Carnegie Mellon University

TechCrunch City Spotlight

TechCrunch City Spotlight: Pittsburgh

Metro21 attended the TechCrunch City Spotlight on Pittsburgh on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.  The webinar featured Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and others to discuss technology and how it is shaping the future of Pittsburgh.

From Student to Startup with CMU President Farnam Jahanian

  • Quality of life across the region is extremely important and Carnegie Mellon is doing all it can to nurture collaboration by working with public, private and civic leaders
  • CMU support entrepreneurship – for example, the Swartz Center has progressive tech transfer policies and progressive policies to support faculty in taking a leave of absence
    • The Center for Business Enggagement is for companies to work with CMU
  • CMU can do a better job by always learning and build on it - want to stress the entire ecosystem - private funding, rich talent workforce (beyond engineering but in product management and marketing and biz functions) - this is where Pgh can do more - we need to recruit more exec’s and connect that to other regions in the country 
  • The days of losing startups to the coasts is over; over the 10 years we’ve seen $7B followup funding for the startups based in Pgh; Univ’s a powerful engine for fueling economic growth ; seeing a supply chain of growth that is building the health of the ecosystem 
  • Great ideas get funded - it’s an important issue but not an issue in Pgh
    • Look at Argo AI - big investments from Ford and VW ; Aurora invested by Uber - examples of massive amount of capital invested in them - so Pgh is the center of the universe for autonomy, robotics and self-driving cars
  • Manufacturing in this company is going through a renaissance; because of digitation of manufacturing and new materials , it has become an important strength of Pgh
    • Recently announced major investment at Hazelwood Green for advanced robotics manufacturing with the support of RKMellon - excited about the future of manufacturing and Pgh will play a significant role
    • Continued investment on research and development by CMU will help Pittsburgh stay at the forefront of being a clean economy
  • Over the last year CMU has been working on issues to enable  shared prosperity
    • The jobs created aren’t just PhD jobs - they are available in different levels
      • How do we upskill and reskilll people ; created the Center for Shared Prosperity with funding from Heinz Endowments to address this widening opportunity gap so all benefit from this growth in economy by addressing policy and structural barriers to this equitable growth 

Building in Pittsburgh with Mayor Bill Peduto

  • There’s an issue of retaining talent because we grow at Pitt and CMU but the students do not stay
  • From Steel City to Start Up City – What’s Missing?
    • Venture Capital
    • Second round of funding
  • We have more jobs in clean energy and more job opportunities in a wider field