Photo by Justin Criado
Innovation Works held its 13th annual AlphaLab Demo Day Wednesday, Nov. 12 at the New Hazeltt Theater in Allegheny Center. AlphaLab is a nationally ranked program of Innovation Works that provides seed-finding to start-up tech companies.
By Justin Criado
Innovation Works held its 13th annual AlphaLab Demo Day Wednesday, Nov. 12 at the New Hazlett Theater in Allegheny Center.
AlphaLab is a 20-week program of Innovation Works that provides $25,000 of seed-funding to start-up tech companies in Pittsburgh.
“The goal during this period is for the companies to learn as much as they can of their market and get to a point where they’re delivering products to their customers that their customers love,” AlphaLab executive director Jim Jen said.
Five Pittsburgh-based companies presented business plans, technologies and market opportunities to a group of 450 investors, mentors and other stakeholders.
“When you think about the fact that most of these companies weren’t even incorporated a couple months ago and they now have products, customers, business models in place, I still get awestruck about what these entrepreneurs accomplished,” Innovation Works president and CEO Rich Lunak said.
The products and services from this year’s companies range from a real-time music collaboration program to an app for moms to find other moms.
“It’s all about the companies,” Lunak said. “It’s all about the tremendous work and progress the companies are making.”
AlphaLab was recently voted as one of the top accelerator programs in the country in two independent studies, according to Lunak. Other than funding, the program gives companies access to resources that are crucial in developing a successful business strategy.
“It’s a unique mix,” Jen said. “It takes things that have always been around. Things that entrepreneurs need and they’re able to tap into to build companies.
“We kind of put them all together in a time period. We also do it by bringing in groups of companies. We bring them in together at the same time.”
The main focus is to get investors and other outside resources interested in the companies in hopes of attracting the next level of resources that can help companies continue to grow.
The companies that presented at this year’s Demo Day included Covey, a location-based platform that allows moms to develop their local networks by building relationships in the real world; DataSquid, which uses multi-touch visualization technology to unlock the power of big data; an art rental-based subscription model called Easely; a realtime, cross-platform music collaboration solution company called Nebulus; and a social app called SitWith, which introduces four unacquainted people at a local restaurant for a casual meal.
After the presentations the five AlphaLab start-ups set up informational tables for interested parties to visit.