In the startup world, many would-be entrepreneurs believe if a fledgling company is proposing a strong enough idea, or is backed by a dynamic founder, funding is a foregone conclusion. But the reality isn’t quite that simple.
To succeed, great founders need great networks, including mentors, advisors, champions and advocates. They need an ecosystem filled with people who not only have connections, but also are willing to make introductions and act as first customers.
The Pittsburgh region’s startup ecosystem is off to a good start, having recently been ranked 23rd in Startup Genome’s global emerging startup ecosystem report. But that’s just the launching point. To climb the list, the region will need a startup community that bridges aspiring entrepreneurs with people who offer real, vetted experience. It will need leaders. And it will need a commitment to different perspectives to ensure that the community is truly inclusive.
Robotics company Seegrid, based near Pittsburgh International Airport and founded by a former professor from Carnegie Mellon University, has been ranked the top autonomous mobile robot provider in the country by an international market research authority for the supply chain automation industry.
The designation in the 2021 Mobile Robots report from Interact Analysis signals a competitive edge not just for Seegrid, but also for the Pittsburgh region. Jeff Christensen, Seegrid’s vice president of product, notes that the news drives home Pittsburgh’s identity as the capital of robotics expertise.
Seegrid, which was founded in 2003, specializes in robots that automate warehouse needs. As big box stores and online retailers soar in popularity, demand for autonomous robotics is likewise expected to increase — particularly given the pressures of supply chain interruptions, which impact fast-shipping guarantees. To compensate for the lag, those retailers are turning to tech solutions to shorten fulfillment timelines.
Because robotics companies are so complex, they take several years to mature, notes Christensen. The fact that Seegrid is beyond that point and now stands out on an international scale speaks to the strength of both the company and the larger tech industry in the Pittsburgh region, he added.