Innovation Works Launches AlphaLab to Rapidly Grow Software-Related Companies by Providing Investment, Office Space, Expertise

Feb 21, 2008, 00:00 ET from Innovation Works, Inc.

    PITTTSBURGH, Feb. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Innovation Works, one
 of the country's most active investors in seed-stage technology companies,
 is launching AlphaLab to accelerate the development of software,
 interactive games and Internet-related companies. AlphaLab provides
 funding, free office space, and intense business mentoring for up to twelve
 companies per year that will be selected in two, six-month cycles. The
 immersive AlphaLab experience helps companies rapidly develop their
 technology, test and improve 'alpha' (early iteration) releases and move
 toward successful commercial launch of their software product. AlphaLab is
 now accepting applications from entrepreneurs to join the first group of
 companies to begin the six-month program in May. The on-line application
 must be submitted by March 31, 2008 and can be found at
     Located in 5,000 square feet of space at 2325 East Carson Street on
 Pittsburgh's Southside, each company will have private space as well as
 being part of the collaborative environment of AlphaLab. In addition to
 free office space, AlphaLab provides a $25,000 investment, dedicated
 on-site staff and access to Innovation Works' business assistance team and
 extensive network of investors and advisors. AlphaLab will help young
 companies move quickly to gain user feedback on their prototype or early
 versions, commercialize products, acquire customers, and form relationships
 with investors and other strategic partners.
     "The shelf life for new software, gaming and Internet applications is
 measured in weeks and months," said Craig Gomulka, Director, Draper
 Triangle Ventures and an AlphaLab advisor. "To take advantage of business
 opportunities in this space, new concepts need to come to market very
 quickly. They need to be fresh, user tested and ready to withstand pressure
 from competitors. AlphaLab will give companies in our region a significant
 advantage in this highly competitive and rapidly evolving landscape."
     Applications for AlphaLab will be reviewed by a committee of business
 advisors, software developers, and the Innovation Works' AlphaLab team. A
 select number of companies will be asked to make in-person presentations.
 Companies will be selected for participation in AlphaLab based on
 uniqueness of the concept, the technology's market potential, and the
 team's ability to develop and execute a business model with AlphaLab's
     "AlphaLab fills a critical void in the local community," said Donald
 Marinelli, Ph.D., Executive Producer, Carnegie Mellon Entertainment
 Technology Center (ETC). "I easily see it (AlphaLab) becoming a tremendous
 resource for ETC students contemplating starting a company in Pittsburgh,
 especially when combined with the business expertise and acumen Innovation
 Works brings to the table," Marinelli continued. Nearly a dozen interactive
 digital media companies have already spun out of ETC and Innovation Works
 has invested in a number of them.
     Innovation Works (IW) has extensive experience working with software
 development, interactive game design and related startups. IW has invested
 in and provided business assistance to more than 40 software, gaming and
 Internet-related startups since 2000. "With more than 100 companies in our
 portfolio, Innovation Works has gained a depth of experience by working
 with so many companies and deal transactions that our advice, contacts and
 resources are invaluable to startup entrepreneurs," said Rich Lunak,
 President & CEO of Innovation Works. "AlphaLab is a new way to apply what
 we know works. We have engaged a network of more than 50 entrepreneurs,
 investors, students, academics, game designers, and software developers
 from around the country to help us refine our model for AlphaLab. We have
 the right toolset to help these new companies get to product launch
 efficiently and successfully," Lunak added.
     Pittsburgh has a sophisticated and growing segment of software
 development, game design and Internet application companies, support
 networks, and student talent that can benefit from AlphaLab's investment,
 business advice and collaborative environment. "Having the AlphaLab
 incubator will be great for Pittsburgh," said Lenore Blum, Distinguished
 Career Professor of Computer Science and Director of Project Olympus at
 Carnegie Mellon. "It fits in perfectly with Olympus' goals of creating
 possibilities for talent and ideas to stay and grow in the region. I see
 the School of Computer Science and other CMU departments being important
 'feeders' for AlphaLab and AlphaLab serving as a well-connected pipeline
 from the university to the start-up world and beyond."
     Innovation Works (IW) invests risk capital and provides business
 mentoring to high-potential, start-up technology companies in Southwestern
 Pennsylvania. A private non-profit organization funded by the Commonwealth
 of PA, Innovation Works is one of the most active seed-stage investors in
 the US, investing in over 100 companies since 2000. IW's portfolio
 companies have raised more than $440 million in follow-on funding from
 venture capitalists, private investors and others.

SOURCE Innovation Works, Inc.