Avenu Company Spotlight: WebKite

WebKite is a small advertising technology company located at our 1936 Fifth Ave. studio. They specialize in marketing inventory on search and social exchanges like Google, Bing and Facebook. They work with major brands in automotive, real estate, healthcare and consumer goods to create highly-specific product ads that motivate buyers to click and purchase. WebKite’s products leverage machine learning for the benefit of the everyday business owner seeking to sell more of their specialized, high-margin inventory. Their core belief is that much of advertising today does not account for the benefits of where technology and consumer behavior intersects – they are fixing that. Read more from the perspective of CEO, Mark Heckmann.

What is one thing people are surprised to learn about your company?
You would be surprised to learn that in our early days, WebKite routinely hired PhD Philosophers and trained them how to code as software engineers. We found that these types of professionals were expert in solving logic problems, which is fundamental to many programming challenges our company faced at the time. It made for a very interesting work environment and a great mixture of intellectual strengths within teams.

What is one goal for 2018?

One goal for 2018 would be to further productize in our key verticals. We “grew up” in automotive, and that expertise created residual opportunities in real estate and healthcare. We have plenty of use cases to solve for in those markets, so I’m looking forward to deepening our understanding and our offerings in those verticals.

Why Avenu?
Avenu has proven to be a key part of our success. Our company has fluctuated in size over the years, but the diversity of real estate holdings allowed us to move and remain in a tax-advantaged location without disrupting our operation. The staff continues to be very supportive of our business and understanding of any needs we have. I have always liked the residual benefits of being near downtown but locating in an up-and-coming area like Uptown – my team supports local businesses and appreciates how the neighborhood continues to evolve. I personally identify with how Avenu positions it’s coworking strategy as but part of a larger vision; where other office spaces would treat our being there as simply just another rental agreement, Avenu integrates you into its larger roster of promising companies and innovation players. That’s a serious amenity, almost better than the free parking!

Thirsty Scholar Bar and Grille – Food for Thought, Thirst for Knowledge

Thirsty Scholar Bar and Grille, located at 3610 Fifth Avenue in Oakland, is one of the area’s latest spots for good eats and cool drinks. Having opened in June of this year in the former location of the Campus Bookstore, Thirsty Scholar provides an enjoyable atmosphere – perfect for unwinding after work, going out with friends, or simply grabbing that burger and wings you’ve been craving. Mike Chizmar, owner of Thirsty Scholar, transformed his former book store’s ~5,000 square feet space into a lively and happening bar, grille and bottle shop and really enjoys serving up some of his establishments’ amazing bites and brews. Going from a book store to a bar and grille is quite a 180 degree turn, and Mike is happy he did. “We’re a family-owned restaurant – my wife, Joanne Chizmar, brother-in-law, Mike Meinert, and I are all mangers, and we love providing a place where the college students and the area’s employees can unwind!” said Chizmar.

Thirsty Scholar has incredible, mouth-watering food options, too, with ‘Daily Grille Specials’ for only $6 – featuring tacos, wings, quesadillas and appetizer specials on certain days of the week. “We press our own burgers and use Mancini’s Bread on all sandwiches and burgers for extra quality… Not to mention, we also make a fantastic grilled or fried chicken salad that’s topped with fires and cheese,” said Chizmar. “We know how busy everyone is in Oakland and actually offer a ‘Lunch Express’ option on the menu! ‘Lunch Express is offered Monday through Friday from 11AM-4PM featuring a burger and fries or a chicken salad – dine in or carry out – for only $6!” he continued.

Thirsty Scholar is also a bottle shop with many varieties of craft beers and other beverages. “We kept a little of our retail roots here at Thirsty Scholar and offer over 300 bottles of craft beer which you can mix-and-match as a six pack and 150 varieties of wine!” said Chizmar. “When we started, we knew that the restaurant and bar business would be a learning curve and that we were literally building it from the ground up, but we have a nice, aesthetically pleasing place now, and we welcome anyone who steps in!” said Chizmar.

Hours
Mon – Thurs: 11a – 12p
Fri: 11a – 1a
Sat: 4p – 1a
Sun: 12p – 10p

UPMC Presbyterian Kicks Off Wellness Wednesday

On Wednesday, September 13, 2017, UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland held its Wellness Wednesday kick-off event as a fun and informational day full of demos, tips, and a plant-based culinary workshop to promote healthy lifestyles to its busy staff.

“Wellness Wednesday is a great program for everyone at UPMC Presbyterian to promote wellness and to make our cafeteria a hub of health and nutrition… our goal is to expand this into a monthly program,” said Robert Franz, retail manager at the hospital. “This is a huge accomplishment, and it’s great to have such collaborative efforts from different departments within the organization to make this fun and informative event possible.”

The UPMC Presbyterian Cafeteria actually has a Silver Plate designation level through the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program.

Wellness Wednesday began with a healthy cooking demonstration at the entrance of the UPMC Presbyterian Cafeteria where Chef Ray Wesolowski and Dietitian Gretchen Zehner prepared a Mexican Quinoa for guests. They presented the recipe’s health benefits, answered questions and even served up delicious samples of the finished product! The day also consisted of other meatless food samplings and featured recipes with Kate Watts, Food & Nutrition Coordinator with the Humane Society of the United States, who held a presentation and discussion. UPMC Health Plan also hosted a Health Coach table for guests to have face-to-face conversations with experts, and MyHealth at Work gave employees a chance to learn more about the new UPMC Presbyterian clinic. Other informational tables were present as resources promoting wellness and healthy living.

A Plant Strong Culinary Workshop also took place in the Scaife Conference Center, featuring speakers from the hospital and the Humane Society’s Forward Food program. This workshop hosted a hands-on plant-based culinary and educational training for health professionals.

“We’re very proud of this event and the team that lead the charge: Chef Ray Wesolowski, Dietitians Gretchen Zehner and Elise Wade and Jean Nichloech. We hope to have other UPMC hospitals replicate Wellness Wednesday,” said Franz.

Oakland Welcomes The Law Offices Of Matthew S. Feinman

Are you looking for legal service but you do not want to spend an arm and a leg to get it done? Stop by the Law Offices of Matthew S. Feinman, located at 3504 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. Having already helped many clients with law services in contracts, small business, real estate and entertainment, Attorney Feinman is as reliable and versatile as he is affordable.

“I’m not a nickel-and-dime kind of guy,” said Matthew, “and I’m definitely not the kind of attorney who overcharges and underworks…I’m typically in the office by 9AM, but given certain situations I’ve been known to be in here as late as 2AM working for a client,” he continued.
Despite only working in Oakland since last December, Oakland stretches deeper back into Attorney Feinman’s roots. Feinman can attribute all of his law education and degree to Oakland’s very own University of Pittsburgh. His first office was located in the Barco Law Building of the University of Pittsburgh, which led to his transfer over to his current office down the street. But why stay in Oakland?

“I love the atmosphere of Oakland,” explains Attorney Feinman. “I can go into any store, and I swear I haven’t yet met anyone here unhappy with what they’re doing.” Feinman also notes the practical perk of working in Oakland. “It’s convenient! I live in Squirrel Hill, and I can walk to my office if necessary. It’s also great for my clients because I’m in close enough proximity that they don’t have to pay $20 in parking just to see me for a half hour.”

The Law Offices of Matthew S. Feinman specialize in many categories, such as small business law, contracts, real estate, tenant/landlord relations, entertainment and bankruptcy — among others; however, Feinman makes sure to clarify the following: “I serve everybody and anybody. No matter who calls, I’ll have a way to help them out.”

Law Offices of Matthew S. Feinman
3504 Fifth Ave
1st Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Revv Oakland And Startuptown Merge To Form Avenu

Revv Oakland and StartUptown are merging to form Avenu, a not-for-profit entity with a renewed commitment to equitable economic development in the Fifth/Forbes corridor spanning Uptown and Oakland.

“The new identity, Avenu, captures both our mission — to drive equitable economic development in the corridor — and our geographic footprint. We currently operate seven locations in the Fifth Avenue/Forbes Avenue corridor,”explains acting Executive Director Tad Hale, “and plan to activate additional sites in the corridor to provide increased opportunities for retail, live-work spaces, flexible work spaces and other development.”

StartUptown and Revv Oakland housed some of the region’s most recognizable technology startups that achieved exits — NoWait, Shoefitr, Rhiza, Allpoint Systems, and Powered Analytics — and continue to serve numerous early stage counterparts that are on similar trajectories — StitchFix, Containership and Forest Devices among them. Despite finding success in coworking, founders of both organizations cite a larger vision, beyond just flexible workspace, as motivation.

Furthering this collective vision, Avenu will connect people and programs through place-making, to help create an equitable community of residents, builders and entrepreneurs. “We are collaborative by nature and are eager to participate in transformative projects where we can add lasting value,” says Hale, “We are committed to building a vibrant, equitable corridor by attracting more community-based startups, while continuing to support tech, social, and maker businesses.”

Avenu is increasing its community engagement by making its spaces more available and by partnering to bring increased programming into the corridor.

Avenu unveils its new website (www.avenu-pgh.com) on September 15, 2017.