An Overview Of Our Program

Why AlphaLab

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.

The AlphaLab application cycle will open again in Fall 2018. To be the first to know when applications are open, sign up for our newsletter.


Up to $50K Investment

AlphaLab’s standard term is  $25k for 5% equity upon entry.  Following completion of the program, each AlphaLab company that raises at least $50K outside investment will receive a $25k convertible note.



We believe in the power of founding teams to build great companies. Over the 4-month program, scheduled educational sessions cover topics from customer validation to financing, all geared towards helping you build the best company possible.



Your company will benefit from the guidance of entrepreneurs, technologists and investors who have developed and launched products, raised capital and negotiated manufacturing and distribution partnerships.



Qualified AlphaLab alumni companies have the opportunity to raise additional capital from the Innovation Works seed fund. Innovation Works has invested in over 300 companies since 1999 .


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 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.

Catherine Tsavalas

Program Coordinator

Cat serves as Program Coordinator at AlphaLab. She maintains the day-to-day operations, manages marketing for the AlphaLab program, and works with companies to refine their branding, messaging, and marketing. Prior to joining the IW team Cat was a freelance marketing and branding consultant for several technology-based startups and also has several years of agency experience.

Cat has a passion for inclusive community building, co-organizing several Startup Weekends in Pittsburgh, including most recently a Women’s Edition with over 100 women participants.

Cat holds a BA in Multimedia Journalism and English from Point Park University.


Alumni Network

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 Jazz (formerly The Resumator), NoWait, Shoefitr, SolePower, BlackLocus, The Zebra and Ikos.

Innovation Works

graphic_IW_02Innovation 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 $69.2 million in more than 300 technology startups who have gone on to raise over $1.7 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.





Access to free and discounted legal services including a complimentary incorporation package through Cohen & Grigsby’s AlphaLaw program.



Access to free and discounted accounting and tax services through Sisterson & Co.



Help with finding an intern through connections with local universities, CMU, Pitt, Duquesne, etc.



Discounts on products and services essential to any startup like Amazon Web Services, Apple, Foundersuite, and ZipCar through our Global Accelerator Network membership.



Our kitchen is always stocked with lots of coffee, soda and snacks. We also order lunch a couple of times each week.



AlphaLab’s space offers companies both private offices and open workspace, ideal for collaboration.


Our City

Pittsburgh, PA

Over the last 25 years, Pittsburgh has transformed itself into a high-tech hub, home to innovative startups and tech titans alike. We think there’s no better place to start and grow your company, and we have a feeling you will agree.