Emerging tech cities – Pittsburgh and Portland

April 1, 2015

Employment in the tech field is surging, especially if you know where to look. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Portland, Oregon, are just two of the many forward-thinking cities where IT jobs are swiftly emerging.

Tech in Pittsburgh thrives via education and funding
There are approximately 177,000 tech professionals in Pittsburgh, and that number is growing quickly, according to The Atlantic. A 2014 report from the Pittsburgh Technology Council projects that figure to reach 200,000 by the year 2020.

The tech atmosphere of the city’s main educational institutions – the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University – has generated plenty of young talent in the area. CMU¬†is renowned as one of the top schools in the country for its programs in robotics and computer science.

Rich Lunak, the president and CEO of Pittsburgh-based Innovation Works, an investment firm for seed-stage companies, said that the city formerly stood behind smaller locales such as Hartford, Connecticut and Rochester, New York, when it came to capital funding for startup businesses. However, these days, Pittsburgh trails only Boston and Austin, Texas, per capita.

“Pittsburgh is right-sized for an entrepreneur,” Lunak told the publication. “You can move here, start a company here, and know that there are a lot of other companies that are going to create a soft landing if things don’t work out. And you can navigate it. You’re not lost in that ecosystem. It’s easy to find the support you need, to get involved, and get integrated. It’s a city with a Midwestern ethos or sensibility.”

Portland’s tech scene rising quickly
Geek Wire reported that venture capital funding for startups in Portland increased from $41 million in 2009 to approximately $139 million in 2013. The tech sector has been at the core of the city’s growing startup culture. Tech-savvy operations such as Airbnb, eBay and Google Fiber have made their way to the Rose City.

Diane Fraiman, a former entrepreneur who is now a venture capitalist with Portland-based Voyager Capital, told the news outlet that the city’s tech scene is thriving. However, that doesn’t mean it wants to replicate Silicon Valley, California.

“I think what we want is a very healthy, thriving, economically successful community overall – of which tech is a very key component,” Fraiman told the news outlet. “It’s a city where there are ideally companies doing $500 million and above, and we start to spawn companies from those companies that we can economically grow and sustain.”