Monday, September 17, 2012

Business news briefs: Oakland language startup raises $15 million in funds - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Oakland language startup raises $15 million in funds

Duolingo, an Oakland-based startup founded by Carnegie Mellon University assistant professor of computer science Luis Von Ahn, has raised $15 million in Series B funding from New Enterprise Associates and Union Square Ventures. The money will go toward hiring and promoting the service internationally. Duolingo is a free language learning service that uses participants' answers to translate Web pages.

Aquion Energy gets loan for Westmoreland facility

Aquion Energy, the Lawrenceville-based battery technology firm, has secured a $10 million loan from the rural development division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency announced Monday. The money will buy equipment and help retrofit the Westmoreland County facility being used by the Carnegie Mellon University spin-off to roll out its first products. The company said the facility will create approximately 500 jobs when at full capacity. Aquion's manufacturing facility is a 250,000-square-foot space leased in East Huntington that is part of the complex that previously housed a Sony manufacturing facility.

Fire at RTI plant in Ohio likely to cut Q3 income

RTI International Metals said its third quarter operating income may be reduced by $1.25 million to $1.75 million because of an electrical transformer fire Sunday at its Canton, Ohio, plant. No one was injured and no production equipment or customer products were damaged, the Moon titanium producer said. RTI expects power to be restored before the end of the month.

County shuts down bar, food stand in Homewood

An unnamed bar/nightclub and adjacent barbecue stand on Frankstown Avenue in Homewood were ordered closed Sunday by the Allegheny County Nuisance Bar Task Force. An inspection found numerous health code violations, including operating without a health permit or liquor license, evidence of mice, liquor adulterated with fruit flies and building and fire code violations, according to a the Allegheny County Health Department.

CEO: No alliance between Qatar, British airlines

The head of Qatar Airways dismissed suggestions Monday that the fast-growing Gulf carrier is pursuing an alliance with British Airways' parent company. CEO Akbar al-Baker told reporters that talk of a deal is nothing more than "press rumors." The Financial Times earlier this month reported that BA parent International Airlines Group had held talks with carriers, including Qatar, about an alliance focused on Asia.

Fed report: Consumer doubt hurts employment

The U.S. unemployment rate would be around 7 percent instead of 8 percent to 9 percent without the current level of doubt among consumers about economic issues including fiscal policy, a Federal Reserve study released Monday showed. "The private sector responds to rising uncertainty by cutting back spending, leading to a rise in unemployment and reductions in both output and inflation," researchers wrote.

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