and partnering agencies have successfully completed five cycles engaging 24 local startups, putting forth a variety of innovative pilot projects ranging from waste management to immigrant inclusion initiatives.
This year, PGH Lab has shifted to focus on tech solutions through an equity lens, to intentionally provide opportunities for startups that are owned and operated by communities typically underrepresented in tech. Two citywide tech issues were highlighted during the application process for startups to provide possible solutions to.
First, to address the city's sidewalk and ADA ramp inventory to better serve resident accessibility needs, and second, to provide possible solutions to the city's paper and pencil intake forms. Additionally, startups were encouraged to provide solutions for the following categories of: resident engagement, improving city operations (data solutions or smart cities,) and climate change and the environment.
• pathVu records and collects sidewalk and curb ramp data using light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and other technical methods.
• Sustainible is an input/output (IO) powered Venture Feasibility Engine that evaluates business models to determine the model's feasibility and sustainability.
• AdSkate helps partnering organizations reach the right audience by providing media support.
• Beamdata offers a free civic engagement app (iOS and web platform) called "Be the Change," that connects you to your elected officials and local advocacy.
• Civic Champs pilots a mobile app "Helping Hands" that allows individuals and organizations in need of volunteer assistance to be matched with readily available volunteers.
• Footbridge for Families fills in the gap for families facing short-term financial crises so they don't require more costly solutions or threaten to overwhelm caregivers.
• The Center for Empathy Education provides primarily two services: professional development training and company culture strategizing.
• Jireh Mobile offers a communication platform that allow residents to communicate in real time with city and county entities.
These startup companies will be paired with City Champions throughout city departments and/or partner agencies like the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Allegheny County Airport Authority, Allegheny County Economic Development, Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh Sewer and Water Authority, and Allegheny County Port Authority.
For more news and updates to come visit the PGH Lab website, follow PGH Lab on Twitter at @PghIP or follow the Innovation & Performance Medium.