Recently, in September of 2021, Spectacle had the unique opportunity to sponsor and present at the first-ever RustBuilt Conference in Pittsburgh on the value of branding for startups. The day-long event included stories from local founders, panel discussions with investors, breakout sessions with experts, and culminated in a pitch slam for early-stage startups. Not only was the event a boot camp for the hundreds of founders in attendance, but a celebration of the incredible startup community that is flourishing in the city of Pittsburgh. Our team left the conference feeling inspired, energized, and grateful to be a part of this incredible community.
The startup scene in The Steel City garnered national attention this July as Duolingo gained unicorn status after going public. For those who have spent time in Pittsburgh, the idea of another billion-dollar valuation emerging from the city was not a surprise — it was inevitable. A world-class talent pipeline supported by Carnegie Mellon and UPitt as well as a low cost of living have certainly helped create the conditions necessary for entrepreneurial success. However, there is an energy and spirit here that is more intangible. Perhaps it’s the melding of East Coast hustle with Midwest empathy — whatever it is, it’s working.
Spectacle got its first taste of the talent in Pittsburgh in early 2019 when we started working with Fifth Season (formerly known as RoBotany). The robotics-enabled, AI-optimized vertical farm was built in Braddock alongside old steel mills — a metaphor for the renaissance occurring in this historic city. Fifth Season acts as the perfect anecdote to the young startups rapidly growing across Pittsburgh: as more young companies gain success, more venture capital flows into the city — it’s a cycle of continued growth. Today, we continue to work with quickly growing startups in the city of unexpected possibility. This past August, we unveiled the full rebrand of CoPilot — another Pittsburgh-born-and-bred startup poised for success.
As a branding agency, we are passionate about elevating the stories that deserve to be told. Pittsburgh is booming with founders, products, and ideas capable of changing the game. The RustBuilt event was just the latest example of the incredible momentum that continues to build in the city of steel. We are excited to continue to be a part of it all.