By Rich Lunak, IW CEO

I’m excited to share with you the news about our Chief Investment Officer. As many of you know, Gary Glausser retired after eight years as our CIO. Though we will miss Gary and all he brought to the role, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the next CIO for Innovation Works: Ven Raju. Ven is going to be a fantastic addition to our team.

Ven will lead the organization’s investment process, help portfolio companies achieve their fundraising strategies, and manage relations with angels, VC’s, corporates and other investors interested in potential…


By Rich Lunak, IW CEO

A career can’t be measured in sheer numeric achievement alone — a career is built of the relationships forged and real people impacted. That’s why it’s so easy to look at Gary Glausser’s career and call it a success.

Gary credits about 1,000 startup entrepreneurs that he’s directly worked with over his time as an investor that he has mentored, coached, and helped with fundraising expertise. That’s not to mention the hundreds of others who have been touched by his efforts to pioneer such things as the Three Rivers Venture Fair and all the programming Gary has created to bring tech entrepreneurs and investors together. After a lifetime of making these connections, Gary is retiring as the Chief Investment Officer of Innovation Works, and we will miss his creativity, drive, and passion for entrepreneurs.


By Jim Jen

I am very pleased to announce that Megan Shaw has been promoted to be Managing Director for Life Sciences/AlphaLab Health at Innovation Works. In this role, she will be responsible for leading our strategy, investments and programs in life sciences, growing upon the foundation that Larry Miller helped build.

As highlighted when we welcomed her to IW, Megan has a well-rounded perspective to building life science companies — ranging from leading a diagnostic company from product definition to exit, working with NIH and RADx to evaluate promising COVID-19 diagnostic technologies and assessing markets in strategy consulting and…


By Rich Lunak, IW CEO

In a recent meeting with one of the founders Innovation Works (IW) supports, I was asked “What’s new at Innovation Works?” When I described several new initiatives we’ve been working on this past year, the founder seemed surprised at the level of activity and scope of our work. As I thought about this reaction, I realized that in IW’s efforts to focus media attention and stories on the region’s startups, we have likely under-promoted our own efforts to support the region’s startup community. …


By Jim Jen

As many of you know, Larry Miller is retiring at the end of June after many years of incredible contributions to Innovation Works and the Pittsburgh life sciences community.

Larry moved to Pittsburgh in 2007, joining Innovation Works and bringing strong general management and sales leadership experience in medical devices, including at Picker International and Philips Medical Systems. During his time at Innovation Works, Larry has been an integral part of helping build the life sciences ecosystem here in Pittsburgh — leading almost 50 investments in the IW portfolio and helping them through stages of growth from proof of concept to acquisition. In addition, Larry has been an active member of the community — building relationships, making connections for companies, participating as a judge for startup…


A few months ago IW engaged a third-party market research firm to help Innovation Works anonymously collect demographic data on our portfolio company founders and CEOs. We believe that by asking our company founders to share how they identify, IW can gain valuable insight into who we are supporting and how we can best share our entrepreneurial services with the broadest audience.

Innovation Works’ programs, team and practices reflect our deep commitment to inclusive innovation and we would like to share the results with you. Though every individual response is kept confidential, we’ve compiled the aggregate data into an infographic…


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…


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…


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.


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…

Innovation Works

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

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