• Innovation Works
  • AlphaLab
  • AlphaLab Gear

Learn from a Team with Experience

Our team is stacked with entrepreneurs who have built and exited companies. Mentors from our 100+ mentor network work with our companies every week to help them build products customers love. Areas of expertise include: business model advice, DFM, supply chain logistics, customer support, retail and commercial distribution, and marketing / sales.

Unbiased Manufacturing Advice

We don’t take funding from manufacturing partners or consulting groups, so we’re free to help you choose the best suppliers and partners for your company. Our Manufacturing Program Manager has connections to hundreds of industrial designers and manufacturers, both locally and around the world.

Get Investment

Over 85% of our alumni raise follow-on funding within 8 weeks of Demo day. We’re a program of Innovation Works, the 8th most active seed-stage investor in the country. Your team will work with members of the IW investment team, giving you an opportunity to build a relationship for follow on funding and leverage IW’s national network of co-investors.

Come to the Center of Hardware and Robotics

Pittsburgh is at the intersection of Hardware, Robotics, and Advanced software. Join companies like Google, Uber, Apple, Intel, and others who have located their hardware centers within blocks of AlphaLab Gear.

Join a Program that Gets Hardware

AlphaLab Gear was designed from the ground up around the needs of hardware startups. Our program length, small class size, and hands-on educational programming are designed to give your hardware startup the attention and assistance it needs to make significant progress on both your product and customer traction during the program.






Your company will receive $25K or $50K in exchange for 5% or 9% common stock equity.


Your company will benefit from the guidance of entrepreneurs, technologists and investors.


Each company receives a private office and access to collaborative working spaces, workshop space, conference rooms and a full kitchen in our 10,000 square foot facility.


We’ll teach you how to successfully build and grow your hardware startup.


In addition to the light tooling equipment within our space, your company will receive a membership to TechShop Pittsburgh.


In addition to our extensive network of mentors, our day-to-day leadership team at AlphaLab Gear.


Pittsburgh’s low-cost of living gives you the unique opportunity to live a startup lifestyle without a startup budget.


Companies with a robotics focus will receive additional support from Startbot, an investment firm specialzing in early-stage robotics companies.


Innovation Works (IW) founded AlphaLab in 2008 to accelerate the growth of promising startup technology companies in the region.


From free and discounted legal services to hands-on product design and prototyping sessions, we’ve got you covered.


Meet Our Managing Director, Ilana Diamond

Ilana works with the AlphaLab Gear companies on a daily basis. Her background in new product development, manufacturing, supply-chain management, and retail distribution will be indispensible to your hardware company.

Prior to joining AlphaLab Gear, Ilana served as President and CEO of Sima Products, an international consumer electronics accessory manufacturer, which she led to a successful exit. Ilana is an active angel investor and advisor in Pittsburgh’s startup community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Tie Pittsburgh. Previously, Ilana sat on the Executive Board of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

Meet Alphalab Gear’s Program Manager, Chris Millard

Chris manages the operations, events, and programming at Alphalab Gear, as well as providing mentorship to AlphaLab Gear entrepreneurs, specifically in business model development, marketing, and design.

Prior to joining AlphaLab Gear, Chris worked at 8020 select (Alphalab winter 2010), and was a co-founder of WizzyWig Inc (Y-Combinator Summer 2013). He was responsible for Digital Marketing and Communications at WizzyWig and helped bring in over a million unique visitors for WizzyWig’s first product launch.

Chris holds a BA in English from Lewis and Clark College and is currently in the part-time MBA program at the KATZ school of business.

Meet Startbot’s Managing Director, Josh McElhattan

Josh McElhattan founded Startbot in 2012 to invest in and serve robotics startups. He directed technology investment for Industrial Scientific starting in 2006, where he led research and acquisition efforts in areas such as predictive analytics, advanced sensors, imaging systems, and robotics.

Previously, Josh was user experience lead at JPMorganChase’s active trading platform, BrownCo (presently Power E*TRADE). He also led a consulting team for America Online’s AIM product management group and served on business development consulting teams for Arnold Worldwide and Allied Domecq (presently Dunkin’ Brands).

Josh has an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from Babson College.


Innovation Works (IW) founded AlphaLab (software) in 2008 and AlphaLab Gear (hardware) in 2013 to accelerate the growth of promising startup technology companies in the region. As Pittsburgh’s largest seed-stage investor, IW and has invested over $52 million in more than 160 technology startups who have gone on to raise over $1.5 billion.


Pittsburgh has transformed itself into a leader in manufacturing and robotics. With world-class robotics & engineering programs at area universities and top-tier industry leaders, Pittsburgh provides the resources necessary to build a successful hardware business. We think there’s no better place to start and grow your company, and we have a feeling you’ll agree.

To learn more about all Pittsburgh has to offer, go to VisitPittsburgh.com.

AlphaLab Gear is proud to receive funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration