Timothy Tannert grew up in Akron, Ohio. Chris Anderson made his start in southern California. Now they’ve come together to lead Innotescus, a tech startup that is redefining video’s role in artificial intelligence. And you won’t find them in their old home towns anymore.
Instead, they have set up shop in Pittsburgh.
Never mind the Pennsylvania city’s long-ago legacy as a steel town. Today, Pittsburgh is rich with expertise in fields such as robotics, AI and machine vision. Many of Innotescus’s 13 employees honed their skills at local institutions such as Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh.
“The talent pool in our space is fantastic here,” says Tannert, the start-up’s chief executive. (Anderson is the chief technical officer.) The company has three additional job openings now, and the bosses expect to fill each spot with local hires.
The past 18 months have been a bumpy time across the United States for developing technical talent. On-site training became difficult or impossible, because of pandemic-related restrictions. Meanwhile, renowned tech hubs such as the San Francisco Bay Area or the New York City metro area saw migration trends turn negative. A big driver in that trend: engineers leaving the region in search of cheaper living costs elsewhere.
Even so, some smaller cities in the Midwest, the South and the Mountain time zone have shown surprising resilience. An analysis by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team, as seen in the chart below, highlights the 10 cities that fared best from December 2019 through May 2021, in terms of preserving or enhancing their status as tech hubs.