Helping Hands

From the Blog

The Right Resources Are Key to Success for Startup Aimed At Helping Fragile Kids

Describing herself as an “accidental entrepreneur,” Sarah Palya had the greatest possible inspiration for starting her business: her son, Gus. And she also had abundant resources throughout the Pittsburgh region to make her vision a reality.

Palya’s business, Gus Gear, produces vests that keep central lines secure in medically fragile children to allow them to become more active and independent. She was inspired by her experiences with Gus, whose health challenges mean he requires a central line in his chest to deliver IV nutrition. The vest protects the central line so he can move more freely.

Palya hails from a teaching background and did not have formal business experience. So she drew on programs such as Chatham’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship, the Pitt Innovation Challenge, Innovation Works (AlphaLab Gear and AlphaLab Health), Allegheny Health Network (AHN), and The Richard King Mellon Foundation.

These initiatives were crucial to her success, giving her access to resources, education, connections and community that helped fill the gaps in her knowledge. Palya credits the region’s robust startup community as well as its health care systems with providing the right environment to catalyze her business.

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Forecast is Robust for Pittsburgh Region’s Autonomy Landscape

Even in the competitive autonomy landscape, the Pittsburgh region is winning recognition for its considerable advantages in building a robotics ecosystem.

Compared to other metros, the region sports the highest concentration of robots performing tasks and working alongside humans for jobs such as paving roads, making deliveries and disinfecting hospitals.

Currently, the region is home to more than 100 existing robotics companies spanning 18 industry verticals. The industry enjoys robust support from accelerators, educational institutions and industry leaders, and venture capital and private equity investment has totaled more than $3.3 billion since 2012.

Further investment is expected to drive the success in the autonomous sector and related job growth. The autonomous mobile systems market is predicted to grow globally to $1 trillion by 2026, and if Pittsburgh can capture just 1 percent of that market, it would translate to a $10 billion impact and about 5,000 jobs to the region.

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“As supply chain pressures continue to compound, our customers need a solution with the highest levels of safety and reliability to be both productive and resilient. Our outstanding team of material handling experts and roboticists developed an autonomous lift truck with intelligence that is unmatched in the market.”

Seegrid CEO Jim Rock on the company’s debut of its newest AMR, the Palion Lift
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Regional collaboration gives lift to medical startup