PGH LAB is Back!

The City of Pittsburgh and local authorities welcomes its biggest cohort

Annia Aleman
Department of Innovation & Performance
4 min readFeb 13, 2018


In a recent State of Pittsburgh 2018 medium post, Jim Jen, founder of Alpha Lab, provided a positive outlook of Pittsburgh’s tech scene for the upcoming year and highlighted the capital and resources that make this city a hub for technology and innovation. Frankly, we couldn’t agree more.

To continue innovating within our city, the City of Pittsburgh and local authorities will be starting the year strong by welcoming a new cohort of PGH Lab startups. For this third cohort, we sought a number of diverse startup applicants proposing unique solutions to tackle challenges in four different focus areas: City Operations, Citizen Engagement, Climate Change & the Environment, and other categories. Applicants included startups that have gone through local and nationally-ranked accelerators and incubators such as the Y Combinator, Alpha Lab and Alpha Lab Gear, Ascender, and incubators provided by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

Starting from now through the end of May, startups will be busy working on their pilot projects and using local government as their urban lab. They will be gaining real-time market feedback, iterating on their products and services, and learning how to work with local government. The cycle will conclude with a company community showcase at the end of May. Participating startups will also receive guidance from a City Champion as well as access to the City’s facilities, network, and coworking spaces.

It is with great excitement and honor that we welcome the third cohort of PGH Lab startups!

Cropolis and City Planning, City of Pittsburgh

Cropolis solves some of the biggest challenges faced by small and medium-sized farms by automating the best practices in farm marketing, sales, and administration. The company increases the availability, accessibility, and ease of purchase for healthy, local foods. Cropolis will be matched with the Department of City Planning, City of Pittsburgh.

Global Wordsmiths and the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh

Global Wordsmiths is a social enterprise that provides language translation, interpretation, training, and consulting services. Global Wordsmiths will pilot its full-stack language access planning service with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.

Lean FM Technologies and Office of Management and Budget, City of Pittsburgh

LeanFM Technologies helps facility managers make data-driven decisions by using patented data integration technologies and artificial intelligence to consolidate work and cost information of buildings. LeanFM helps increase situation awareness, save time, reduce waste, and transition to an efficient and proactive mode of operations. LeanFM Technologies will be testing their building facility management software solution with the Office of Management and Budget.

Meta Mesh and the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh

Meta Mesh Wireless Communities is a non-profit organization that bridges the Digital Divide in Western Pennsylvania by using mesh networking technology to provide communities with a low-cost public WiFi option. Meta Mesh builds these networks and teaches others about networking and WiFi. The company will be matched with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh in order to test their wireless connectivity and expansion mesh networks.

NetBeez and Department of Innovation and Performance, City of Pittsburgh

NetBeez is a Pittsburgh-based network performance monitoring company that provides proactive network monitoring from the end-user’s perspective. NetBeez’s hardware and software sensors enable proactive identification of the most complex network issues by revealing the issue before it impacts users. The startup will be working with the Department of Innovation & Performance to test their network sensors and deliver recommendations in multiple city-owned facilities.

Qlicket and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh

Qlicket is an office communication solution that offers organizations a simple, natural way to solicit feedback. Qlicket’s software drives engagement and helps companies address workplace issues more effectively by providing the most direct and scalable way to hear and respond to the voice of their employees. The company will be testing its new internal communications tool with the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Human Resources Department.

Steel City Soils and the Office of Environmental Services, City of Pittsburgh

Steel City Soils is a cooperatively-managed group that works together to recycle food and yard waste. The group focuses on making the highest-quality end product possible for urban food growing. Steel City Soils will be matched with the Office of Environmental Services and the Forestry Division of the City of Pittsburgh.

Zensors and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority

Zensors uses artificial intelligence software to provide human-centered and actionable sensor output with minimal hardware installation, allowing the user to make data-driven decisions. The company will be testing its smart camera software system with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.

Stay tuned with company updates and progress on their pilot projects with our upcoming blog posts!

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!



Annia Aleman
Department of Innovation & Performance

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