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2 Pittsburgh companies rank high on LinkedIn’s top startups list

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Aurora Innovation puts a Lincoln equipped with its self-driving technology on display during an open house at its Pittsburgh office in June 2018.

Two self-driving car companies in Pittsburgh cracked the top 20 of LinkedIn’s ranking of top startups in the United States.

Aurora Innovation checked in at No. 9 and Argo AI ranked No. 17 in the list released Thursday by the employment website, which says it has 575 million users.

An article accompanying LinkedIn’s list described Pittsburgh as a “white-collar talent magnet with the research hubs, cultural delights and manageable housing costs that startups cherish.”

LinkedIn said about 17 percent of Argo’s 350 employees studied at either the University of Pittsburgh or Carnegie Mellon University, and company CEO Bryan Salesky has degrees from both. The Strip District-based company landed a $1 billion investment from Ford Motors shortly after launching operations in December 2016.

Aurora, which has about 160 employees, is based locally in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood and has California offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto. Co-founder and CEO Chris Urmson, who LinkedIn said has been listed as an inventor on more than 60 patents, earned a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.

In 2007, Salesky and Urmson helped lead a Carnegie Mellon team that collaborated with General Motors to victory in the DARPA Urban Grand Challenge , a 60-mile driverless car race.

Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at [email protected] or via Twitter @FontainePGH.

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