AlphaLab Gear Application

Applications for the Fall 2017 Manufacturing Module are now closed.

We’ve learned a lot these past four years, and with feedback from you – our alumni, investors and partners – we are planning some exciting changes for the next cycle.

We’ve found there are two points in time when hardware companies are best equipped to fundraise and scale successfully: 1) when they have identified their first target market and  proven that customers will pay to use their product and 2) when they’re ready to manufacture at scale. To help companies reach these points faster, we’re dividing our program into two sequential modules: the first one focusing on market validation, and the second on manufacturing at scale.

The new program’s 24-week market validation module focuses on customer discovery, prototyping, product iteration and customer traction. Then, we spend 14 weeks focusing on manufacturing at scale: design for manufacturing, tooling, regulatory, quality control, vendor negotiations, inventory management/fulfillment and connections to manufacturers and supply chains.

This fall, we are running the manufacturing module with companies from the current AlphaLab Gear cycle and finalists from regional Hardware Cup competitions. There will also be an opportunity for additional companies to join, so if you have a working prototype and paying customers, and are looking to scale your manufacturing, you can apply through July 5, 2017 at midnight PST.

Our first full 2-module cycle will begin in 2018, with applications opening in December 2017.

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Manufacturing Module FAQ

Does it cost anything to participate? Cash or equity? 

Participating companies receive $50,000 ($25,000 cash investment plus a $25,000 budget to pay for support services) in exchange for 4% common equity. Services include industrial design and mechanical/electrical engineering support from experienced outside experts, manufacturing engineering support, and PO support.

Companies also receive free office space in our 10,000 square foot facility, access to the AlphaLab Gear hardware lab, and use of other onsite facilities (conference rooms, full kitchen, etc). General office supplies, basic furniture, and free drinks/snacks are also provided.

Does it require relocation or can we participate remotely?

Participation in the program requires being present in Pittsburgh for the duration of the program.

We have read the general overview on the application page on your site, but is there a detailed program breakdown or syllabus? 

Syllabus details are forthcoming. The program goal is that by December, each company will have:

–       An unbiased road map to scale manufacturing

–       Full understanding of cost and benefits to domestic vs. overseas manufacturing

–       Understanding and development of long term supplier relationships

–       Connections and opportunities with regional manufacturers

What are the start/end dates of the program?

September 11, 2017 to December 15, 2017 (14 weeks). Companies can move into the space starting September 5th.

When is the deadline for applications?

July 5, 2017 at midnight PST (3 AM EST).

When should selected teams expect to hear a final decision?

We have July 12th and 13th tentatively scheduled for interviews with our evaluation team. After that, we’ll have a short list and begin our due diligence. We expect to give final decisions to a maximum of 6 companies by early August for a start date of September 11th.

If I participate in this module, can I be considered for the 2018 AlphaLab Gear cycle?

Anyone who applies for this manufacturing module can also apply for the 2018 program cycle. Companies participating in the manufacturing module will have already proven market validation through sales traction and therefore may not need the support provided in the full 2018 cycle. However, there may be cases in which it would be valuable for a company to participate in the market validation portion of the program after completing the manufacturing module.

Can you explain when each module will be held?

In Fall 2017, we are holding a 14-week manufacturing module. In 2018, we are holding our first 2-module full cycle, consisting of a 24-week market validation module in Spring 2018 followed by the 14-week manufacturing module in Fall 2018.

If I applied for the AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup and would like to be considered for the 2017 fall manufacturing module, what do I need to do?

Please email Leah at leah@hardwarecup.com to let us know that you are interested in being considered. If you need to update your application based on your company’s progress, let us know and we will re-open your application so you can edit it up until July 5, 2017 at midnight PST.

What happens after the manufacturing module ends?

You will be a lifetime alum of AlphaLab Gear, which allows you to be connected to the Innovation Works seed and follow-on funds and Riverfront Ventures. You can receive support from our Executives in Residence, and will be connected to our network of investors and corporate partners.

I still have questions. Can I talk to someone at AlphaLab Gear?

If you have specific questions about your application or the new cycle and want to talk through them with our team, please schedule manufacturing office hours here. (The link is also on the bottom left of the main page of our website.)