Where Pittsburgh’s Industrial History Meets a More Equitable Future

Curl’s Best Friend was accepted into AlphaLab Gear’s most recent cohort of companies in October. The program is now in its third cycle. Companies get either $25,000 or $50,000 in exchange for 5 or 9 percent equity, respectively, from InnovationWorks, the program’s parent organization. More than 85 percent of AlphaLab Gear alumni companies so far have raised follow-on capital within eight weeks of demo day, the last official day of each cycle.

InnovationWorks created the model based on its earlier AlphaLab accelerator program for software companies. The Gear version focuses on so-called “hardware” companies by contrast, which means companies that have a tangible, manufactured product that may or may not have a software component.

“About five or 10 years ago, things started to change for hardware,” says Ilana Diamond, who leads the AlphaLab Gear program for InnovationWorks. “Open source hardware, 3D printing, TechShop.”

TechShop is a national network of light manufacturing shops that offer memberships to individuals, who, as you do with a gym membership, gain access to hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of design software, 3D printers, and all kinds of light manufacturing machines to help design, build, and test prototypes. TechShop provides training to new members, and only trained members and staff may use the equipment. AlphaLab Gear participants get a membership to TechShop Pittsburgh as part of the program.

Through her TechShop access, Bridgett is working with two engineers. “I’ll … check with my engineers and see what’s going on, understand how things are developing and keeping everyone focused on producing a product that will make people excited,” she says of the relationship.

A review committee of advisers, investors and the AlphaLab Gear team selects companies based on an applicant’s ability to develop and launch a winning product or service, market potential, and the concept’s originality. Companies from all over the U.S. can apply. They have a 5-6 percent acceptance rate.

For Curl’s Best Friend, market potential was easy. The latest estimates on the black hair care market put it at $500 billion.

Read the full article by Oscar Perry Abello, NextCity HERE.


Meet AlphaLab’s new class of startups

The new batch of companies in East Liberty-based accelerator AlphaLab includes a virtual travel agent, a company that aims to improve online product recommendations, and a platform to connect nonprofits with sponsors for their major events.

The startups of AlphaLab’s 15th cycle are at different phases of readiness but all have at least some experience to speak of, says executive director Jim Jen. Most have done some form of customer validation, and some have products and revenue already.

“This group of companies is well-aligned to the trends in the industries they’re tackling,” he adds. Check out the Full article by Kim Lyons, Next Pittsburgh HERE.

From Pitch to Payment

InvestInHer-Flyer-FromPitchToPayment-02Join us on November 19th as we celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

We are hosting two sessions aimed at supporting women entrepreneurs. Attendees will learn how to sharpen their pitch skills and hear from reputable local investors on what they look for in a strong investment. Come hear from Terri Glueck of Innovation Works on the art of the pitch along with entrepreneurs who have gone through the pitch process. Additionally, you don’t want to miss the panel discussion with representatives of the investment community in Pittsburgh. Learn what can make your business stand out and earn valuable funding.

This event is open to the public and we encourage female entrepreneurs and budding female entrepreneurs to attend to learn from the expertise of our panel and guest speakers. RSVP HERE.

A light lunch will be provided.

To learn more about Women’s Entrepreneurship Day visit the website: http://womenseday.org/

To learn more about the hosts visit:




Pittsburgh Technology Council honors Tech 50

Full Article via Pittsburgh Business Times here.

The Pittsburgh Technology Council on Thursday announced the winners of its Tech 50 Awards, naming Jason Wolfe of GiftCards.com as its CEO of the Year. Here are the winners of the nine categories:

  • Innovator of the Year-Advanced Manufacturing: Industrial Scientific Corp.
  • Innovator of the Year–Life Sciences: Cohera Medical Inc.
  • Innovator of the Year-Consumer Products: Rinovum Women’s Health LLC
  • Innovator of the Year–Health IT: Net Health
  • Solutions Provider of the Year: SDLC Partners LP
  • Startup of the Year: Thread
  • Culture Leader of the Year: Schell Games
  • CEO of the Year: Jason Wolfe, GiftCards.com
  • Technology Business Product of the Year: Jazz

Here’s your first look at AlphaLab Gear’s (hardware accelerator) latest class

The Pittsburgh Business Times did a great write-up on the new AlphaLab Gear (<– link to their website – hardware accelerator) class. Check it out here.

  • Curl’s Best Friend: Hair styling product line for natural hair aimed at improving styling methods for kinky, curly hair without the use of harsh chemicals; focused on the $500 billion black hair care market.
  • Forest Devices: AlphaStroke, a stroke detection device for EMS that allows for fast diagnosis in a prehospital environment to enable getting stroke patients to the right hospitals faster.
  • Interphase Materials: Proprietary antibiofouling coating for underwater metal hardware that prevents biofouling — the accumulation of organisms such as barnacles and algae on pipes or underwater surfaces — without the use of toxic leachables harmful to the environment. Alternative to toxic hazardous substances to address the growth of organisms on surfaces, as the EPA regulations require changes to the current chemicals. First application is for nautical parts, and long-term focus is medical implants.
  • AutoPods: Battery powered “mini taxi” for short range trips with in/on vehicle advertising supported revenue
  • VIT: Fitness wearables focused on tracking form to prevent injury and to help athletes train more efficiently.
  • BreatheWise: Smart meter on industrial gas tanks to track and report usage, aimed at saving replacement truck time, reducing unnecessary visits, and optimizing routes.
  • Carbon Freight: Lightweight cargo technology with carbon fiber shipping containers that will enable freight operators to move more cargo per shipment and reduces the fuel burden across all modes of transportation.
  • Deighan Designs: Unique, customized wedding accessories including items such as bridal hangers, personalized robes, bridesmaid tank tops, cake toppers and garters.

Pittsburgh: Startup Global

Pittsburgh: Startup Global

The Event: Join us on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at Carnegie Mellon University for a half-day program followed by deep dive sessions to learn from seasoned international business professionals and local entrepreneurs:

  • Why going global makes good business sense
  • How to protect your IP and get paid
  • How to go global strategically
  • Resources available to help

Concurrent Deep Dive Sessions will follow:

  • Strategies for Protecting IP
  • Managing International Transactions
  • UK and Europe Market Opportunities

Who Should Attend?

  • Innovation companies
  • Investors
  • Incubators, accelerators, and academics

When: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

8:30a.m. 1:30p.m. *Networking Lunch Included

Where: Gates Center, Rashid Auditorium

Carnegie Mellon University,
5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Registration Fee: No Cost – RSVP to http://startupglobalpgh.eventbrite.com



AlphaLab Fall 2015 Cycle Announcement

The application will be open from now to August 2nd, 2015

AlphaLab is a nationally ranked startup accelerator founded in 2008 and based in Pittsburgh, PA. As a charter member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) and one of the first ten accelerator programs worldwide, AlphaLab has a proven track record in helping to launch high-growth startup companies, including The Resumator, NoWait, The Zebra, Shoefitr, Treatspace, Powered Analytics (Target), and Black Locus (Home Depot)

AlphaLab’s network consists of the top entrepreneurs, investors and mentors in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. AlphaLab is also part of Innovation Works, one of the nation’s most active seed funds that has invested $64M in over 200 companies that have collectively raised over $1.6B. These include 4Moms, ModCloth, The Resumator, NoWait, Wombat Security, Ottomatika , Civic Science, and ShowClix.

We look forward to reviewing your application and helping you build your company!

Apply here: www.f6s.com/alphalabfall2015application/apply
Learn more here: www.alphalab.org/apply