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Pittsburgh data company Niche plans to double workforce |

Pittsburgh data company Niche plans to double workforce

Nicole C. Brambila

A Pittsburgh-based startup that helps people choose schools, neighborhoods and companies is set to double its workforce by year’s end with a $2 million investment from a former AOL executive.

Niche, an online platform for informed decision-making, announced the $2 million investment from Tim Armstrong, CEO and founder of dtx company and a former CEO of AOL and Google advertising exec.

The outlays mean the small company, which had nearly 50 full-time employees in 2017, will grow to about 100 by year’s end.

“As millennials move into parenthood and Gen Z goes off to college, the decision-making process around how and why we choose schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces is dramatically changing,” Armstrong said in a statement. “Niche’s platform is ahead of this shift, empowering consumers with greater insight and helping schools thrive in an environment of increased competition.”

The investment will be used to grow Niche’s sales and marketing, Luke Skurman, the company’s founder and CEO, told the Tribune-Review Friday.

Last year, the Pittsburgh data company raised $6.6 million.

“These are not entry-level, part-time workers, “Skurman said. “These are real jobs. We’re growing really fast, and we’re excited about that.”

Launched in 2013, Niche helps users decide where to live, work and go to school through 100 million ratings and community reviews and 200,000 school profiles.

About 50 million people used Niche last year for making such decisions, according to the company’s website.

Choosing a college, a neighborhood or a company can be a daunting experience. Originally from San Francisco, Skurman got the idea for the startup after moving to Pittsburgh for college.

“It’s really these seminal moments that can change the trajectory of your life,” Skurman said. “It’s not just about where to get your education, but where are you going to fit in.”

Nicole C. Brambila is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Nicole at 724-226-7704, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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