Ascender’s 2020–2021 Incubator

Ascender’s 2020–2021 Incubator

The initial year of any new business venture tests most founders’ strength, commitment, and ingenuity. Throw in a global pandemic and an overnight shift to ‘virtual everything,’ and you’ve got a true test of perseverance.

Our 2020–2021 Incubator cohort of eight Pittsburgh-based early-stage companies from various industries, including education, food & beverage, and finance, didn’t shy away from the challenge. Instead, they approached last year as an opportunity to grow and build their best businesses.

“Ascender’s [Incubator], to me, is talented people with passion and great ideas who are ready to take their ideas to the next level,” commented Bobby Zappala, Ascender board chair, during a final cohort presentation event. And take it to the next level, they did.

Just a few of the many accomplishments that the cohort achieved include:

“It’s been a hard year for everyone, but especially for entrepreneurs who have had to adapt to a virtual world, pivot, and change their business models completely. We’re proud of what our 2020–2021 Incubator cohort accomplished and encourage them to utilize the Ascender network they’ve built along the way to continue growing,” said Annia Aleman, Ascender’s Innovation Director.

The growth doesn’t have to stop. Here’s how you can help our companies thrive:

  1. Make an introduction: Personal relationships are fundamental to the success of any business. Who in your network can help move these companies forward?
  2. Connect them to investors: Are you or someone you know interested in investing in one of these innovative new solutions? Support the companies’ fundraising efforts to build and scale.
  3. Share your expertise: Entrepreneurs learn the most from other entrepreneurs. Volunteer your time and skills to provide mentorship to these driven startup founders.

Reach out to the companies directly or contact our team for more ways to get involved.

2020–2021 Incubator Companies

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From fledgling tech companies, healthcare innovators, and nonprofits to makers, creators, services and shops, Ascender is for Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurs. We help businesses of all types in the Pittsburgh region start and build a business through education and connectivity. See how Ascender can help you.


3 Simple Ways to Help Our Entrepreneurs was originally published in Ascender on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.