Downtown, Pittsburgh (photo by Dan Lampmann)

A data-driven city

Welcoming the fifth cohort of PGH Lab

Annia Aleman
Nov 19 · 3 min read

Since 2016, PGH Lab, a city-wide startup program, gives selected startups companies access to pilot products and services within city government. Throughout the program, these startups companies test products and services in a real-world environment, gaining real-time feedback. Those participating in the program work side-by-side with city employees, gain access to data and city facilities, and find a variety of use cases to test their new, innovative solutions.

Earlier this month, Mayor William Peduto, the City of Pittsburgh Department of Innovation & Performance, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County Airport Authority announced the fifth cohort of the PGH Lab program.

Piloting new ideas within local government is win-win situation. Startups gain valuable insight on how to improve and develop key features of their solutions, and they can explore whether their solutions will achieve desired goals and outcomes. In exchange, city employees get to work side-by-side with entrepreneurs to improve city operations and address the city’s most pressing needs. The program is unique as there are only a handful of alike programs in the country where public-private partnership come together to solve complex challenges. As a result, other cities have noticed and created their own version of PGH Lab such as “Innovate Durham” in Durham, North Carolina.

In this cycle, the City of Pittsburgh and participating authorities are excited to welcome All Vision IO, Beamdata, and Bestie to PGH Lab’s 5th cohort. The three companies’ solutions focus on creating and aggregating data and providing useful visualizations tools to the users, in this case City employees, to make data-driven decisions and improve operations.

“We’re looking forward to designing a data visualization tool that supports public engagement around questions concerning equitable housing access. At beamdata, we believe making data easily accessible and transparent is key to fueling people-powered movements and bottom-up innovation.” said Bhavini Patel, CEO & co-founder of Beamdata.

About the companies

Allvision IO is a geospatial analytics company comprised of a team of LiDAR, machine learning, and photogrammetry veterans with strong ties into the world of autonomous vehicles. Allvision IO turns 3D data into digital twins of everything visible from the sidewalk, road, or rail. The company facilitates assets inventories and vegetation management, and detects infrastructure changes faster. After their data collection process, useable data is made accessible to experts and non-experts alike to work with harvested insights from any location. The company will be working with the Department of Innovation & Performance on a street lights inventory.

Beamdata is a civic tech company that operates at the intersection of social issues and data. The team works with local governments and non-profits to tackle community-level problems by building data tools that guide equitable impact and decision-making. The company will pilot a data visualization tool that improves information transparency and citizen engagement with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.

Bestie is a social recommendation platform that takes a new, profile-centric approach to sharing useful products, professionals, and places with others. The Bestie platform allows individuals to discover recommendations from friends or curate guides to share their expertise with the community. Bestie will be partnering with the Housing Authority to create guides of useful resources for residential communities.

PGH Lab brings local entrepreneurs to beta test products and services in local government for 3–4 months. Get inspired to start working on your own innovative ideas. Make sure to stay connected and ask questions about PGH Lab through our twitter!

Department of Innovation & Performance

The Department of Innovation & Performance is building a 21st-century government for the City of Pittsburgh and its residents.

Annia Aleman

Written by

Nicaraguan-American. Innovation Director @Ascenderpgh , former Sr. Civic Innovation @CityPGH . @pittsburgh_cm enthusiast.

Department of Innovation & Performance

The Department of Innovation & Performance is building a 21st-century government for the City of Pittsburgh and its residents.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade