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 www.iwAlphaLab.org. 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 assistance. "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.