Continuing a trend I’ve remarked on before, two Pittsburgh design firms have recently been acquired.
BodyMedia was started in 1999 by a few guys I knew as a masters student at CMU. Chris Pacione was one of my professors, but is no longer with the company. I graduated with Ivo Stivoric, CTO and VP of new products, though I knew him as John. He was an industrial designer doing ground-breaking work with wearable computers. BodyMedia produces fitness armbands for weight and calorie management, activity tracking, and sleep monitoring. They’ve been used by the contestants on The Biggest Loser. A month ago, BodyMedia was acquired by Jawbone for over $100 million. I’m happy to hear that the team will remain intact here in Pittsburgh.
Gist Design was founded in 2002 by two friends of mine that also went through the CMU School of Design graduate program: John Beck and Shelley Moertel. They’ve done work with BodyMedia, as well as other medical device and consumer electronic manufacturers, focusing on “Research & Design with Practical Impact”. Earlier this month, Gist was acquired by TrueFit, a Pittsburgh-based innovation firm that helps entrepreneurial start-ups bring new technology product ideas to market.
Knowing the bright people that started these successful companies, I’m proud of their accomplishments, and I want to wish them all congratulations and best wishes for their futures. I hope merging with their new parent companies goes as smoothly as possible and that they are comfortable with any changes in corporate culture. In my experience, it can be a mixed bag.