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Worldwide Magazine Recognizes Pittsburgh Web Studio

Five years was all it took for Matt Griffin and his team of web developers to step from a leaky basement in Wilkinsburg into the international spotlight.

“A quarter of the ceiling dripped water whenever it rained or snowed, so we couldn’t put any computers over there,” Griffin said, chuckling. “That’s fairly humble beginnings.”

Now, Griffin’s web design and development business, “Bearded,” is one of the top 20 nominations for .net Magazine’s 2014 “Agency of the Year” award. The Pittsburgh-based operation, led by a team of six people, emerged from a pool of more than 2,000 nominations.

“Bearded,” which creates websites and applications for companies, bridges the gap between designers and programmers.

“It seemed natural to put designers and developers in the same room together and have them collaborate as much as possible to produce better web products,” Griffin said.

When Griffin founded “Bearded” in 2008, that’s exactly what it was: a designer and a developer in the same room. Griffin and a developer worked from home with the idea of creating better web developments for nonprofits.

After six months, the project “expanded quickly,” and Griffin hired most of the team that makes up the agency today.

A content strategist was added recently to expand the agency’s offerings.

“We don’t want to just build beautiful boxes to stuff content into,” Griffin said. “We actually want to help people strategize their content for mobile and the web.”

"Bearded’s" clients include the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 9/11 Tribute Center, Sprout Fund, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

The .net Magazine top 20 for “Agency of the Year” will be narrowed to five finalists on March 24, when the public vote ends. From there, a panel of industry experts from the magazine will select a winner, which will be revealed in London, England in May.