Tech 50

The Pittsburgh Technology Council’s annual Tech 50 Awards recognize southwestern Pennsylvania’s most successful, innovative, and thought-leading technology companies, which have become the backbone of Pittsburgh’s innovation economy. According to the PTC’s annual State of the Industry Report, southwestern Pennsylvania’s tech industry accounts for more than 23 percent of the workforce with more than 9,900 technology establishments.

Started in 1997, the awards represent transformative technology centers of excellence with tech companies at all stages of growth. Tech 50 also recognizes the region’s top tech executives. A new Artificial Intelligence/Robotics category was added this year to more formally recognize this emerging tech cluster.

“For more than two decades, Tech 50 has been honoring the Pittsburgh region’s most dynamic companies which are solving some of the world’s toughest and most pressing challenges,” said Audrey Russo, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council. “Each year, our group of finalists continues to push the boundaries of technology and innovation. Tech 50 gives the tech ecosystem a moment to celebrate not just the companies that are putting Pittsburgh on the map, but also the tireless work of the women and men behind these
awe-inspiring companies.”

Tech 50 Innovator of the Year: Manufacturing – The Kurt J. Lesker III Award for Excellence: Watt Fuel Cell

WATT Fuel Cell is a manufacturer and developer of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) stacks and systems that operate on common, readily available fuels, such as propane and natural gas. WATT’s proprietary, patented additive manufacturing process (AMP) has allowed it to produce commercially viable SOFC products for small-scale and remote power applications. WATT’s Hybrid Power Management system works in tandem with renewable power sources (solar and wind) and energy storage to provide quiet, efficient, affordable and environmentally responsible energy solutions, prioritizing a return on investment for customers across the globe.

WATT’s Imperium SOFC system operates on readily available fuels, such as propane and natural gas, to generate electricity as needed at the point of use with little-to-zero emissions and noise. WATT’s Hybrid Power Management System manages the output from fuel and sustainable resources.

For years, traditional and renewable utility models have been working to come up with viable, sustainable solutions to decentralize the production of electric power that are cost-effective and reliable. Fuel cells have been considered an up-and-coming option, with multiple companies working to develop viable options with little success.

In 2014, WATT purchased Pittsburgh Electric Engineers because it saw synergies between the materials sets it was using and WATT’s manufacturing process. With the purchase, WATT decided to move operations and began manufacturing its breakthrough fuel cell products in western Pennsylvania. This was a natural move, as the region has been a hotbed of energy innovation for centuries — companies such as Westinghouse were founded here more than 100 years ago. WATT is already generating interest in its technology from companies around the world.

Recently, WATT entered into a joint development and commercialization agreement with a local distributed natural gas company, Peoples Gas, to develop, pilot and commercialize SOFC systems for residential gas customers. Later this year, fuel cell systems will be installed in homes in the Pittsburgh area to reliably and efficiently generate electricity on site. This will allow homeowners and businesses to develop micro-grids and virtual power plants, improve grid performance and dramatically reduce air pollutants.

At its home atop one of the world’s largest natural gas shales, the Marcellus Shale, WATT has made significant advancements the past several months as it prepares for full commercialization and manufacturing production. This summer, WATT completed a round of fundraising in support of expanding manufacturing.

By the end of the year, WATT expects to hire up to 20 additional staff members, including engineers, production line and administrative personnel. Since WATT’s move to western Pennsylvania, the company has increased staff by 500 percent. It is expanding production lines and manufacturing capacity to fulfill backlog and delivery units for pilots around the world. With this expansion, it expects to double fuel cell production. In addition, the joint agreement with Peoples Gas is expected to have a significant impact on the residential distributed natural gas market in the Pittsburgh region, resulting in cost savings for consumers.

Finalists:

Interphase Materials

Interphase Materials is a specialized engineering company that provides innovative surface treatment technologies to improve the efficiency of industrial cooling systems.

Kurt J Lesker Company

Kurt J. Lesker Company is a global manufacturer and distributor of scientific vacuum products ranging from hardware to fully integrated thin-film deposition equipment.

Tech 50 Innovator of the Year: Health IT – TeleTracking Technologies

As an innovative software company, TeleTracking believes it is unacceptable that patients are not able to access the care they need, when they need it, due to operating inefficiencies and unnecessary cost barriers. That’s why, for more than 27 years, the organization has been dedicated to helping health systems improve access to quality care – while also supporting caregivers with an outcomes-based approach of people, process and technology that gives them more time at the beside. This commitment to serving patients and caregivers supports the mission to ensure that no patient will ever have to wait for the care they need.

Today’s consumers are accustomed to the convenience of mobile transactions. Changing customer relationships and emerging technologies are starting to impact health care. With costs shifting more and more to the patient, they are making provider choices with more of a consumer mindset. In fact, patients report that ease of scheduling and on-time appointments are two of the most important factors in their overall health-care experience.

As the experts in capacity and access management, TeleTracking is responding to this trend – and supporting its mission to ensure no patient waits for the care they need – with the launch of Community Scheduling and Workflow. This cloud-based innovation benefits both patients and providers. For patients, it empowers them to see and self-schedule the ambulatory appointments that are best for them, via a health system’s website or mobile app. It also automates appointment reminders and self-registration options to help patients show up on time and be prepared. For providers, it enables faster patient processing, provides streamlined workflow tools and EMR integration to track patients, and provides analytics to quickly identify and fix problems that affect staff and patients.

TeleTracking employs hundreds of people at its Pittsburgh headquarters and also provides one of the best compensation and benefits programs in the industry. TeleTracking’s leadership believes that advancing its mission requires talented, creative, forward-thinking people, so the company is committed to recruiting and retaining those individuals by giving them opportunities to be a part of the continued economic resurgence of the area. In fact, the organization has had a 38-percent growth in headcount over the past three years.

Corporate citizenship and having a positive impact on the community is another tenant of the culture and contributes to the quality of life in southwestern Pennsylvania. A team of volunteers is dedicated to identifying charities and planning events for the TeleCares program, which includes MS Walk Pittsburgh, Imani Christian Academy, Holy Family Institute, DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses in Patient Flow, Pittsburgh Food Bank, Wood Street Commons shelter, Light of Life Mission and the Fellows values-driven leadership program. Employees can support the charities that mean the most to them through both individual employee grants and paid volunteer days.

At its core, TeleTracking has always been focused on saving lives, giving more time back to caregivers and giving patients a positive experience – by helping ensure patients have access to the level of care they need, where and when they need it.

Finalists:

Arcadia.io

Arcadia.io is a population health management company, specializing in data aggregation, analytics, and workflow software for value-based care.

Health Monitoring

Health Monitoring is the country’s largest provider of population health monitoring systems, collecting, processing, and analyzing information from 3,600 ambulatory care facilities, nearly 600 hospitals, and the National Poison Data System.

Omnicell

Omnicell is inspired to create safer and more efficient ways to manage medications and supplies across all care settings.

MedRespond

MedRespond is an online health care communications company that combines artificial intelligence, search and streaming media so that health care enterprises can provide interactive, personalized, relevant and inexpensive communication solutions for their customers, patients and clients – and health care training solutions for their personnel.

Sentact

Sentact is a leader in rounding solutions for quality, safety and patient experience in health care. 

Tech 50 Solution Provider of the Year: Consulting/Services – SDLC Partners

SDLC Partners delivers customized digital solutions to transform businesses through its uniquely enabled talent, processes and leadership.

Starting with just three co-founders, SDLC Partners has grown to nearly 500 employees, reaching 460 in 2018. This includes 138 hires in just the first half of 2018 and represents an increase of 11 percent in three years, which extends a decade’s worth of double-digit, year-to-year employee growth.

The significant job creation mirrors its revenue growth. In just the last three years, SDLC Partners has grown by more than $10 million, attaining a year-to-year growth rate of 10 percent.

In addition to investing in new employees, the company has increased its investment into the Pittsburgh downtown region with new offices in PPG One, as well as significant investments in advanced technologies.

SDLC delivers its commitment to clients through four pillars on which the organization is built: a practical approach to solving problems, challenging the way clients think, the ability to get things done and ensuring collaborative teams. Using these pillars, the company helps organizations adapt to an ever-evolving economic and regulatory environment; achieve sustainable growth through delivering innovative value; become a more systems-based, efficient and streamlined organization; and be more nimble and proactive in using technology to differentiate in the marketplace.

The company recently launched a new service, Intelligent Automation. Through Intelligent Automation, SDLC Partners helps clients leverage advanced technologies to bring unprecedented efficiency, accuracy and market differentiation. The service enables a digital workforce – attended or unattended – to support human talent who can better handle innovation and high-touch priorities.

SDLC Partners has made significant investments in innovation, not only through Intelligent Automation but also by creating its Robotic Process Automation Lab, the first in a series of new service teams focused on key technologies, like artificial intelligence, that demonstrate measurable, positive potential for organizations across industries like health care, banking, retail and pharmaceuticals.

In less than a year, SDLC Partners has already trained or hired about 40 people in the new technologies as well as launched a kick-starter campaign to help clients incorporate intelligent automation in a low-cost, low-risk way. One client is using its initial foray into RPA as an opportunity to enhance its claims billing – they process about one million claims a day – and its revenue cycle operations.

SDLC’s community investments continue to grow as its staff contingency – and the issues that they are passionate about – expands. It hosted a Hackathon in September for regional college students, and it has been a major supporter of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake event for 13 years. Its commitment to supporting STEM education, and raising up future technology professionals in the region, builds on its involvement with the Carnegie Science Center in 2017, where it helped develop and deliver its technical curriculum to area middle school students.

Finalists:

Accion Labs

Pittsburgh-headquartered global technology firm, Accion Labs specializes in helping technology firms and IT organizations implement their digital transformation initiatives using emerging technologies such as Cloud, Web, Mobile, ML/AI, data analytics, Big Data, etc.

Aspirant

www.aspirant.com

Aspirant is a global management consulting firm headquartered in Pittsburgh with European headquarters in London, UK.

CyberCrunch

CyberCrunch provides commercial electronics recycling, data destruction and sustainability consulting services.

DMLogic LLC

DMLogic LLC is a Pittsburgh-based software, systems integration and consulting firm specializing in supply chain execution and warehouse management.

IQ Inc.

IQ Inc. works with clients on end-to-end software development projects, from full stack development to systems integration and from testing to certification support.

Larson Design Group

Larson Design Group is a nationally emerging engineering, architecture and survey firm with 10 offices in four states.

Precision Business Solutions

PBS is a cybersecurity and IT management company providing fully outsourced IT department services to its small and mid-sized clients while lending consulting expertise to larger organizations with internal IT departments.

Truefit

Truefit creates new software products that people love. Our experienced cross-functional teams consist of product owners, designers, architects, engineers, and testers.

Tech 50 Innovator of the Year: Life Sciences – Philips

Philips is a global leader in health technology with nearly 40 years of leadership in sleep apnea management, medical sleep technology, oxygen therapy, noninvasive ventilation and respiratory drug delivery. Philips strives to create meaningful innovations that improve people’s lives, committed to discovering and developing novel solutions to help people sleep and breathe better. Offering localized support to customers all over the world, its sleep and respiratory team includes more than 4,500 individuals across 34 countries – more than 1,700 of whom are located right here in western Pennsylvania.

Philips has grown significantly in the past 10-15 years. With this growth, the company has created jobs in engineering, manufacturing, marketing and other functions. Additionally, Philips relocated a selection of associates this year to a nearly 14,000 square-foot space on the fourth floor of the newly developed Schenley Place in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. The agreement was made as part of a long-term strategy of co-locating associates based at various sites across Westmoreland County to create a more exciting, collaborative, agile and productive environment. The move of 125 associates helping to lead the company’s digital transformation will enable the program’s success and position the business closer to research partners and fellow innovation leaders in the community.

This growth has allowed Philips to invest back into the community with support through local education, supporting an annual, regional BioCamp, continuous employment of regional interns and a recent collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh.

Sleep is a growing concern for consumers, and they are struggling to find effective sleep solutions. Of the entire adult population, 30 percent admit to being sleep-deprived and show symptoms of insomnia. Forty-two percent snore, and 6.4 percent experience Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. Nearly 40 percent of people ages 25 to 54 get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night, which is reported to result in difficult concentration, memory and focus.

To remedy these problems, the company in January introduced SmartSleep, an overnight wearable device that’s clinically proven to increase slow wave activity and improve sleep quality for individuals who don’t get enough sleep due to the busy lifestyles they lead. Utilizing multi-sensor technology and a proprietary algorithm, SmartSleep will accurately measure a user’s sleep stages and deliver tones at precisely the right time to stimulate slow wave activity. The goal is increased slow wave amplitude/activity, yielding improved memory consolidation, executive function, and a user-reported increase in energy during the day. SmartSleep is capable of improving the quality of deep sleep, fueling the brain to do what it naturally does and enabling people to feel refreshed and rejuvenated for the day ahead.

Philips believes that its truly greatest accomplishment is the lives it touches. The company aims to improve the lives of 3 billion people by 2025, and it’s already well on its way to that goal. In 2017 alone, Philips improved the lives of 2.7 billion people worldwide with its innovative solutions, and more than 75 million of those lives were improved by the products and services created right here in western Pennsylvania.

Finalists:

Ariel Precision Medicine

Ariel is the first integrated genomic and digital health company delivering precision medicine solutions for some of the most challenging chronic gastrointestinal diseases.

ChemImage

ChemImage Corporation is committed to making the world healthier and safer through dramatic advancements in chemical imaging technologies. 

Forest Devices

Forest Devices is a medical device company based in Uptown Pittsburgh. The company created AlphaStroke, the first device for prehospital stroke detection.

Tech 50 Innovator of the year: AI/Robotics – Petuum

Petuum is a software infrastructure and ecosystem provider that enables AI for enterprises. Petuum industrializes AI, turning it from black-box artisanship into a highly structured process. The company provides a development platform and gallery of AI building blocks that allow enterprise users to easily obtain or self-service their AI needs, either starting from reference designs provided by Petuum or building new solutions from the ground up. Petuum’s development platform builds any machine-learning or deep-learning application using small or big data of any type and deploys at scale on any commodity hardware, from data centers to the Internet of Things.

Petuum’s technology has many different applications, but one that is especially illustrative is PetuumMed, a smart physician assistant that provides end-to-end AI functions needed in health care applications, augmenting clinical practice and increasing patient engagement. PetuumMed achieves superior accuracy and state-of-the-art performance measured across a comprehensive suite of benchmarks, including medical report generation, critical information extraction, disease classification, and treatment recommendation. The goal of implementing AI technology into health-care practices is not to replace physicians, but rather to reduce the time-consuming and tedious processes that take doctors away from critical work and their patients.

Petuum’s work will help enable widespread adoption of AI by enterprises in multiple industries, unlocking at scale the benefits of this technology. This will impact the global technology community, as AI is poised to be one of the most important technical developments of our generation. Petuum is positioned to be the leading AI/ML company to emerge from this new revolution driven by AI.

The company’s greatest accomplishment this past year was closing its $93-million Series B round. The capital has enabled Petuum to continue expanding its technical and business teams, as well as to further develop its product for a variety of industries, including health care and manufacturing.

On a more local level, Petuum is one of the leading technology companies in Pittsburgh, having received 30.5 percent of the city’s total venture capital investments last year. Petuum is also the first company named a Technology Pioneer by the Word Economic Forum based in Pennsylvania, joining a prestigious league that has included Google, Twitter, Dropbox, Airbnb and Palantir Technologies. As the company continues to grow, it attracts top AI talent to the Pittsburgh area and across the country, strengthening the city’s national technical reputation.

The challenge Petuum is solving is the fact that, while AI is an incredibly impactful technology, the percentage of the global workforce that has the knowledge to create and sustain AI applications is very small. This means that, currently, AI is out of reach for all but a few companies. By industrializing AI, Petuum is making it accessible to a much broader range of enterprises.

There are many fields where AI can make a positive impact, from health care to manufacturing and everything in between. Petuum is bringing these benefits to businesses through its work creating standardized building blocks for AI.

Finalists:

Adrich

Adrich collects and transmits product usage data autonomously through connected smart usage tags, so consumer brands and retailers can better understand and serve their consumers.

Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM)Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) is the nation’s only collaborative for industrial robotics and workforce innovation.

Aurora Innovation

At Aurora, their mission is to deliver the benefits of self-driving vehicles safely, quickly, and broadly by designing hardware and software that will power the next revolution in transportation.

Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova is the leading provider of real-time, on-shelf product data for the global retail industry.

Rapid Flow Technologies

Rapid Flow builds intelligent transportation technologies for smart cities.

Tech 50 Culture Leader of the Year – Net Health

Net Health is the leader in software solutions for specialized outpatient care. Its fully interoperable EMR products offer clients an end-to-end solution, including practice management tools, clinical workflow documentation, RCM, expert coaching, and analytics. It serves health care professionals in 98 percent of the largest hospital chains in the U.S., as well as private practices throughout the country – driving workflow in more than 3,000 urgent care, wound care, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, occupational medicine, employee health and workplace medicine facilities each day. Net Health is a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group and Level Equity.

Net Health, beginning as a Strip District startup more than 20 years ago, has always defined itself as a scrappy, smart, goal-oriented company. Acquisitions and growth took it beyond Pittsburgh’s borders, and the challenge became twofold: to integrate whole teams into its identity in a way that’s meaningful outside its Pittsburgh headquarters, as well as rethinking its perspective on culture to include new ideas that fit within its norms. Net Health accepted that it’s critical for “culture” to evolve. According to them, culture isn’t muscle memory; it takes work every day, and Net Health’s top executives are committed to getting it right.

Net Health aims to educate its employees about goals, progress and initiatives that play into achieving success. Its bi-annual CONNECT event is an all-company program that’s held regionally each January and in Pittsburgh each summer. January’s CONNECT, led by four top executives, is designed to impart the big business goals, review the prior year’s accomplishments, and frame out the coming year in a way that aligns the whole team.

With these broad goals announced, managers set departmental goals accordingly and work with individual team members to do the same. Net Health’s annual review process is tied to the accomplishment of these mission-based goals set by each team member – a feeder to the overarching corporate goal.

Net Health takes its cultural consistency seriously; two examples are its onboarding and leadership training. The company brought on 50 new employees in 2017. Though these new hires live and work across the country, everyone comes to Pittsburgh for New Employee Orientation, held every 5-6 weeks. During orientation, the new employees get critical HR education as well as briefs from department leaders and executive leadership. From the start, new team members are learning about corporate goals and the interrelationship between departments and meeting management team members.

Net Health also created a leadership development curriculum for all managers within the company, based on a core set of competencies identified as critical to be a successful leader at the company. Fostering a consistent approach in its leaders sets the stage for a common lexicon and playbook among all teams.

The future is always in mind at Net Health. Today’s policies and practices related to employees are centered on endurance. Continuing to refine a culture that directs the attitudes and actions of employees over the long term is a significant focus of the company and its leaders. The shared experiences thus far, and the collective learning they bring to the table today, provide a stepping stone to a stronger tomorrow.

Finalists:

Excel4apps

Excel4apps is passionate about helping organizations accelerate financial processes by empowering end users to easily and effectively manage financial data.

Plus Consulting

Plus is a national technology solutions provider, putting strategy first in our full implementation services for CRM, ERP, BI, Microsoft Cloud, Application Development and Cyber Security.

TeleTracking Technologies

As an innovative software company, TeleTracking believes it is unacceptable that patients are not able to access the care they need, when they need it, due to operating inefficiencies and unnecessary cost barriers.

TiER1 Performance Solutions

Founded in 2002, TiER1 Performance Solutions is an employee-owned consulting firm that activates strategies through people.

Virtual Clarity

Founded in 2009, Virtual Clarity is  a boutique firm with a focus entirely on digital transformation and cloud solutions for I.T. enabled business.

Tech 50 CEO of the Year – Teresa Huber, Intervala

Teresa Huber has served as President and CEO of Intervala since the company’s inception. Intervala is a full-service manufacturer of high-reliability, precision electronic and electromechanical products for companies in industrial, medical, transportation and other technology-driven markets. Huber’s background includes more than two decades of leadership, manufacturing and engineering experience in the Pittsburgh region’s electronics and manufacturing sector, driving positive outcomes for leaders such as Westinghouse Electric, Sony, Pinnacle Electronics and LaBarge, Inc.

Huber earned an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has since devoted 25 years to building successful organizations on the premise that corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage.

Over the past year, Huber has brought Intervala to life. She was the chief architect of the company’s growth strategy and company culture initiative, which are now distinguishing the 2-year-old company as a formidable player in the competitive electronics manufacturing services industry.

Under Huber’s leadership, Intervala achieved 20-percent revenue growth in 2017 and significantly expanded its base of high-caliber global customers. Huber’s strategy for the business has laid the groundwork for sustainable double-digit revenue growth and significant job expansion within the organization.

By Huber’s design, the foundation of this growth, and of Intervala itself, is the company’s purpose-based culture. Intervala focuses on being an indispensable partner to its customers. This purpose drives everything the company does, from its branding and marketing to building new customer relationships to hiring and onboarding employees. Building on this foundation, Huber launched several important initiatives during the past year to propel Intervala forward, including hands-on culture training through the organization, an expanded marketing effort, and a comprehensive employee development program to help people achieve their professional goals and ensure the company has the best people on its growth journey.

A veteran of the electronics manufacturing business, Huber believed in Intervala’s tremendous potential for renewed growth. She rallied several partners to acquire the business and continue operations after the company was on the verge of being shut down under previous ownership. Huber’s actions saved more than 150 jobs in the Pittsburgh area and retained nearly $12 million in gross payroll.

Almost three years later, employment at the new company is up more than 40 percent, and Intervala expects to expand staffing another 20 percent during the current fiscal year. Intervala has also established internship and co-op programs with local universities and technical schools to provide professional opportunities for young engineers and innovators.

In addition to job creation, Intervala’s continued operations in Pittsburgh contribute to southwestern Pennsylvania’s economy. Customers in the region continue to be served by a local provider, and Intervala uses the services of many local companies, including suppliers, staffing agencies and financial services providers.

Huber believes Intervala’s employees are the future of the company and that the organization needs to provide them with the necessary tools to achieve that vision. She advocates for the power of a can-do attitude and inspires people with her optimistic and confident outlook. Above all, Huber empowers her employees to take appropriate risks and understand that success is often born from adversity.

Finalists:

Brendan Carroll, Skycision 

Since inception Skycision has raised over $1M in venture funding, employs a FT team of 6, and has deployed its technology to more than 100  farms across the country with strong international interest developing.

Jessica Gibson,
Ariel Precision Medicine   

Jessica graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in emergency medicine and worked in both clinical and research laboratory settings. The need for a scalable solution to chronic disease resonated with her passion for revolutionary changes in health care and led her to be the driving force in the development of ARIEL.

Jim Gillespie, GrayMatter

Jim Gillespie is co-founder and CEO of GrayMatter, a technology and consulting company listed as one of the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing for helping industrial companies and utilities catch bad things before they happen through digital transformation.

Noah Snyder,
Interphase Materials

Along with co-founder Kasey Catt, Noah founded Interphase Materials in the fall of 2015 to apply this technology to a greater range of applications, including anti-fouling materials for industrial coatings. Within the first year of business, Noah and Kasey would be awarded a Phase I SBIR contract from the Department of Defense to develop their technology for Ohio Class Nuclear Submarine heat exchangers.    

Barbara VanKirk,  IQ Inc.

IQ Inc. CEO Barbara VanKirk is a true pioneer. As one of the only – and perhaps the only – female head of an IT company when she founded IQ Inc. 24 years ago, she staked a claim for women-owned businesses locally that has only expanded and deepened over time.

Tech 50 Solution Provider of the year: Innovative Technologies – GrayMatter

Simply put, GrayMatter is dedicated to transforming operations and empowering people. Through sensor technology, cloud analytics and its unmatched operational floor expertise, GrayMatter makes the machines that make products and clean water smarter. Through the resulting predictive analytics, the people who run plants and utilities can solve more problems and make better decisions. The company focuses on co-innovation and the best solutions and technology for industrial companies going through digital transformation. GrayMatter works with a wide range of companies throughout Pittsburgh and around the globe, including Procter and Gamble, General Electric, Marzetti, CNX, U.S. Steel, PPG, and DC Water.

GrayMatter has grown tremendously in the past year, expanding from a primarily East Coast company to now covering vast regions throughout the Midwest. Last November, a substantial investment by private equity firm Hamilton Robinson Capital Partners allowed GrayMatter to expand even further with a recent acquisition in Denver.

GrayMatter has also launched a startup, called LifeWhere, right here in Pittsburgh. LifeWhere takes predictive analytics inside the home, allowing homeowners to access information from machines in industrial environments. Its LifePulse sensor alerts people when their air conditioner or furnace is about to break. This is a huge breakthrough, bridging the gap between the industrial market and the smart home market. LifeWhere has partnered with a local HVAC company to roll out the device to 100 homes in Pittsburgh.

One of the biggest challenges for industrial customers is switching from a manual operation to a digital one. GrayMatter is solving this problem through consulting, technology implementation and embedding a transformation team at Concast in Pittsburgh. Concast, based just outside Pittsburgh in Mars, Pa., produces more than 1,000 standard product sizes, hosting them in their 50,000-square-foot warehouse in the Cleveland area. GrayMatter transitioned the plant from being completely manual to having a paperless work order, downtime tracking, using historical data for customers, real-time data visualization and forensic capabilities. This allows Concast to look at a product that a machine is creating and figure out what the parameters should be to make it repeatable and allow less downtime – a huge step forward in the industry.

As one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing workplaces, GrayMatter has helped foster the idea that Pittsburgh is an important, rapidly evolving tech hub. While the company has expanded nationally, GrayMatter is still headquartered in Pittsburgh and has also expanded its positions in the area – most recently a CFO with Fortune 500 experience.

The impact of GrayMatter’s work in the world is big. It is revolutionizing manufacturing companies to become technology companies that create new revenue, boost the economy and revitalize cities. GrayMatter provides clean water for communities while saving energy and creating machine-learning environments on university and corporate campuses. Through all these factors, GrayMatter is helping to build a New Pittsburgh.

AquaSource Technologies Corp

AquaSource Technologies Corp., headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, PA, has developed water desalination technology utilizing high temperature plasma systems.

Diamond Kinetics

Diamond Kinetics enhances the games of baseball and softball by creating engaging experiences that help players improve and also have fun.

Ethical Intruder

Without selling products or aligning with a specific technology, Ethical Intruder works as an objective outside resource for companies to understand their organization’s risks related to malicious intruders, compliance mandates, and security-related business obligations.

First Insight

First Insight is the world’s leading provider of solutions that empower retailers and brands to incorporate the voice of the consumer into the design and merchandising of new products.

JazzHR

JazzHR is powerful, user-friendly, and affordable recruiting software that is purpose-built to help growing companies exceed their recruiting goals.

Powercast Corporation

Powercast is the pioneer and leader of long-range, RF-based wireless power-over-distance technology designed to power devices in the home, at work, in public places or industrial settings.

TrademarkVision      

TrademarkVision’s vision is to be the global leader in image recognition technology, helping protect and empower brands around the world.

Voci Technologies, Inc.

Voci Technologies provides automated voice transcription and speech analytics solutions for businesses of any size.

Tech 50 Start-Up of the Year – 412 Food Rescue

A nonprofit founded in 2015, 412 Food Rescue’s mission is to prevent perfectly viable food from entering the waste stream. It works to eliminate hunger and promote a healthy environment by rescuing surplus food and redirecting it to nonprofits that serve a local food-insecure population.

The company takes an innovative approach to food waste reduction. Its rapid-response reverse logistics model merges technology, civic engagement and public-private partnerships to revolutionize the transport and distribution of surplus food.

412 Food Rescue’s service level stands at 99 percent. Volunteers have completed more than 23,000 rescues in three years. In 2018 alone, the company will complete 20,000 rescues. It has partnered with more than 460 food retailers in the region and more than 540 nonprofits, and it has expanded food access to more than 540 locations in Pittsburgh.

In September 2017, 412 Food Rescue began its expansion via the launch of 724 Food Rescue – extending its reach to Washington, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler and Fayette counties. Through this new network, more than 97,000 additional people are within a 15-minute walking distance of a food access point.

The U.S. spends $218 billion per year, or 1.3 percent of the GDP, growing, processing and transporting food that is never eaten. The majority of discarded food is high-end food that winds up in landfills. Once there, the wasteful food generates methane, resulting in landfills becoming the third-largest source of methane in the U.S., making them extremely harmful to the planet.

Three-and-a-half million pounds of food redirected from the waste stream mitigates 1.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, equivalent to 2.1 million miles driven or taking 190 cars off the road for one year.

Approximately half of food waste occurs at consumer-facing/retail businesses, making a rapid-response, distributed transportation network with a direct delivery system essential. Viable food at the retail level is sent to landfills for many reasons, most notably because they are approaching their sell-by dates – an unregulated concept with no federal standards – are too small in quantity to transport by truck, consist of unpredictable “mispicks” (deliveries that were not consistent with orders) or are deemed cosmetically unacceptable for retail.

At the retail level, traditional truck-warehouse distribution models are not cost-effective. Utilizing trucks for retail and food rescue results in a high cost-per-ton ratio. Truck-warehouse models cannot respond effectively to surplus food approaching its sell-by or use-by dates because of the lead times required to pick-up/warehouse/sort/distribute. These traditional models are also cost-prohibitive for ad hoc “rescues” that are small in quantity. 412 Food Rescue revolutionarily eliminates the traditional hub-and-spoke distribution model.

This year, 412 Food Rescue will pilot national expansion in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Cleveland. In five years, it aims to have a global footprint. The company embodies technology for good. It is social innovation that impacts a triple bottom line, and its technology puts its bet on the most basic human desire to help others. In one leap, it jumps over two hurdles:  hunger and environment sustainability.

Finalists:

BlastPoint, Inc

BlastPoint’s interactive locational software sits on the critical path to finding revenue and planning risk for our customers.

Caregogi

Caregogi disrupts the traditional senior care industry by connecting care seekers with quality care providers online at half the cost.

Flexable

Flexable is on a mission to create innovative childcare solutions to make life and work fit.

HiberSense, Inc.

HiberSense Connected Climate Control for Every Room empowers homeowners with a well-designed and adaptable system that provides HVAC automation & control.

Platypus PPC

Platypus uses cooperative, autonomous boats of the company’s design to collect data about what’s in and under inland waterways.

RistCall

RistCall helps hospitals and nursing homes to improve patient safety, experience and nursing workflow by simplifying patient-nurse communication using smart watches.