May 16, 2013      

Innovation Works, the largest seed-stage investor in the Pennsylvania region and one of the most active in the country, announced that its 10-year old startup accelerator, AlphaLab, is now launching a new robotics incubator–AlphaLab Gear.

Oakland-based Innovation Works? 2012 fiscal year report highlights $4.8 million that the program invested in 91 technology companies; $209 million in follow-on funding raised by its seed fund and accelerator companies; and the fact that 29 of those companies raised $1 million or more in additional funding outside of the program.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette–As in the original program, participants in AlphaLab Gear will receive mentors, educational sessions, business training and financing. In addition, the hardware-centric program incorporates unique expertise, education and mentorship in the areas of industrial and engineering design, advanced manufacturing, mass consumer distribution and supply chain management.

Companies chosen for the program can receive $25,000 in exchange for 5 percent equity or $50,000 for 9 percent equity in the business. They also will receive legal, accounting and tax services; free membership to TechShop Pittsburgh, which features prototyping and manufacturing equipment; light tooling equipment at AlphaLab; and benefits from the Global Accelerator Network.

The startup accelerator is a collaboration between AlphaLab and Oakdale-based robotics investment firm Startbot. AlphaLab Gear just began accepting applications for its first cycle, which will run from October until May 2014.

In the official announcement, AlphaLab managing director Jim Jen called the move a natural extension: “As hardware and device companies incorporate software and network connectivity to deliver new capabilities to the market, we are confident that AlphaLab Gear will provide the foundation in entrepreneurship, mentorship and access to capital that helps talented entrepreneurs build great companies in these new markets.”