Discover Pittsburgh's best accelerators for your start-up

Choose an accelerator/incubator that provides your start-up with the right guidance to scale with confidence.

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Choosing The Right Accelerator

Start-ups are hard. Choose an accelerator that guides you in the right direction.

Patrick Collison, Founder of Stripe

"I doubt that Stripe would have worked without YC. It's that simple."

Patrick Collison, Founder, Stripe

Chris Lynch, Founder of Atlas Venture

"Accelerators claim they are in it for the long haul — I call bullshit"

Chris Lynch, Founder, Atlas Venture

Raj Aggarwal, Founder of Localytics

"The network we built with Techstars was incredibly valuable during and after the program."

Raj Aggarwal, Founder, Localytics

What truly matters

Two-way communication > Interview

Do the alumni rate them truly well?

Look for partners not investors

Do they know why they succeeded in the past?

Discover your perfect match

No accelerator or incubator is perfect for every start-up. Your business’s context and constraints matter. Identify your perfect match by answering this short questionnaire.

Pittsburgh's Top Accelerators By Neighborhoods

Comparing Accelerators

NameAerial ScoreStandard DealAddress#Investments#ExitsDetails
Innovation Works6.9Two Allegheny Center, Suite 100, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, USA51234Learn more
Robotics Factory4.9113 47th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201, USA6Learn more
Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse4.82403 Sidney St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, USA525Learn more
AlphaLab Gear4.6$50K113 47th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201, USA132Learn more
AlphaLab Health4.6100 S Jackson Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15202, USA22Learn more
SteelBridge Labs4.6up to $1M2818 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA121Learn more
Steel Bridge Labs4.6$25K-$1M2818 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA121Learn more
Ascender4.56401 Penn Ave 3rd floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USA11Learn more
Ascender (Pittsburgh)4.56401 Penn Ave 3rd floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USA11Learn more
LifeX (United States)4.5218 Oakland Ave 2nd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA2Learn more
University of Pittsburgh - Big Idea Center/Blast Furnace Accelerator​4.53601 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USALearn more
University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute4.5130 Thackeray Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USALearn more
PGH Lab4.5414 Grant St, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA7Learn more
Coal Hill Ventures4.51735 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, USA3Learn more
numo4.5141 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USALearn more
Vibrant Pittsburgh Connection Accelerator4.4213 Smithfield St Suite 219, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USALearn more

This page covers the top accelerators and incubators in Pittsburgh.

If you would like to check out our top rated accelerators in Pennsylvania, please check here. And if geography isn’t a constraint for you, discover the best incubators and accelerators across the US here.

Brief Overview Of Different Accelerators

1) Innovation Works

Innovation Works - connecting start-up founders with success

Innovation Works operates with a clear mission to introduce, connect, support, and expand the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southwestern Pennsylvania, positioning the region as a hub for innovative startups and tech investors nationwide. The organization strategically invests capital, business expertise, and resources in companies with significant potential for regional economic impact. Specifically, the IW+MC Accelerator, a free six-month program, focuses on supporting social enterprise leaders in Baltimore, aiding them in refining key business aspects, devising growth strategies, and ensuring long-term financial sustainability. Participants benefit from a tailored curriculum comprising modules on essential topics like financial modeling, marketing, and investment readiness, supported by a network of local and global mentors. Notable outcomes for accelerator graduates include detailed growth plans, customized financial models, and refined business and funding strategies. Innovation Works has a profound impact, having invested over $117 million in 667+ companies since 1999, leading to 77 successful exits and over $3.3 billion in follow-on investments. The accelerator's emphasis on empowering social enterprises across various industries like Consumer Electronics, Healthcare Tech, Biotech, and Robotics underlines its commitment to driving impactful and sustainable growth.

Innovation Works's Website
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2) Robotics Factory

Robotics Factory - connecting start-up founders with success

The Robotics Factory Accelerate Program is an initiative by Innovation Works and the Pittsburgh Robotics Network to support and scale robotics startups in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The program, with a duration of six months, hosts startups specializing in underwater intelligence, stem cell processing, robotic muscles for prosthetics, computer vision for horticulture, and smart bicycle safety technology. Participants benefit from co-working spaces, access to manufacturing resources, and tailored coaching. Notable startups that have been funded through this program include those mentioned above. The program's focus on robotics and related technologies aligns with its goal to address labor shortages and advance industries. Key individuals involved include those from Innovation Works and the Pittsburgh Robotics Network. The Robotics Factory Accelerate Program stands out for its commitment to nurturing early-stage robotics companies in a supportive environment to foster innovation in the Pittsburgh region.

Robotics Factory's Website
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3) Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse

Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse - supporting Pittsburgh's best founders

The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse is an organization based in Pittsburgh, PA. It specializes in providing capital investments and tailored business growth services to life sciences startups. The institution collaborates with early-stage companies and university spinouts in the healthcare sector, focusing on areas such as digital health, medical devices, and therapeutics. The accelerator program offered by PLSG is a 13-week intensive initiative aimed at advancing startups' progress towards commercialization through mentoring and educational support. They work closely with experienced mentors, corporate partners, and ecosystem innovators to assist local life science ventures. The organization's expertise lies in technologies with the potential to revolutionize healthcare. Participants in the program benefit from a curated curriculum delivered by industry experts, guidance on developing investor-attractive commercialization plans, and support in overcoming healthcare startup-specific challenges. Notable perks include the opportunity for engagement with mentors, talent, corporate partners, and investors. PLSG primarily focuses on industries such as Biotech and Healthcare Tech.

Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse's Website
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4) AlphaLab Gear

AlphaLab Gear - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Pittsburgh

AlphaLab Gear is an independent subsidiary accelerator founded in 2013, specializing in hardware, Internet of Things (IoT), and robotics startups. The 30-week program offers up to $100,000 in investment, mentorship from industry experts like Kevin Dowling, Aaron Tainter, and others, as well as networking opportunities. Startups benefit from office space, manufacturing equipment access, and educational sessions. The accelerator is led by key figures like Jessi Mazzoni, Dejana Raggi, Afshan Khan, and Jeff Reed, focusing on domains such as consumer electronics and robotics. Notable founders include Josh McElhattan. Additionally, the organization hosts the annual Hardware Cup, a startup pitch contest awarding $50,000 in investment. With a collaborative workspace that includes artists-in-residence, AlphaLab Gear propels early-stage physical product companies towards successful market entry and scalability.

AlphaLab Gear's Website
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5) AlphaLab Health

AlphaLab Health - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Pittsburgh

AlphaLab Health was a healthcare and life sciences accelerator that supported early-stage tech startups in bringing innovations to market by navigating scientific, clinical, and commercial development risks. The partnership between Innovation Works and Allegheny Health Network leveraged healthcare domain expertise and clinical access from partners like Highmark Health. The program focused on accelerating scientific, clinical, and market validation for healthcare and life science tech companies, specializing in biotech and healthcare tech industries. It offered resources like clinical access, tailored support, and flexible programming, aiming to empower startups in shortening the road to commercialization. Although specific metrics like start-ups associated or funded start-ups are not provided, the accelerator's commitment to providing key resources and guidance to entrepreneurs seeking to make an impact in the health and life sciences space is remarkable. Key people involved include those from Innovation Works and Allegheny Health Network.

AlphaLab Health's Website
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6) SteelBridge Labs

SteelBridge Labs - connecting start-up founders with success

SteelBridge Labs is an early-stage FinTech incubator based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with additional offices in Miami. Founded by experienced management consultants from SteelBridge Consulting, the accelerator focuses on fostering innovation in the financial technology sector. It offers a safe space for entrepreneurs, coders, investors, and technologists to collaborate and build innovative solutions. SteelBridge Labs invests in pre- or early-revenue FinTech companies, providing seed capital ranging from $25,000 to $1,000,000. The accelerator takes an active role in portfolio companies, offering guidance, leadership, and hands-on involvement. The organization boasts a strong network of High Net Worth Individuals, Family Offices, Corporate Strategics, and Venture Capitalists. Specializing in FinTech startups, SteelBridge Labs covers areas such as financial services, payment solutions, blockchain, and data analytics. The accelerator provides a structured curriculum, access to a pool of trusted investors, and a collaborative environment for tackling real-world problems in the financial industry. Notable founders include James Haluszczak, Luis Burgos, Tim Haluszczak, and Todd Haring.

SteelBridge Labs's Website
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7) Steel Bridge Labs

Steel Bridge Labs - accelerating exceptional start-ups in Pittsburgh

SteelBridge Labs is an early-stage Fintech accelerator based in Pittsburgh. The organization provides selected FinTech startup companies with deep industry experience and essential tools for success. Founded by experienced management consultants from SteelBridge Consulting, including James Haluszczak, Luis Burgos, Tim Haluszczak, and Todd Haring, the accelerator focuses on nurturing startups aiming to solve systemic challenges in the financial services sector through software innovation. The accelerator invests in pre- or early-revenue FinTech companies, offering seed capital ranging from $25,000 to $1,000,000, with potential co-investment from High Net Worth Individuals, Family Offices, Corporate Strategics, and VCs. Specializing in FinTech, SaaS, B2B, B2C, alternative investments, private equity, venture capital, and hedge fund technology, SteelBridge Labs provides startups with access to a network of trusted investors, a supportive ecosystem for collaboration and learning, and infrastructure to help ideas grow into viable businesses. The organization's mission is to create a nurturing space for innovation and drive financial technology sector growth.

Steel Bridge Labs's Website
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8) Ascender

Ascender - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Pittsburgh

Ascender is a multi-faceted accelerator that supports entrepreneurs in starting and growing their companies through a range of resources. The program offers educational programming, mentorship, expert coaching, as well as incubation and coworking space. Additionally, it functions as a start-up incubator, coworking space, and educational hub to aid businesses and start-ups in their development journey. The accelerator, named Accelerator of SCiENtific DEvelopment and Research, is specifically tailored to support scientific development and research projects utilizing Python. Ascender provides a GitHub repository template with various pre-implemented features like containerization with Docker, virtual environment setup with Poetry, coding style enforcement with Ruff, static type checking with Mypy, and simplified testing through pytest. The template follows a structured organization format for project management. While Docker and Docker Compose are obligatory for installation, NVIDIA Container Toolkit is recommended for GPU support. Specializing in domain-agnostic projects, the template enhances development efficiency and collaboration for various research areas. Industries targeted by Ascender include 'Sector Agnostic'.

Ascender's Website
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9) Ascender (Pittsburgh)

Ascender (Pittsburgh) - supporting founders in their growth journey

Based in Pittsburgh, Ascender is a start-up accelerator, coworking space, and educational hub dedicated to helping entrepreneurs kickstart and grow their businesses. The organization offers a comprehensive range of support including educational programming, mentorship, expert coaching, incubation services, and access to coworking facilities. Ascender's flagship offering is a yearlong incubator program that assists entrepreneurs in launching and expanding sustainable businesses. Each year, the program supports multiple start-ups, providing them with up to $5,000 in equity-free funding. Participants benefit from 1-on-1 coaching, networking opportunities, expert mentorship, and technical support in various areas like branding and accounting. The accelerator caters to a diverse range of industries such as Ecommerce, Edtech, Healthcare Tech, and SaaS, offering tailored programming to meet the unique needs of each start-up. Additionally, entrepreneurs gain exposure through Ascender's digital platforms and access to an extensive alumni network, enhancing their brand visibility and growth potential.

Ascender (Pittsburgh)'s Website
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10) LifeX (United States)

LifeX (United States) - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

LifeX Labs, founded by Dietrich Stephan, is a biotechnology company in the United States. The organization operates the LifeX Accelerator program, catering to early-stage ventures in the biotech and healthcare tech industries. The accelerator offers a free, 3-month immersive program aimed at ventures focusing on digital health, medical devices, or therapeutics. The Spring 2024 Accelerator program runs from March 19th to June 6th and includes virtual group sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-5 PM ET. Through specialized support, the program assists ventures in pharma, medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health sectors. Numerous start-ups have benefited from the program, securing follow-on funding through SBIRs, PHDA, and private investments. Participants receive assistance in developing investable commercialization plans, access to a diverse network of experts, and hands-on support from dedicated mentors and interns. Ventures joining the program are expected to have a proof of concept, validated scientific feasibility, and a commitment to securing necessary IP rights. LifeX Labs has garnered praise from past participants like Shawn K. Kelly and Sam Rothstein for its wealth of information and networking opportunities, making it a valuable resource for entrepreneurs in the life sciences field.

LifeX (United States)'s Website
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11) University of Pittsburgh - Big Idea Center/Blast Furnace Accelerator​

University of Pittsburgh - Big Idea Center/Blast Furnace Accelerator​ - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh, a state research university, offers undergraduate, graduate, and other educational services. It hosts the Blast Furnace, a student accelerator program within the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship's Big Idea Center. This program runs for eight weeks in the summer, focusing on customer discovery and product-market fit to help Pitt students succeed as entrepreneurs. The Blast Furnace supports multiple student-led startups annually, with a goal to enhance their entrepreneurial success. It welcomes students from diverse disciplines, promoting innovation across various fields. Participants benefit from a deep mentor network, inspirational co-working space, a rich curriculum, and hands-on learning. The program also assists students in gauging the viability of their ideas post-graduation. Founded by Hugh Henry Brackenridge, the Blast Furnace at the University of Pittsburgh specializes in industries like Edtech, providing a nurturing environment for student entrepreneurs to thrive with guidance, practical skills, and a supportive community.

University of Pittsburgh - Big Idea Center/Blast Furnace Accelerator​'s Website
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12) University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute

University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute - connecting start-up founders with success

University of Pittsburgh, a state research university, is home to the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute, a key player in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within the university community. The institute offers education, mentoring, and funding to help Pitt innovators advance from initial ideas to impactful solutions, bridging the gap between research and real-world impact. Since its inception, the institute has been associated with 267 startups, made 359 invention disclosures, secured 113 U.S. patents, and granted 150 licenses and options. Notable programs include the Blast Furnace student accelerator, Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh), and Pitt Ventures Startup Academy. They specialize in domains such as healthcare tech and edtech, encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. Founders of the University of Pittsburgh, like Hugh Henry Brackenridge, have benefited from the support offered by the institute, which also includes education, funding opportunities, industry engagement, networking events, and access to co-working spaces. In conclusion, the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute is a dynamic hub empowering Pitt innovators and driving impactful solutions.

University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute's Website
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13) PGH Lab

PGH Lab - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

PGH Lab is a city-led accelerator program in Pittsburgh that operates as a portal for the growth and development of the city by connecting local startup companies with the government and local authorities. The program has a duration of three to four months and aims to assist startups in progressing from the early stage to the growth stage of their life cycle. PGH Lab specializes in key priority areas for the city, such as process improvement, sustainability, equity, inclusion, health, and safety. Startups in the program have the opportunity to test new products and services in a real-world environment. Examples from previous cohorts like AiMiL, Qarar, Velo, and Noteful showcase successful partnerships with various city departments. Participants benefit from piloting their solutions within the city, receiving feedback, and expanding their network. The program's goal is to innovate local government by leveraging new technologies and services to enhance efficiency, transparency, sustainability, and inclusivity. PGH Lab focuses on industries like Environmental Tech and continues to evolve with each cohort, bringing fresh ideas to drive positive change in city services.

PGH Lab's Website
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14) Coal Hill Ventures

Coal Hill Ventures - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Pittsburgh

Coal Hill Ventures is the world's first investment firm dedicated to actively creating impactful companies from emerging robotics breakthroughs. Founded by Managing Director Christopher Moehle in Pittsburgh, in collaboration with The Robotics Hub, the organization focuses on catalyzing industrial transformations by investing in ambitious deep tech companies. Emerging from Carnegie Mellon's prestigious robotics lab, it is committed to accelerating the robotics revolution and promoting collaboration between humans and machines. With expertise in robotics and AI, the company supports startups in cutting-edge fields. The accelerator leverages the abundant talent in Advanced Robotics in Pittsburgh to drive significant impact. The name 'Coal Hill' pays homage to Mount Washington, a historic Pittsburgh landmark linked to the city's steel industry inception. Specializing in robotics, AI, and related deep tech domains, it has a strong track record in nurturing startups towards success. Notable founders include Christopher Moehle, reflecting the accelerator's mission to advance technologies in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

Coal Hill Ventures's Website
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15) numo

numo - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Pittsburgh

Numo, which stands for the New Urban Mobility Alliance, is an organization specializing in advancing sustainable urban mobility solutions through collaboration with cities, companies, and research institutions. They run programs like Move PGH & Universal Basic Mobility Pilot in Pittsburgh, Detroit Bike Challenge & E-Bike Pilot in Detroit, and San Antonio Mobility Hubs to address mobility challenges and promote e-bikes. The organization also engages in various working groups and coalitions like the New Mobility Research Collaborative and provides guides, tools, and platforms such as COVID & the Curb guidance, Urbanism Next Europe 2021 recordings, and the Micromobility Policy Atlas. With a focus on domains like e-bikes, micromobility, transit, and accessibility, Numo offers valuable resources for startups in the fintech industry. Some notable founders include David Passavant.

numo's Website
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16) Vibrant Pittsburgh Connection Accelerator

Vibrant Pittsburgh Connection Accelerator - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

Vibrant Pittsburgh Connection Accelerator is an initiative aimed at fostering diverse talent in the Pittsburgh region to accelerate the business community towards equitable, inclusive, and diverse workplaces. The primary goal is to increase the diversity of the region's workforce by attracting, retaining, promoting, and educating people from all walks of life. The program offers mentorship to college students in Pittsburgh, where business professionals guide students to explore job opportunities. Additionally, the accelerator supports diverse communities through mini grants that fund various projects and collaborations within the region. The impact is seen through fostering connections, mentorship, and community collaboration. With a focus on diversity and inclusion, participants likely benefit from networking opportunities, exposure to professionals, and access to resources. Vibrant Pittsburgh Connection Accelerator plays a crucial role in promoting diversity and supporting talent development in the Pittsburgh area within industries such as Healthcare Tech and General Tech.

Vibrant Pittsburgh Connection Accelerator's Website
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Top Reasons Start-ups Participate In Accelerators

Holistic growth

Marketing, Sales, Tech, Ops, HR, Finance, Admin...... you can’t go wrong in any one field.

Developing business sense

Which metrics will make or break your start-up?- You can have 100k users and still fail.

Investor connect

Accelerators give an opening to many locked doors.

Peer learning

There’s not enough time in the world to learn from one’s own mistakes. Peer learning helps.

Why an accelerator might not be right for you

It's usually helpful to consider potential pitfalls. Some common misconceptions

It isn't about the exits

Accelerators and investors care much more about getting a return rather than building a business. However that's not a luxury founders can afford.

Figuring out the failure rates

Everyone can point to a few success stories. Though in general 95% of all start-ups fail. An important question is- what %ge of an accelerator's start-up survive after 3 years.

One-size fits all model

Most accelerators don't focus on a specific niche, which may not be very helpful if you are looking for domain expertise.

FAQs About Start-up Accelerators

Author Bio

Michael Li

Michael Li

For the last 10+ years Michael has helped start-ups of all scales and sizes succeed. A 2X entrepreneur, he is now working on Aerial to help founders avoid costly mistakes. He regularly writes for publications like the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Harvard Business Review and others.

Last updated date 4/5/2024

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Accelerators and Incubators in pittsburgh

Looking for the best accelerators in Pittsburgh? There are numerous reasons to choose an accelerator to kickstart your startup journey. From access to funding and resources to mentorship and networking opportunities, accelerators provide a supportive ecosystem for early-stage ventures. Pittsburgh's vibrant start-up culture offers a unique blend of innovation and collaboration, making it an ideal location for budding entrepreneurs to thrive. When selecting the right accelerator for your business, consider factors such as industry focus, mentorship quality, network connections, and track record of success. Choosing the right accelerator can significantly impact your company's growth and success, so take the time to research and find the best fit for your specific needs and goals. With a diverse range of accelerators in Pittsburgh catering to various industries and growth stages, there is undoubtedly one that aligns with your vision and ambitions. Notable start-ups that have emerged from Pittsburgh's accelerators include Duolingo, a language learning platform with over 300 million users worldwide, and Petuum, an artificial intelligence and machine learning company valued at over $1 billion. These success stories highlight the potential for growth and innovation that accelerators in Pittsburgh can offer. So, if you're ready to take your startup to the next level, explore the top accelerators in Pittsburgh and jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey today.

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