TiER1 Performance Solutions accepts their Tech 50 award. Image courtesy of PTC.

The Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC) Tech 50 awards program convened once again to honor southwestern Pennsylvania’s most innovative technology companies.

Yesterday, area business leaders and entrepreneurs took home awards in several different categories during an event at the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. Now in its 20th year, the Tech 50 awards recognized innovators in health IT, life sciences, manufacturing, consumer products, consulting services, and other fields.

“The winners and finalists of this year’s Tech 50 really demonstrate the depth and diversity of the Pittsburgh region’s tech industry,” says PTC’s vice president of communications and media Jonathan Kersting.

He adds that winners were chosen based on a variety of factors, including economic contributions such as revenue growth, capital raised, R&D investments and payroll growth. Judges also looked at what differentiated the companies in the marketplace based how they used technology to solve problems.

The language learning software company Duolingo won the distinction of Startup of the Year for their work in education and world affairs. The company recently launched English, German, French and Swedish language courses for Arabic speakers in order to help Syrian refugees find jobs and integrate quickly and successfully into their new European homes.

“Our goal at Duolingo is to help people access better opportunities and improve their lives through education, no matter the situation they find themselves in,” says Duolingo CEO and co-founder Luis von Ahn. “We sincerely hope our efforts made a difference.”

Duolingo CTO Severin Hacker (left) and CEO Luis von Ahn (right). Image courtesy of Duolingo.
Duolingo CTO Severin Hacker (left) and CEO Luis von Ahn (right). Photo courtesy of Duolingo.

The award also recognizes Duolingo for Schools, a platform the company created to help teachers to track their students’ language learning progress. The app is currently used by more than 300,000 classrooms all over the globe, including several in Pittsburgh.

“Although we’d never worked with schools, thousands of teachers and ministries of education across the world wrote to us saying they were already using Duolingo with their students,” says von Ahn. “We’re thrilled to work hand-in-hand with wonderful teachers looking to improve their students’ futures.”

See a complete list of 2016 Tech 50 award winners and nominees below:

Startup of the Year

Winner: Duolingo


BOSS Controls
Identified Technologies

Innovator of the Year–Consumer Product

Winner: YinzCam


2nd Skull
Diamond Kinetics
RedMorph Inc.
CEO of the Year

Winner: Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games


Ron Bianchini, CEO and President, Avere Systems
Greg Harmeyer, CEO, Founding Partner, TiER1 Performance Solutions
Michele McGough, CEO and President, solutions4networks
Joel Reed, Chief Executive Officer, OpenArc LLC
Robbin Steif, CEO & President, LunaMetrics
Jesse Schell of Schell Games. Photo by Brian Cohen.
Jesse Schell of Schell Games. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Innovator of the Year–Health IT

Winner: TeleTracking


Careform, Inc.
Iagnosis, Inc.
Rijuven Corp

Innovator of the Year–Life Sciences

Winner: Peptilogics


CardiacAssist, Inc. dba TandemLife
Foundation Radiology Group
InteloMed, Inc.
Tobii Dynavox

Solution Provider of the Year–Innovative Technology

Winner: ANSYS


Avere Systems
Matrix Solutions
Simcoach Games
Voci Technologies, Inc.

Innovator of the Year–Manufacturing

Winner: Advantech U.S.


Aquion Energy
Interphase Materials
Optimus Technologies
threeRivers 3D, Inc.

Solution Provider of the Year–Consulting and IT Services

Winner: Summa


Accion Labs Inc.
Apogee IT Services
Continuum Managed Services
OpenArc, LLC
Plus Consulting
SDLC Partners L.P. – Monroeville, PA

Culture Leader

Winner: TiER1 Performance Solutions


Autosoft, Inc.
Robots and Pencils

Amanda Waltz

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.