Why Google, Uber, and Facebook Are Flocking to This Quiet Rust Belt City

The old factories and warehouses dotting the Alle­gheny River make up Robotics Row, where Edge Case Research–which, among other things, tests self-driving-car soft­­ware–works out of 19th-century stables…

Dave Mawhinney is connected to power players like Craig Markovitz, founder of Blue Belt Technologies, and Robb Myer, founder of Nowait. But before he joined Carnegie Mellon as executive director of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship and its Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneur­ship, he co-founded mSpoke, a content-recommendation engine acquired by LinkedIn in 2010.

You’re no entrepreneur until you’ve been hit by “a two-by-Frank,” Carnegie Mellon’s Mawhinney jokes, referring to Frank Demmler, who takes credit for more than 500 companies, some 10,000 jobs, and $1 billion in investment capital. A managing director at Riverfront Ventures and a VP at Innovation Works, Demmler is a local startup whisperer.