The Innovation Project: Matt Stewart & Justin Sabo

Matt Stewart & Justin Sabo and Cofounders of Digital Dream Labs.

(left) Matt Stewart, Cofounder
Justin Sabo, Cofounder
Digital Dream Labs


When Justin Sabo was accepted into Innovation Works’ AlphaLab, he made the bold decision to leave his full-time job as a game designer and pursue the company he cofounded, Digital Dream Labs.

Sabo and Cofounder Matt Stewart started Digital Dream Labs to “make people care about the real world through fun, game-driven experiences,” says Sabo.

The company, which works out of Alloy 26, does so through Puzzlets, a platform on which young students can play video games that help them learn about STEAM subjects – science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“Think classic arcade games meet chess,” says Sabo. “Kids think it's fun. Teachers and parents really know it's about learning about coding, math, chemistry and beyond at a much younger age.”

To play, parents or teachers must purchase Digital Dream Labs’ custom hardware – available on Amazon and in select Toys “R” Us stores – and can then download the Puzzlets app for free. Today, customers are evenly split between individual parents and school systems, but Sabo expects the company’s sales base to shift more toward schools in the future.

While most people would be hesitant to leave a steady job to pursue a start-up, Sabo’s leap is paying off. Since its launch, Digital Dream Labs has received additional funding from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and has been featured in USA Today Tech, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Mechanics, Good Housekeeping and more.

Sabo says Digital Dreams Labs’ “focus on fun with custom-built hardware for a unique learning environment” sets the company apart.

“Instead of putting education first, by putting fun first, kids will actually opt into the learning,” he says.

It’s also this element of entertainment that Sabo feels has brought the company success.

"Is it fun yet?" he asks. “If not, try something else. Then repeat.”

With this approach in mind, Digital Dream Labs strives to “put out as many great games as possible then offer customers new hardware that offers experiences they can't find anywhere else,” says Sabo.


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Watch: The Terrible Towel and 45 Years of Steelers Nation

Perspectives from Franco Harris to Joe Manganiello.

Yinzers Eating Chicken Wings Are Going to Be on TV

Mt. Washington’s Bigham Tavern is the latest ‘Burgh eatery to host a film crew.

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

32 Years Celebrating Pittsburghers of the Year

As we honor the 2017 Pittsburghers of the year, take a look back at the previous honorees and their significant, unforgettable contributions to our city.

Wish a Steeler a Speedy Recovery in a Big Way

An oversized get-well-soon card for Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is waiting for your signature Downtown.

Watch: Who is Faster on a Zamboni? Crosby or Malkin?

Sid and Geno love to compete, especially against each other. This time, the future Hall-of-Famers climbed aboard Zamboni machines for a race across a parking lot.

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.