While FortyX80 launched in March 2015 to support local entrepreneurs, we’re still receiving many questions and inquiries about this early-stage organization. We love chatting across the community, and we wanted to provide some clarity to our most frequently asked questions.
What is FortyX80?
FortyX80 is a 501c3 (charitable not-for-profit) organization that fosters the creation, education, and support needed for entrepreneurs to cultivate and build their businesses in Southwest PA.
Essentially, we will put Pittsburgh on the global map by helping local entrepreneurs connect with capital, service providers, mentors, and advisors. We will also help engage with Pittsburgh while outside of Pittsburgh. The work we do has a local, national, and global footprint.
What does FortyX80 mean?
FortyX80 is roughly the longitude and latitude of Pittsburgh. While the heart of Pittsburgh is actually 40.4421° N, 79.9763° W, we do support all of the southwestern Pennsylvania (and really liked the snappy sound of Forty-by-80), so we rounded the name accordingly.
Why was FortyX80 started?
Frankly, we know and saw the need. We’re shaping our work at FortyX80 after many years of supporting startups through the work at the Pittsburgh Technology Council. FortyX80’s targeted focus will assemble many of the missing pieces in a very complex but exciting era for Pittsburgh.
We know that building and supporting innovation and new companies requires a strong set of skills and information, along with connections and luck. Through collaboration with other organizations, we can forge new partnerships as they align with our mission.
There’s no one recipe in cultivating a sustainable tech-based economy. Pittsburgh has a lot of the right pieces in place, but we also have some gaping holes. We need to knit together our strongest capabilities and fill in the gaps to create a cohesive ecosystem that not only retains talent and companies, but attracts and sustains it.
How do we plan to execute?
Foster long-term relationships between Pittsburgh entrepreneurs and investors by leading outbound trips to other cities, and hosting and engaging seasoned out-of-town investors in Pittsburgh (it’s still about relationships, after all);
Educate entrepreneurs using the Kauffman Foundation’s educational seminars on startup business best practices and their collective experience in the research of innovative cities and regions;
Develop, grow and share online resources related to regional deal flow and national investment benchmarking, as well as university research and development;
Provide an on-the-ground presence in cities where venture investment is substantial;
Facilitate connections with experienced talent, including outreach both inside and outside of Pittsburgh, working closely with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh;
Assist in board development, executive leadership, and hard-to-find niche talent for companies;
Serve as the launchpad for other activities which align with the mission of growing a strong and dense entrepreneurial ecosystem.
We’re eradicating the notion that building companies in Pittsburgh is an impediment. Our priority is to ensure that investment capital is abundant for technology and innovation based entrepreneurs, incorporating the regular reporting of these metrics. We will also benchmark and measure Pittsburgh not just among past version of ourselves or other Rust Belt cities, but aspirational cities like Austin and Boulder, which have flourishing startup communities.
Do FortyX80 and the Pittsburgh Technology Council work together?
The Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC) is currently an investor in FortyX80. It serves as the controlling party in FortyX80 and its board appoints the FortyX80 board.
While the two organizations have similar goals of supporting the tech community, we focus on different stages and types of entrepreneurship. There will be some overlapping opportunities given the PTC’s robust network and offerings, but we operate independently.
Fortyx80’s sharp focus is that of the earliest stages of entrepreneurship – venture capital, education, outreach, talent, and connections. The PTC focuses on visibility, government relations, business development, and talent retention for companies of all sizes.
Where there are overlapping opportunities, these organizations, along with other organizations, will work together.
Who can benefit from connecting with FortyX80?
Anyone who plans to start and incubate a technology business in Southwestern PA. We are representative of people who are taking a risk to start their businesses.
If you’re an entrepreneur, we want to see you succeed– whether you just have an idea, are raising capital, or are looking to hire seasoned talent. In addition, we encourage venture capitalists, incubators, accelerators, lawyers, human resource organizations, and educators to connect with us. Together we will thrive.
Still have questions? Leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.