I don’t have time for a long posting this morning, but I wanted to pass on a bit of news that I noticed. It seems Pittsburgh (or in this case PA’s) other public source of funding for Pittsburgh Entrepreneurs has announced its awards. While Pittsburgh’s AlphaLab is the most well known local funding vehicle that’s built on public funds, there are others. Last week, The Technology Collaborative announced that 8 of the 10 companies that will split the $1M they are contributing this year are Pittsburgh based. While it’s great to hear that Pittsburgh companies are getting some money, there are two things that make me a bit uneasy.
First, I don’t necessarily believe in the dolling out of public funds to companies. I think (and have mentioned in 1, 2, 3 related posts) that the role of government when it comes to the technology startup scene is to invest in the infrastructure (tax codes, zoning, etc…) that enables the startup scene to exist; as opposed to investing directly in that system. Public funds have a tendency to produce wastes in such systems (as they do in all systems). However, if the government is going to invest it’s better in those types of programs (small investments in small companies) then in giving giant tax breaks to big companies.
Second, the amount is actually quite low. If you remember, back in February, the Technology Collaborative’s funding was slashed by $600,000 to $1.2M (which of course is higher then the $1.0M that it appears was actually given out. I guess these funds got decreased further without me noticing the story, a shame.