Have You Met…Robert Young, Business Development Relationship Manager

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I was born in Columbia, Missouri and moved to Indiana, Pennsylvania when I was three. Most would say living 45 min east of Pittsburgh wouldn’t count as being a “Pittsburgher,” but after my decades here I’ve claimed the city and feel that the city has welcomed me as one of its own.

Q: How did you hear about Innovation Works?

A: I’ve always been familiar with Innovation Works from the various programs that nurture entrepreneurs to turn ideas into companies. Their work has always excited me over the years.

Q: What drew you to work here?

A: The opportunity to connect with founders, entrepreneurs and companies to not only turn their ideas into companies but to have the opportunity to make our region a center for innovative startups and tech investors around the county.

Q: Let’s say I’m an entrepreneur in Southwestern Pennsylvania, what can I ask for your help on?

A: My aim is to help companies develop the right strategies to align with their current stage and funding market conditions; finding ways to leverage IW networks to foster valuable relationships with fellow customers, mentors, investors, community partners and fellow entrepreneurs.

Q: Reflecting on your experience in relationship building and business development, what is the number one piece of advice you would give a startup?

A: Find opportunities to give more to your network than you may ask.

Q: What technology/industry are you most excited about and why?

A: I’m most interested in the strides being made by hardware and software and companies in the southwestern Pennsylvania (SW PA) region. With the wealth of talent at all stages, I think it has the potential to make SW PA the best place in the world to start a hardware company.

Q: Step back to Robert at age 18, what line of work had you envisioned for yourself? How closely aligned is your current work to that vision?

A: Robert at 18 wanted to find ways to give back to others around him with the intention of facilitating their personal development and/ or professional aspirations. In my current position, I’ve been able to maintain that direction by helping to leverage all IW resources in support of all entrepreneurs in SW PA.

Q: What issues that face our region are you most passionate about?

A: DE&I is a critical issue for our region at all levels. I feel that as we all come together at the table, transformative things will happen in our region.

Q: Tell us about your volunteer work.

A: My passion and commitment to Pittsburgh is expressed through my work and life. My drive is to serve, guide and challenge the individual organizations and colleagues who I’m fortunate to work with as a dedicated volunteer and board member to Holy Family Institute, Family Resources Among many others.

Q: What does an average Saturday look like for you?

A: On the golf course with friends and colleagues enjoying my favorite hobby and sport.

Q: When asked for a ‘fun fact’ about yourself, what’s your go-to?

A: I spent the early years of my life living in Spanish speaking countries around the world.

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Innovation Works

Innovation Works is one of the nation’s most active seed funds. AlphaLab (AL), ALGear, and ALHealth are nationally ranked startup accelerator programs of IW.