Pittsburgh is undergoing a transformation from being a largely manufacturing-based economy to a technology hub. While the phrase ‘the next Silicon Valley’ gets thrown around a lot, there is valid reason to believe that the Steel City will live up to that comparison.
In order to become a leader in the technology sector, a city’s workforce needs to be highly skilled. According to a report by CBRE, Pittsburgh’s high-tech worker pool grew by 31.4% from 2015 to 2016. This jump in talent ranks third only behind San Francisco, CA and Charlotte, NC. A large portion of the workforce can be attributed to graduates of local institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, and also workers of outdated industries being retrained at schools like Robert Morris University.
Tech giants Google, Apple, and Uber having offices in the city also fosters an environment conducive to robotics and artificial intelligence. The self-driving car was invented at Carnegie Mellon, and now the vehicles are out on the streets of Pittsburgh everyday, part of normal life. Most cities don’t have such direct access to the top technology companies and schools.
From a financial perspective, Pittsburgh is a very enticing place to live in as well. The cost of living is relatively low compared to places like New York City and San Francisco, where renting living and office spaces is notoriously expensive. Pittsburgh also offers a tax incentive to businesses since the city is a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. TIF redistributes increases in property tax income back into city investments, such as private government subsidies that drive business. Both of these aspects make Pittsburgh more suitable for startups to grow in their early stages.
Finally, venture capital firms continue to invest more and more into the city’s startup companies. According to Dow Jones VentureSource and Innovation Works, investment increased from around $350 million in 2013 to over $687 million in 2017.
Taking these factors into account, it is easy to see why the technology/startup scene in Pittsburgh is flourishing, and if it keeps growing at this rate, it may even surpass Silicon Valley in the years to come.
Follow the links below for more reasons to start a business in Pittsburgh: