Application Process

Minimum Criteria
  • All sections of application must be filled out
  • Applicants must commit to participate for the full length of program (Check Program Timeline)
  • Must be a startup defined as:
    • The company must be a legally registered company
    • The company must be headquartered in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh based preferred)
    • The company must have a working Beta-stage, pilot-ready product/service ready to be tested at the City and/or Participant Organizations.

PGH Lab review committee will base the selection process according to the following:

  • Met Minimum Criteria required (Refer to “who can apply?”)
  • Innovation: Does the product already exist? To what extent is the product innovative? How does it fit with the needs of the City and participant g organizations?
  • Impact: Would the beta product lead to short-term or long-term outcomes that will benefit the city and its residents? Would it provide the solution to pressing civic issues?
  • Feasibility: Can the product be realistically implemented in the City given the current resources and capabilities? What kinds of actions will it require the City or the Participant Organizations to accomplish to make the pilot program successful?

I want to sell my product to the city. Is this the right venue?

PGH Lab provides local startups with an opportunity to test their product with the City. This process may lead to procurement, but it is not a fast-track to procurement. As part of a PGH Lab pilot, the City is not purchasing a startup’s product or service; they are merely testing it. The City will not compensate the startup at a market rate for the use of its product or service, and all products will be returned to the startup upon completion of the pilot. Startups interested in selling their product/service to the City should refer to Beacon, the new procurement site for city postings.

I am responding to an Request for Proposals (RFP) announced by the city. Can I submit my response here?

This is not a venue to sell the City products or services, initiate a procurement agreement, become an approved vendor, or respond to an RFP. Please refer to Beacon and City Procurement Procedures for these actions.

Does the city offer financial support to startups participating in PGH Lab?

The City works hard to connect startups to a network of resources here in Pittsburgh to support their growth and their ability to sustain a pilot. The City cannot compensate the startup for use of its product or service.

I want the Mayor to announce support for my company / initiative? Is this the right outlet to make my request?

Participants in the PGH Lab program will receive public attention from the City. However, the PGH Lab program is not the portal for requesting a formal letter of support from the Mayor.

Can startups not located in Allegheny County still apply?

At this time, we are not accepting applicants from outside Allegheny County. However, a later phase of the PGH Lab program may be open to a broader range of startups. That said, we are always interested in working with innovative startups who have great ideas. There may be other opportunities to explore beyond the parameters of the PGH Lab program. Please direct inquiries to pghlab@pittsburghpa.gov.

What if I am an established company?

PGH Lab defines “startup” according to the phase a pilot product is in rather than the age or size of the company. If you have products/services with revenue streams but have a pilot ready product that is pre customer, you should still apply. The pilot would only test that betaphase product.

What if I have a product ready for pilot testing but already have paying customers?

Companies with paid pilots or paying customers are eligible to apply. However, we expect most applying companies to have none or very little revenue.

Will the city keep my product/service at the end of the pilot?

Any equipment used will not be retained or considered property of the city, and will be returned at the end of the pilot.

What are the benefits to startups who participate in this program?

Startups have an opportunity to test their product. This test case is valuable in seeking investors and customers. Startups will also be connected to a range of city resources. The city will also provide the startup with public recognition and support.

What support and resources will the city provide before, during, and after the pilot?

The city will provide a dedicated program liasion; access to any equipment, infrastructure, or staff required to successfully execute the pilot; space at the City building for on-site work; publicity around the pilot launch, execution, and completion; and Consistent communication throughout the process.

What resources and commitment will be required of participating startups?

The goal for both startups and the city is to have successfully completed pilots. To that end, a Startup must have time, staff, equipment, and other required resources to sustain and complete a 3-4 months’ pilot. In addition, the startup is required to allocate time for weekly check-in meetings with project manager, meetings with city champions, and company presentation day. Please check the PGH Lab Rules & Regulations Booklet, section XI, for detail information on expectations.