2016 PGH Lab cohort TransitSource attaches a Sentinal Box to a volunteer's bike. Image courtesy of PGH Lab.

The fifth cycle of the PGH Lab program kicked off last week with a notable new partner: the Allegheny County Airport Authority (ACAA).

Founded in 2016, PGH Lab pairs startup companies with local government authorities to address pressing civic needs. While companies of all varieties are encouraged to apply, PGH Lab seeks projects that address issues like improving citizen engagement, battling climate change and making public operations more efficient.

The ACAA will join local institutions like the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority in serving as one of the partners in developing the next generation of cutting-edge civic tech.

“Driving innovation is part of our mission at ACAA and PGH Lab is another connection to our region’s innovative startups and world-class tech economy,” said Katherine Karolick, senior vice president of information technology at the Allegheny County Airport Authority. “We are looking forward to exploring new ideas and concepts to continue driving efficiency and improving the passenger experience.”

No word yet on which startups the ACAA might collaborate with in PGH Lab’s fifth cohort. Applications to join the cohort are being accepted through Aug. 25.

Over the last several years, 22 local companies have passed through the program, beta testing their tech for three- to four-month periods alongside their government partners. High-profile alumni include Honeycomb Credit, Meta Mesh Wireless Communities and the Change Agency social enterprise organization.

“Throughout the PGH Lab program, we were able to develop ideas, learn from experiences and build a strong proof of concept for our future work,” said Change Agency Founder and All for All Director Betty Cruz. “The time spent in the community and learning from our partners at the City of Pittsburgh was invaluable.”

Bill O'Toole

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.