Piloting Your Product in Local Government

The 2016 Pgh Lab Cohort Recap Posted 12.29.2016
Written by Annia Aleman
The 2016 Pgh Lab Cohort Recap
PGH Lab has successfully completed its first cycle. For a limited engagement of 3-4 months, local startups were given a window of opportunity to adjust, pivot, and relaunch their products while working within local government. Earlier this month, our inaugural cohort - Renergé, HiberSense, and TransitSource - presented the results of their pilot.

The pilot period encourages entrepreneurs to think creatively and overcome unexpected challenges during the pilot period. For example, The Water Horse by Renergé was deployed in a nearby site location on the Mon Wharf. Due to slow river flow, the Water Horse could not reach its optimal functionality. One alternative way to address this challenge was to attach the Water Horse to a speed boat to get a sense of its functionality at various speed rates. As a result, Renergé was able to collect valuable data confirming the Water Horse’s capability to generate energy.

In the case of HiberSense, before entering the PGH Lab program, the company had only piloted their product in residential facilities. While participating in the program, the company was able to test its new technology at a larger scale on the 11th floor of the Ross Street Building where the Urban Redevelopment Authority is located. By learning about the URA’s HVAC system, HiberSense was able to discover that the Authority could potentially save 20 percent in HVAC savings.

TransitSource piloted its Sentinel Boxes in one of Pittsburgh’s busiest streets, Negley Avenue. With the help of four dedicated volunteers, the seven-week pilot program yielded to a total of 239 trips equal to 65 miles on the road. This was the first time the Sentinel Boxes were tested at a larger scale. TransitSource reported that of the 7,604 passing events, 2,500 of those were within four feet of the bicyclist which in the state of Pennsylvania that is considered to be an ‘unsafe pass’. Results from the pilot period concluded that 1 in 3 passing events were not only unsafe, but unlawful.

What began as a small pilot program, admitting only three local startups, is gearing up to become a more robust program in 2017. The Application period for PGH Lab 2.0 will open in late January. Stay tuned!

Check out photos of each company in our previous blog: PGH Lab 2016 Companies

For more information on each company, please check out their website: