An overview of our program
AlphaLab provides early-stage technology companies with an extensive mentor network, educational sessions with industry leaders, and a rich entrepreneurial work environment within a nationally ranked accelerator program.
Jim Jen, Executive Director
Jim Jen, Executive Director: Jim is the Executive Director of Innovation Works’ AlphaLab accelerator programs. Jim guides companies by leveraging his experience and network gained from working closely with over eighty companies in the Innovation Works and AlphaLab portfolios and from his prior management experience in Silicon Valley. There, Jim built and managed software businesses at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Agile Software (acquired by Oracle), and Instill Corporation (acquired by iTradeNetwork Inc). As a management consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton, Jim advised executive management of Fortune 500 companies on marketing, strategy, and organizational issues.
Jim holds a BA and MA in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Aaron Tainter, Program Manager
Aaron Tainter, Program Manager: Aaron is the Program Manager of Innovation Works’ AlphaLab accelerator program. Aaron oversees the day-to-day operations and works closely with companies to help guide them through accelerated stages of development. Aaron spent over 5 years as an Associate at Meakem Becker Venture Capital, a Pittsburgh-based early stage VC firm. In this role Aaron served on the due diligence team where he analyzed startup companies across a variety of industry verticals and was a leader on the deal sourcing team where he built a national deal flow pipeline which led to a number of successful exits including Kiva Systems (acquired by Amazon), Shipwire (acquired by Ingram Micro), and HotPads (acquired by Zillow). He also recently served as Senior Manager for Bristol-Myers Squibb, a global biopharmaceutical company, where he led the strategy and implementation of a number of continuous improvement and internal consulting initiatives within the Research and Development organization.
Aaron holds a BS/BA in Business Mgmt/Mkt from Eastern University and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business.
Jennifer Van Dam, Program Coordinator
Jennifer Van Dam, Program Coordinator: Jennifer serves as Program Coordinator at AlphaLab, Jenn supports the Executive Director as well as the Program Manager and works closely with the AlphaLab companies.Prior to joining the IW team Jennifer served as a Customer Specialist at Squarespace, a New York-based technology start-up. In this role Jennifer worked directly with clients to build their websites using the Squarespace CMS platform. Recent work experiences also include Chatham University, River City Artists Management, The New School, The Third Wave foundation, and WQED. Jennifer possesses a high level of intellectual curiosity about development, program management, and technology.
Jennifer holds a BA in Communications and Cultural Studies from Chatham College for Women at Chatham University.
Founded in 2008, AlphaLab has built an extensive alumni network that remains engaged with current AlphaLab companies. Offering expertise and experience, many return for educational sessions and one-on-one mentorship. Several high-growth startup companies that originated in AlphaLab include The Resumator, NoWait, Shoefitr, SolePower, BlackLocus and TheZebra.com.
Innovation Works (IW) founded AlphaLab in 2008 to accelerate the growth of promising startup technology companies in the region. As Pittsburgh’s largest seed-stage investor, IW has invested over $52 million in more than 160 technology startups who have gone on to raise over $1.5 billion.
Your company will work alongside IW’s team of professionals who have worked with thousands of startups and are networked with investors across the nation. The team’s first-hand experience as CEOs, technology industry veterans, and early-stage experts helps them advise you on important decisions concerning your company.