• Innovation Works
  • AlphaLab
  • AlphaLab Gear

Hardware Starts Here

Alphalab Gear is a hardware & robotics startup accelerator. We leverage our experience and network to help entrepreneurs make rapid progress through the early stages of product and customer development.


We use the same principles and methodologies as AlphaLab, Pittsburgh’s nationally-ranked startup accelerator, while incorporating unique expertise, education and mentorship in the areas of industrial and engineering design, advance manufacturing, mass consumer distribution and supply chain management.

Innovation Works

AlphaLab Gear is a program of Innovation Works--one of the nation’s most active seed-stage investors, having invested almost $60M in over 180 companies that have collectively raised over $1.5B





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 Coordinator, 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