Why AlphaLab

We provide early-stage technology companies with an extensive mentor network, educational sessions with industry leaders, and a rich entrepreneurial work environment. Connect with our network of investors, mentors, partners, and customers. Take advantage of our sales, digital marketing, customer acquisition, business operations, and fundraising resources. Grow your startup in Pittsburgh, a premiere technology hub.



AlphaLab will invest up to $100,000 in the form of a convertible note and receive up to 2% common stock equity from participating companies. Qualifying alumni companies have the opportunity to raise additional capital from the Innovation Works Seed Fund.



Your company will benefit from the guidance of AlphaLab’s mentors and team who are experienced in SaaS, software product development strategies, and digital marketing/customer acquisition techniques.



AlphaLab has an extensive network of investors, AlphaLab alumni, and corporate partners. Many of our companies find their first investors, customers, suppliers, advisors, and other partners through introductions from our network.



Our team and mentors have deep software expertise. We offer companies structured programs in key software startup areas including Digital Marketing and Customer Acquisition.




Access to free and discounted legal services including a complimentary incorporation package through Dentons 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 such as CMU, Pitt, and Duquesne.



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 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.


Jim Jen

Managing Director

Jim Jen is the Managing Director and co-founder of the AlphaLab accelerator programs for Innovation Works. Founded in 2008, AlphaLab was one of the nation’s first accelerators, providing funding, mentorship, education and network-building to speed the growth of promising startups.  AlphaLab has been consistently ranked among the top accelerators in the US.  In 2013, Jim helped launch the AlphaLab Gear accelerator for hardware and robotics companies in 2013, also one of the first accelerators of its kind.  Jim has also served on the Advisory Board of the Global Accelerator Network, the world’s leading association of accelerators for high growth startups.

Jim has been an active part of the Pittsburgh tech community since moving here in 2002 and has led the initial investments in over 100 companies for Innovation Works.  Working closely with companies such as JazzHR (fka The Resumator), NoWait (acquired by Yelp), Shoefitr, Deep Local, Showclix and Wombat Security, Jim has mentored and guided the development of some of Pittsburgh’s fastest growing tech companies.

Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, Jim built and launched software businesses at venture-backed companies in California and also advised executive management of Fortune 500 companies as a management consultant. Jim holds a BA and MA in Economics and an MBA from Stanford University.

Aaron Tainter

Senior Program Manager

Aaron is the Senior 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.

Jim Wrubel

Portfolio Executive

Jim Wrubel brings over 20 years of experience in building and scaling technology businesses. He has deep experience in software development, product management, AI and machine learning, and digital marketing.

Prior to joining Innovation Works, Jim worked as a consulting CTO, working with everyone  from early-stage startups to universities — helping to build products, recruit and retain staff, and advise on investment initiatives. Previously, Jim was CTO of Think Through Learning (TTL), a Pittsburgh-based education technology company focused on helping at-risk students develop strong mathematics skills. Think Through Learning was acquired in 2016. Before serving in a leadership role at TTL,  Jim was a Technical Manager at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, where he developed an online-learning program focused on cybersecurity and digital forensics for the Department of Defense and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies. In his early career, Jim worked for several digital agencies building websites and web applications for a variety of industries, as well as at BBN Technologies, the organization that operated one of the earliest backbones of the Internet.

In his spare time, Jim volunteers as a mentor with The Moms Can™? Code School and with Code.org, organizations that are working to create opportunities for underrepresented groups in technology. Jim is also an avid marathoner and triathlete.

Jim holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Science in IT Management from Carnegie Mellon 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 $92.5 million in more than 300 technology startups who have gone on to raise over $2.4 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.

Innovation Works’ other programs include our hardware- and life sciences-focused accelerators — AlphaLab Gear and AlphaLab Health — and Startable, our program for teen entrepreneurs.


Program Sponsors



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.