Image courtesy of Duolingo.

JazzHR: 2017 was a busy year for JazzHR, including a big move to offices on the North Side, new money and new opportunities. Since its founding in 2009, the Pittsburgh-based tech firm has made a name for itself in the recruiting software industry by helping to streamline the hiring process for startups, growing companies, and, as their website claims, presidential campaigns. The company recently announced a new integration meant to better connect employers with potential job candidates on LinkedIn. Last October, JazzHR also raised more than $6.6 million in funding from investors, all of which will go toward operations, bringing on more sales and promotions staff, and product development.

Heinz Field scanned with Kaarta’s Stencil device. Image courtesy of Kaarta.
Heinz Field scanned with Kaarta’s Stencil device. Image courtesy of Kaarta.

Kaarta: Formerly known as Real Earth, Kaarta develops tech that translates the real world into highly-accurate 3D digital models, which has potential applications in a wide range of fields, including architecture, engineering, construction and surveying. Last spring, the company launched and began selling the Contour, a lightweight handheld device able to quickly scan and 3D map areas. For their efforts, Kaarta won first place at the 2016 and 2017 Microsoft Indoor Localization Competitions. They were also selected by the City of Pittsburgh to take part in the latest round of PGH Lab, an annual program that recruits local startups to help improve city operations. As part of PGH Lab, Kaarta will test out the Contour and another mapping device, the Stencil, by using them to create 3D models of municipal sites throughout the city.

Peptilogics Inc.: The leaders of Peptilogics Inc., a Pittsburgh-based biotech startup looking to commercialize ways to combat drug-resistant bacteria, have a personal stake in the company’s work — both its founder, Jonathan Steckbeck, and its new CEO, Sanjay Kakkar, lost loved ones to antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. In 2017, they received $5.5 million in Series A financing with backing from PayPal founder, Peter Thiel. The funding will go toward expanding the company and advancing its innovative eCAP (engineered cationic antibiotic peptide) platform, a promising new approach they claim has demonstrated the potential to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria in multiple non-clinical models.

Petuum: In 2016, this Carnegie Mellon University spinout set out to make machine learning easier to use after securing $15 million in seed funding. Since then, the startup doubled its staff and created a machine learning platform built to be more accessible, user-friendly and applicable to a variety of industries. Last year, Petuum became one of the best-funded early-stage AI startups when it secured $93 million in Series B funding, bringing its total value to $108 million. Petuum will use its new gains to expand its technical and business teams and deploy its technology in specific industries that have high AI potential, but low adoption, such as manufacturing and healthcare.

ShowClix: For 10 years, ShowClix has provided an innovative online platform for people to buy tickets to for fandom and consumer conventions, museums, attractions and festivals — so far, the company claims it has processed more than a billion dollars in ticket sales across 37 countries. Now ShowClix has entered the next stage of its development with new funding and new partners. In 2017, it received a strategic investment by Providence Strategic Growth, an affiliate of the multibillion-dollar global private equity firm, Providence Equity. The deal made ShowClix a parent company of the global online ticketing giant, Patron Technology. The relationship with Patron is expected to help ShowClix expand into new markets, increase ticket sales and become a leader in the industry.

Image courtesy of Wombat Security Technologies.

Wombat Security Technologies: Cybersecurity has become a huge concern as breaches at major retailers and even the credit reporting site, Equifax, have sent consumers into a panic. The incidents have made the services offered by Wombat all the more relevant. As a result, the Pittsburgh-based cybersecurity training software company, which says it serves more than 2,000 customers, saw a massive 840 percent growth over the last few years. As for 2018, the company will relocate its headquarters to a 33,000-square-foot office in the Strip District’s Crane Building and expects to hire at least 75 to 100 additional employees. They also plan to continue modifying their Security Education Platform and expand their presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Want to read about more exciting tech companies in Pittsburgh? Check out the 17 Pittsburgh tech companies to watch in 2017.

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.