Start-up CEOs at AlphaLab Answer the Question, “Why Pittsburgh?”
When President Obama traveled to Pittsburgh last month to meet with his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, entrepreneurship and the potential it has to drive America’s economic revival were on the minds of many. Less than a week after the death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the President remarked at the IBEW Training Center in the South Side, “The story of America’s success is written by America’s entrepreneurs; men and women who took a chance on a dream and they turned that dream into a business, and somehow changed the world … that spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation is how we became the world’s leading economic power, and it’s what constantly rejuvenates our economy.”
America’s entrepreneurial success relies on risk-takers who make up their minds to imagine and innovate. The Pittsburgh region has no shortage of such visionaries, and a select group of them call 2325 East Carson Street home – at least for 20 intensive weeks as they fast track the launch of new companies by participating in Innovation Works’ AlphaLab program. AlphaLab provides mentorship, office space and funding to help incubate up to 12 tech start-ups annually. There are two AlphaLab cycles each year. Since its launch in 2008, this tech-accelerator program has incubated 39 companies with 100+ individual entrepreneurs taking part.
Representing a diverse array of companies, the most recent class of dynamic AlphaLab entrepreneurs are pioneering innovations ranging from software that helps those with diabetes better manage their healthcare to an iPad app that allows people to create customizable jewelry. At the end of October, all six of these tech start-ups presented their products and ideas at AlphaLab’s Demo Day – a biannual event which gives investors and civic leaders an opportunity to engage with the latest class. This round of tech companies was most impressive. They include:
8020select – a company that aims to provide small businesses, with limited resources, a wide range of graphic design offerings. They achieve this through the creation of a web-based design community, tailored to businesses on a budget that need high quality but affordable graphic design work.
Makercraft – an Art Institute of Pittsburgh spin-out, this customizable jewelry company is tapping into the estimated $69 billion global market for fashion jewelry. With its jewelry design iPad app, Makercraft allows users to design their own highly customizable jewelry.
VitalClip – through the development of an integrated iPhone platform, VitalClip offers users a real-time health management tool, which enables individuals to better manage their well-being. With an initial focus on the management of stress, VitalClip allows users to monitor and track a number of physiological factors that account for stress and develop ways to better control them.
Krowder – a company that seeks to solve delivery shipping and issues associated with purchases made via website such as Craigslist. By harnessing the power of crowd-sourcing, Krowder wants to achieve greater convenience and lower costs in the shipment of second-hand goods.
Comvibe – for frustrated property managers and tenants alike, Comvibe has created an innovative web- and mobile-based solution to help streamline and consolidate the property maintenance process. Through a sophisticated software application, tenants are able to access an easy-to-use system for making maintenance claims, which in turn provides landlords with a centralized way to follow up with the requests.
PHRQL (pronounced “freckle”) – by way of smart phone integrated software, PHRQL has developed a solution to help users who are diabetics manage an array of factors related to their health and wellbeing. With a focus on user engagement, PHRQL wants to ease the diabetes management process while reducing the overall costs associated with the condition.
Imagination and innovation are indeed alive and well in Pittsburgh. AlphaLab and its entrepreneurs are proof positive.
Learn more about these break-out companies by watching the video below to hear each of their CEOs talking about their innovations and answering the question, “Why Pittsburgh?”
Learn more about what AlphaLab is all about by watching a video interview with Terri Glueck of Innovation Works.
Tagged with: 8020select • Allegheny Conference • AlphaLab • Art Institute of Pittsburgh • Carson St. • Comvibe • Council on Jobs and Competitiveness • Demo Day • entrepreneurship • IBEW • innovation • Innovation Works • interview • Krowder • Makercraft • Obama • Pennsylvania • Pittsburgh • South Side • start-up • Terri Glueck • VitalClip