Our Mission

FortyX80 exists to catapult the growth of entrepreneurs across southwestern Pennsylvania.

This is accomplished by strengthening the region's entrepreneurial framework through: increased access to capital, educational programming, and promoting SWPA globally as a premier location for start-ups, talent, and technology.

Partnerships with foundations, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, educational institutions, and other government and economic development entities are central to this mission.

 

Resources

FortyX80 is supported by grants made by foundations, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and seed funding from the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

 

We meet with Pittsburgh's growth-stage start-ups to assist in establishing connections with global funders and commercial partners.  Our Watch List is a group of innovative, investment-ready companies. Reach out to our Director of Growth Capital, Ketaki Desai, to join the Watch List.

ketaki@fortyx80.org

Watch List

 

Meet Our Team

 

Audrey Russo 

President

audrey@fortyx80.org

As CEO and President of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, FortyX80 was born from a need Audrey saw after years working with local tech companies – Pittsburgh entrepreneurs need someone supporting the ecosystem as a whole, especially when it comes to much-needed venture capital investment and early-stage business development. From meeting with investors to forging new partnerships, Audrey steers the FortyX80 ship in the direction of strengthening Southwest PA’s entrepreneurial community.

When she’s not busy representing the interests of regional tech entrepreneurs (a rarity), you can find her hosting entrepreneurs at her home, dining at Pittsburgh’s best restaurants, working out at the JCC, and palling around town with her infamous cockapoo, Gracie.


Ketaki-Desai.png

Dr. Ketaki Desai recently stepped down as the Executive Director of the LindenPointe Development Corporation (LDC) in Hermitage, PA. During her tenure, the heartland business incubator launched the Venture Investment Accelerator fund, developed a pilot startup accelerator program, started the Entrepreneurship Academy, connected the entrepreneurial community in western Pennsylvania with resources to Pittsburgh, Youngstown and Erie and forged partnerships with several local colleges. 

Before the incubator, Ketaki co-founded an education technology startup (LeSyn Labs) and a manufacturing analytics startup (Plantmetrix) in Pittsburgh, was a partner in a healthcare tech startup (BlenderHouse) and ran business development for a service-based startup in India. She was also product owner for the team that developed the first iPad-based CCSS. 

Ketaki was born in India, raised in the Middle East and enjoys traveling around the world with her husband to experience new cultures. She is a big fan of adventure sports and practices the martial arts.  

KETAKI      DESAI

Director, Growth Capital

ketaki@fortyx80.org