WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHALAB, ALPHALAB GEAR, INNOVATION WORKS AND THE HARDWARE CUP?

Innovation Works is regularly one of the most active seed-stage investors in the United States. Since the creation of its seed fund in late-1999, IW has invested over $70 million in more than 300 companies that have gone on to raise over $2 billion from investors across the nation. These companies include ModCloth, 4Moms, Civic Science, ShowClix, NoWait and Shoefitr.

AlphaLab, a program of Innovation Works, is a nationally-ranked software accelerator helps early-stage software companies quickly figure out the best way to build and grow in an immersive 4-month program with funding.

AlphaLab Gear is AlphaLab’s physical product-focused sister accelerator.

The AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup is a pitch competition is a pitch competition for early-stage hardware startups, holding competitions in 7 US regions and at least 5 other countries.

HOW CAN I APPLY?

Just go to our Apply page.

DO YOU THINK OUR COMPANY IS TOO EARLY/TOO LATE TO APPLY?

We accept teams at all stages of development (we’ve accepted teams anywhere from ideation to $1M+ in revenues).

DOES OUR COMPANY NEED TO BE INCORPORATED?

No. If you are accepted into our program, we will help you think through issues surrounding incorporation and also connect you with experienced legal providers our companies have worked with before. We partner with a number of law firms that provide our companies with complimentary legal services and documents (e.g. certificate of incorporation, restricted stock purchase agreement, stockholders agreement, proprietary rights agreement).

WILL YOU SIGN A NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT (NDA)?

No. Because we look at hundreds of business plans each year, we do not sign NDAs. However, we will work with you to find the balance between understanding your company’s unique advantage without requiring you to divulge proprietary information. In your application, please avoid disclosing any technical information that you consider to be your “secret sauce,” but be as clear as possible about your competitive advantage.

WHAT'S THE SELECTION PROCESS LIKE?

A review committee consisting of our advisors, investors, and the AlphaLab Gear team will review all of the applications and select companies for in-person interviews. After the face-to-face meetings and follow-up due diligence, we will notify companies of our decisions.

WHEN SHOULD SELECTED TEAMS EXPECT TO HEAR A FINAL DECISION?

Applications close January 27, 2019. Interviews will be scheduled for late February. Final decisions will be made prior to the start of the program on April 8, 2019.

WHAT ARE THE START/END DATES OF THE PROGRAM?

The program starts on April 8, 2019 and ends in late October.

DOES PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM REQUIRE RELOCATION OR CAN WE PARTICIPATE REMOTELY?

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

DOES IT COST ANYTHING TO PARTICIPATE? CASH OR EQUITY?

Companies participating in our 30-week program have the option of choosing a $50,000 investment in exchange for 7% equity, $25,000 for 4%, or $0 for 2%.

AlphaLab Gear is a program of Innovation Works, which regularly ranks as one of the top seed-stage investors in the U.S. Qualifying alumni companies have the opportunity to raise additional capital — up to $600,000 — from the Innovation Works Seed Fund.

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.

WHO IS ON THE ALPHALAB GEAR TEAM? WHO WILL BE ADVISING ME?

In addition to the hardware team and our mentor network, you will also have access to the the entire team at Innovation Works.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CYCLE 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 Portfolio Executives, and will be connected to our network of investors and corporate partners.

DO WE HAVE TO STAY IN PITTSBURGH AFTER THE PROGRAM ENDS?

Companies are expected to remain in Pennsylvania after the end of their program. Our goal is to help you build a successful technology company while adding to the critical mass of flourishing tech companies in the region.

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 office hours on our home page or email us through our contact page.