In Episode 26 of StartUp Burgh I talk with Kevin Dowling, CEO of Kaarta a real-time localization and mapping technology. Their incredible technology translates the real world into detailed 3D digital models with a wide variety of applications. Kevin has been a Pittsburgh technology and robotics advocate for decades as a staff member in the early days of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, and in forming the Field Robotics Center at CMU with colleagues.
In Episode 25 of the StartUp Burgh podcast, I sit down with Elijah Wiegmann of Spruce, a pet products company launching this year with an innovative pet bed. Elijah is a local product designer who has been around the startup scene in Pittsburgh for the better part of the last decade. He forged out on his own and runs a design studio helping clients bring their product ideas to life.
It wasn't long, though, before Elijah and his co-founders had an idea of their own that they wanted to pour their time and energy into. Thus, Spruce was born. A true passion project, Spruce's flagship product is the Spruce Pet Bed that has turned heads (and tails!) wherever it goes.
Have a listen as Elijah and I talk Pittsburgh, product design, and pups!
Pittsburgh is home to many non-profits serving communities local, national and world-wide. Justin Forzano is here today talking about the organization he founded, Cameroon FDP, which is making an important local and national impact half-way across the globe in the country of Cameroon. And the best part? He's doing it through developing safe, secure and consistent programs for football (soccer) in a country with a rich football legacy. Have a listen to Justin's story, and if you connect with it, feel free to reach out to Justin on ways to help. I personally can't wait to see where he takes his organization moving forward as he thinks about how to expand it's footprint!
In Episode 23 of StartUp Burgh I talk with Courtney Powell. Courtney is the owner and operator of Kinsman Shop, a curated menswear retail shop in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Kinsman is less than a year old, but it serves as a canvas for Courtney as she builds a brand and starts her entrepreneurial journey. Have a listen to Courtney's story - we talk at length about how she got to the point in time where she knew she wanted to open her own shop, and her journey is really very interesting. I think that it could serve to help many of you out there who might now know what kind of journey they want to take.
In this special episode number 22, I talk with Jordan Robarge who founded Revival Chili. Many people around Pittsburgh have already tasted Jordan's chili, and now he's looking for support from this community to take his business to the next level with a mobile food trailer. I talk with Jordan about starting his business, and also speak with one of his early employees Jacob. Revival Chili has a social mission to provide opportunities of employment to previously incarcerated individuals, and our conversations lead me to talk with Michael Van Ness from the Pittsburgh organization facilitating this aspect: Zero Six Eight. I also get a chance to talk with Christian Ference (CEO/co-founder) of Cropolis, which is building technology infrastructure that helps food business do business. It's an action packed episode, I can't wait for you to hear it!
In this episode, we hear from serial entrepreneur Pallavi Golla. Pallavi is launching a new business that makes natural-wicking active-wear (very topical) for an under-served consumer segment: babies.
Just as many other great companies are started, Pallavi identified a problem she was experiencing. After having her son Vyan, they would spend a lot of times outdoors together. Although Pallavi could stay dry and comfortable in her athletic gear, Vyan became damp in his normal cotton baby clothing. That's no way to live! So she went to work and sourced a natural-wicking (via fiber, not chemicals) material that could be put to the test.
She has a product, several awesome designs, and is ready to go to market. Hear her story!
In Episode 20 of StartUp Burgh, I sit down with Sophia Berman co-founder of Trusst Lingerie, where every bra is designed and engineered by a team of women. Their proprietary technology obviates the underwire for a significantly under-served audience.
After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, Trusst has been growing through the strength of their product and support of their customers. Check out their Instagram feed for a taste of the excitement from the women who benefit from Trusst's work.
In Episode 19 of StartUp Burgh, I talk with Mike Neilson who has been on a mission to bring simple, smart solutions to make home life easier. This isn't a wifi connected auto-widget, it's elegant and effective. Take a switched outlet in your home and make it soar!
Switcheroo is currently funding on Kickstarter now, check it out in the link below.
Rorus Inc.: Simple Clean Water. Have a listen to Episode 18. I sit down with co-founder Cori Clinch and talk about entrepreneurship, product, bringing clean water to developing countries, community, and fixing the water-filter game at scale. They're a great group of folks building a strong, mission-driven, company. And they're making Pittsburgh proud!
In Episode 17 of Startup Burgh, Jessica Trybus talks about her company Simcoach Games, and their mission to educate workforce through games. They've had an interesting history and are creating a marketplace between jobs and job-seekers through mobile games in their Simcoach Game Arcade ecosystem. We talk shop, talk naming, and talk food. Have a listen!
Ben Butler owns a 3-year old boutique marketing agency in Pittsburgh, called Top Hat-IMC. We talk about his agency-as-a-startup as well as marketing challenges that young companies face. Ben has a clear passion for marketing, especially an integrated-marketing approach to strategy and tactics for his clients that makes this a great listen.
In Episode 15 of StartUp Burgh I sit down with Thomas Shelley who's building an "influencer marketing" market between game developers and video game streamers on Twitch.
His company is called Strix and they have a really interesting year ahead of them. I always enjoy learning about something new, and this is an industry that is so nascent that it's literally evolving as we speak.
Thomas has taken advantage of the awesome Pittsburgh opportunities available to him. Strix was a PROBE company, part of a program from Carnegie Mellon's Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Now part of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship). They are also currently with AlphaLab's nationally-ranked accelerator program in the Summer 2016 cycle.
Let's have a listen!
I'm always a huge fan of anyone trying to bring to market a physical product. Matt Verlinich is in the home-stretch of his crowdfunding campaign for his product On The Rocks, a clear ice maker.
Matt ran the Pittsburgh Tech-Shop after spending time as an engineer and scientist. He helped countless Pittsburgh-based innovators start and launch their own businesses and follow their passions. Eventually, he had to try for himself. So he's bringing On The Rocks to the world and knocking it out of the park so far! Check out the link below for a special insiders perk to his crowdfunding campaign just for our listeners.
I'm pleased to sit down with Dick Zhang, founder and CEO of Identified Technologies which developes tech around UAV (unmaned aerial vehicles) used for surveying and mapping. In particular, they are focused on the large-scale construction industry in order to provide better data for decision making. I first met Dick at a local entrepreneurship event where he talked about funding his company. I thought that this would be an interesting topic to bring to the show. So have a listen as we talk Pittsburgh, drones, funding early-stage ventures and more!
In Episode 12 of StartUp Burgh I talk with Jessica Strong, a local entrepreneur who owns and runs co-working space Whetstone Workgroup and also has a start-up (Flexible, LLC) in the current class of local incubator, Alphalab. Jess is not afraid of diving in and figuring things out! Have a listen, this is a fun one.
This is a special episode of StartUp Burgh, and an important one for both employees and employers to listen to and understand. I sit down with Brenda Dare of DARE ENTERPRISES, a local HR Solutions firm that helps companies of all sizes.
Brenda joins me on the show to talk about a new regulation coming into effect this December (2016) concerning worker classification. We're hoping to get the word spread because the switch-over is coming soon and it is important for big- and small-companies alike to have a plan for compliance.
If you have questions or would like to speak with Brenda to better understand the changes, please reach out.
EMAIL: info (at) dareent (dot) com
For more information on the changes coming into effect, check out this Department of Labor fact-sheet:
Leah Lizarondo is the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue which is a local non-profit organization that is building the Uber of non-profit food transportation. They match unused food that is still good for consumption, with those who are in need of food. Beyond proving the concept in the Pittsburgh market, 412 Food Rescue is building out an app that will help them scale the model.
THE PITTSBURGH THREE
- Favorite Pittsburgh Restaurant: Refuses to play favorites :)
- If you didn't live in Pittsburgh - where would you live? The other side of the world! Or by the ocean
- Nominate another entrepreneur in Pittsburgh: Sachal Lakhavani
Tara Hoover, owner of Tara Hoover Design, talks about her transition from corporate life to owning her own creative business. She shares her feelings on the importance of branding for start-ups and we laugh heartily about the fact that Comic Sans is still used today!
In the 8th episode of the StartUp Burgh podcast, I sit down with myself and Adam Hahn, we talk about the razor company we co-founded this year (Leaf Shave) and introduce a special StartUp Burgh series kicking off in July (behind the scenes of a Kickstarter). The normal StartUp Burgh interview episodes will continue throughout, augmented by Leaf episodes. You can follow just the Leaf episodes here!
We will be launching our Kickstarter campaign to fund the Leaf Razor in July, if you want to keep up to date on our progress, sign up at our website www.leafshave.com.
SHOW NOTE LINKS
ABOUT LEAF SHAVE MICRO-EPISODES
Starting on the day prior to the launch of our Kickstarter campaign, and on each day of the campaign, we will be recording and releasing special "micro-episodes" on StartUp Burgh that follow our progress behind the scenes as we launch the Leaf Razor on a crowdfunding platform. You'll hear the raw, unfiltered view of what it's like to Kickstart a project. We aren't sure how it's going to end, but we're really excited for you to join us!
Make sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or any podcast app you've got. Just search for "StartUp Burgh" and you'll see us :-)
I sit down at the HEBI ROBOTICS lab with two of the five co-founders, Curtis Layton and David Rollinson. We hear about HEBI spinning out of CMU, the vision they have for the place of robotics in the world and their robotics-as-legos concept. The technology they are developing is super cool, and there's a great support structure back into Carnegie Mellon (which the technology is spinning out of). This is a perfect example of why Pittsburgh is succeeding in growth of technology, and in incubating start-ups as engines of change.