Share This Page

Corbett says California trade mission lines up prospects

| Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, 12:36 p.m.

During a two-day “trade mission” to Silicon Valley, Gov. Tom Corbett said a delegation of Pennsylvania entrepreneurs and state officials made headway with California companies interested in investing in the commonwealth.

“This is a courtship period, to demonstrate what Pennsylvania has available for companies,” said Corbett during a conference call on Wednesday.

As a result, two information technology companies in California agreed to check out Pennsylvania's prospects soon, he said, declining to name the companies.

The governor, along with 15 entrepreneurs and CMU and Pittsburgh Technology Council officials, visited 40 California venture capitalists and executives of established technology companies, such as Facebook Inc., Hewlett Packard Co., Electronic Arts Inc. and Google Inc.

“The purpose of the meetings can be described in one word, and that's ‘jobs,' to bring them to Pennsylvania,” Corbett said during the call, which was held on Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley campus in Moffett Field, Calif.

The governor and others on the trade mission met with executives of Google on Tuesday, to discuss the company's presence in Pennsylvania, including its office in East Liberty.

“Pennsylvania has been a great home to Google Pittsburgh, where we have more than 200 employees,” said Jordan Newman, spokesman for the Mountain View, Calif., company. “We were happy to have the governor visit our headquarters to learn about Google and find ways to continue to work together.”

Tom Joseph, CEO of Epiphany Solar Water Systems Inc., New Castle, was one entrepreneur who met with some of the California venture capitalists, whose combined assets are worth more than $20 billion, according to Corbett's office.

Joseph's early-stage company produces a solar-powered water-purification system aimed at helping an estimated 2 billion people without much access to drinkable water.

“When I'm in Pittsburgh, a lot of investors I talk to say I'm thinking too big,” Joseph said. “When I say we have these water systems that are going to change the world, they say, ‘can't you take it step-by-step first?”

Joseph said he “can't think that way” and is more attuned to most California venture capitalists, “who don't even want to talk to you unless you've got a billion-dollar idea.”

Corbett said California's technology companies and their investors seemed especially interested in Pennsylvania for its relatively low cost of energy and the high caliber of its college graduates, particularly those from CMU.

“We want to attract companies to use the students we have in Pennsylvania, and to use them in Pennsylvania,” Corbett said.

“The interest in Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh is strong. It's not to be underestimated,” said Audrey Russo, president of the Technology Council, which helped organized the trip.

“Everyone is extremely interested,” in possible investments in this region, Russo said of the California venture capitalists. “But it takes time to build this type of community.”

Thomas Olson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached a 412-320-7854 or at tolson@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.