Nationally Ranked Accelerator

AlphaLab Gear is consistently ranked as a top-20 accelerator nationwide. We provide early-stage physical product companies with an extensive mentor network, educational sessions with industry leaders, and a rich entrepreneurial work environment.





We provide $50,000 for 9% common equity or $25,000 for 5% (founder’s choice).



We hold workshops on Accounting, Business Model Development, DFM, Legal, Manufacturing, Negotiations, Rapid prototyping, Sales, Supply chain and many more.



We’ve filled out 100+ mentor network with entrepreneurs, technologists and investors who have developed and launched products, raised capital and negotiated manufacturing and distribution partnerships.



Qualified Alumni companies have the opportunity to raise additional capital from the Innovation Works seed fund.


ilana diamond

Ilana Diamond

Executive Director

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).

Cole Wolfson

Program Manager

Cole manages the operations and programming at AlphaLab Gear, as well as providing weekly office hours and mentorship to AlphaLab Gear teams.

Cole is the founder of the B2C retail startup Petagogy, where he led consumer marketing efforts, managed distribution channels, and handled all financial modeling, projections and accounting functions. Prior to joining AlphaLab Gear, Cole was the Business Developer Manager for Innovation Works, where he raised funding from companies, foundations and other sources.

Cole has an MBA from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Maryland.

Afshan Khan

Afshan Khan

Manufacturing Program Manager

Afshan Khan is the Manufacturing Program Manager at Innovation Works.  She engages with accelerator and early stage hardware companies to identify design and manufacturing needs, and provide connections with resources for design for manufacture, prototyping, components, and manufacturing and supply chain partners.  She assists regional manufacturing companies in the development of new market opportunities to increase revenue and job growth, engage in supply chain partnerships with emerging technology companies.

Prior to joining Innovation Works, Afshan was CEO of Focal Point Products, an international manufacturer and distributor of polyurethane millwork building materials for home construction, commercial projects, and building renovation. 

Afshan has an MBA from the Carnegie Mellon Tepper Business School, and a BSc in Business Administration and English from Duquesne University.

josh mcelhattan

Josh McElhattan

Managing Director Startbot VC

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.


Alumni Network

AlphaLab Gear is a spinout of the AlphaLab Accelerator. Founded in 2008, AlphaLab has built an extensive alumni network that remains engaged with current AlphaLab companies. Offering expertise and experience, many return for educational sessions and one-on-one mentorship.

Innovation Works

graphic_IW_02Innovation Works (IW) founded AlphaLab in 2008 to accelerate the growth of promising startup technology companies in the region. As Pittsburgh’s largest seed-stage investor, IW has invested over $69.2 million in more than 300 technology startups who have gone on to raise over $1.7 billion.

Your company will work alongside IW’s team of professionals who have worked with thousands of startups and are networked with investors across the nation. The team’s first-hand experience as CEOs, technology industry veterans, and early-stage experts helps them advise you on important decisions concerning your company.





Access to free and discounted legal services including a complimentary incorporation package through Cohen & Grigsby’s AlphaLaw program.



Access to free and discounted accounting and tax services through Sisterson & Co.



Help with finding an intern through connections with local universities, CMU, Pitt, Duquesne, etc.



Discounts on products and services essential to any startup like Amazon Web Services, Apple, Foundersuite, and ZipCar through our Global Accelerator Network membership.



Our kitchen is always stocked with lots of coffee, soda and snacks. We also order lunch a couple of times each week.



AlphaLab’s space offers companies both private offices and open workspace, ideal for collaboration.