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We at AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear believe that we should always give companies what they need, when they need it. So we’re making some enhancements to AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear to make them more flexible and more accessible while continuing to provide the value these programs are known for: investment, deep one-on-one engagement, connections to our network of investors, mentors, partners, and customers, and tailored resources on topics such as sales, customer acquisition, business operations, and fundraising.

It’s easier than ever to apply to AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear.

We’ve combined and simplified our application, asking only ‘need to know’ questions and assessing all companies — both hardware and software — via…


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Megan Shaw, IW’s newest Portfolio Executive.

We’re excited to welcome Megan Shaw to Innovation Works as a Portfolio Executive on our Life Sciences team! Megan brings a diverse set of experiences that will be valuable for helping life science companies in the region, including through our AlphaLab Health accelerator program.

Megan understands first-hand what it takes to help startup companies get through multiple stages of growth — she helped grow a point-of-care diagnostic startup, HemoSonics, from initial product definition to exit. There, as VP of Marketing and Business Development, Megan played many leadership roles including developing the go-to-market approach, leading the Commercial Leadership Team that launched…


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The Problem

Prior to COVID-19, medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the U.S, contributing to about 250,000 deaths per year. We need innovative ideas to improve outcomes and to save time, money, and lives.


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Leah Simoncelli hosting the 2019 AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup finals at CMU Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I grew up in Greensburg, PA, which is a lovely, small 17,000-person town about an hour outside of Pittsburgh. Luckily, my parents still live there (and they’re in our COVID bubble) so we get to visit often.

Q: How did you hear about Innovation Works? What drew you to work here?

A: I boomeranged back to the Pittsburgh-area after about 10 years in DC and Santiago, Chile. I started to learn about the nonprofit sector here and came across a short-term position to coordinate two competitions: the Hardware Cup and the UpPrize Social…


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As you choose thoughtful holiday gifts for everyone on your list, consider supporting the Pittsburgh tech startup community. We’ve included a list of consumer products developed by IW portfolio companies for your perusal:

4Moms mamaRoo4 Infant Seat

The 4moms® mamaRoo®4 infant seat bounces up and down and sways from side to side, just like parents do when comforting their babies. It features five unique motions and five speed options for a total of 25 different combinations.

Anglr Bullseye

The ANGLR Bullseye is a Bluetooth enabled remote that pairs with ANGLR’s free fishing app. One-click privately records catches. Two-clicks marks private waypoint. Press and hold records specific…


By Jim Jen, Innovation Works, COO

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It is with mixed emotions that the team at Innovation Works announces that Ilana Diamond will be leaving IW at the end of October, after almost eight years of incredible contributions. Ilana will be joining 412 Venture Fund as its Managing Partner, where she will lead fund activities, including sourcing investments, supporting portfolio companies, and building “Founder First” initiatives. …


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By Olivia Payne & Leah Simoncelli

In 2019, CREATE Lab and AlphaLab Gear kicked off the first pilot of Ethics MVP (Minimum Viable Product), a program to support entrepreneurs in articulating their values and corresponding ethical business practices at an early stage.

Building on the success of last year’s ethics pilot program with AlphaLab Gear and CREATE Lab, AlphaLab was excited to join forces and add this dimension to their program. This collaborative effort meant that the accelerators had the opportunity to weave ethics throughout their entire cycles, while the CREATE Lab team could test out and refine their framework.


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Q: Where did you grow up?

A: Springfield, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.

Q: How did you hear about Innovation Works?

A: From Bioedison in Cleveland. I was working with this technology-based economic development company and they referred me to Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG). PLSG interviewed me and said they were looking for a regulatory expert, which I am not. But, they referred me to IW.

Q: What drew you to work here?

A: I had just sold a radiology supplies business to a private equity company and enjoyed the process. Working for IW gave me the opportunity to…


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Identifying the Essential Problem

We often take for granted how easy it is to change the oil in our cars. 15 minutes and a few steps are all you need to complete the task on your personal vehicle. This is, of course, not the case for large construction equipment. Multiply the amount of oil needed for your car by 10 or even 100 times and consider that an oil change must be completed while the equipment’s engine is hot. To further complicate the matter, these engines run non-stop and the oil changes sometimes need to be done weekly and in the field — outside…


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Courtney Williamson, founder of AbiliLife, an Innovation Works life science portfolio company.

Often, when discussing Pittsburgh’s success and our region’s renaissance, world-class hospitals take center stage. Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) are powerhouses of world-changing medical research and state-of-the-art healthcare. Yet, crucial to the success of these medical systems are our region’s risk-taking and innovative startups.

Innovation Works

Innovation Works (IW) is one of the nation’s most active seed funds. AlphaLab Gear and AlphaLab are nationally ranked startup accelerator programs of IW.

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