Welcome to our weekly roundup of Pittsburgh technology news by noted local tech writer David Radin. Got tech news? Email us. And check back every Thursday for more.
Techstars Chicago came to town seeking accelerator recruits
Techstars Chicago Program Manager Rachael Feuerborn visited Pittsburgh last week seeking recruits for her company’s upcoming business accelerator program. The 13-week Techstars program offers mentorship from experts — including Kickstarter, Grubhub, Basecamp and PayPal executives and a capital infusion of up to $120,000. It’s designed to help companies in the next phase of growth after going through incubators like Pittsburgh’s AlphaLab, AlphaLab Gear and Idea Foundry.
Rather than fostering location-specific startups, Techstars Chicago looks for companies around the world that could succeed anywhere. Feuerborn tells us she’s here to meet with 11 local entrepreneurs who are among 3,000 competitors worldwide. The next program begins in July.
Were you interviewed? If not, the application deadline remains open until April 8.
Velocity Robotics wins another pitch competition
Velocity Robotics took first prize in the Leech Tishman Business Pitch Competition, earning a package of legal, marketing and accounting services from local companies, as well as access to two local investment groups. This is not the first time Velocity — headed by founder Brad Kriel — has taken the top prize in a competition. It also won the mid-Atlantic round of the AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup in February, putting it into the international finals for that contest. Velocity has designed a Bluetooth tape measure and an app to eliminate human error in the construction industry. Second place went to Spand-ICE, founded by Helen Behn, whose product is an adjustable belly band wrap to relieve back pain during maternity
“Alexa, order my favorite from Sheetz”
If you love touchscreen ordering at Sheetz or have been taking full advantage of ordering from Amazon using your Alexa or Dot, you’re in for a real treat — because you can now use your Amazon device and your voice to order from your neighborhood Sheetz as well. It works with the Altoona-based food chain’s made-to-order menu across all 564 locations. You’ll need to set it up in advance first, at the Sheetz website or through the Sheetz app.
Pittsburgh Police go video
They may not be the first police force in the country to do it, but Pittsburgh Police are now adding body cams for all officers. It starts immediately in Zone 3, south of the Monongahela River, which includes the South Side, Allentown and Mount Oliver. The program will next expand to Zone 5, which includes Highland Park, Friendship and Homewood. The rest of the force will get their cameras “ASAP” after those zones.
Upcoming business, career and networking events
A Decade of Growth Investment in Pittsburgh’s Technology Sector
Tuesday, March 20 at Alloy26, 8 – 10 a.m.
Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse Spring Open House
Tuesday, March 20 at Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, 5 – 7:30 p.m.
Angels in the A.M.: Angel Investing 101
Wednesday, March 21 at Alloy26, 7:30 – 10 a.m.
Breakfast with Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey
Friday, March 23 at Omni William Penn Hotel, 7:45 – 9:45 a.m.