A new facility for startup software and Internet companies is about to open in Pittsburgh. The new AlphaLab is affiliated with Innovation Works, a seed-stage investor that has pumped $37 million into more than 100 Pittsburgh-area startups over the past eight years.InformationWeek's Startup City visited AlphaLab on May 27, just one week before the first tenants were scheduled to move in. The paint was still wet and there wasn't a stick of furniture in the place when I met with AlphaLab director Jim Jen, a veteran of Silicon Valley. You can see my interview with Jim here.
AlphaLab has an impressive list of advisers and partners, several of whom I met with on the same trip to Pittsburgh. In the next few days, we will be posting video interviews with AlphaLab advisers Sean Ammirati, co-founder of mSpoke, and Ed Engler, partner in new VC fund Pittsburgh Equity Partners.
AlphaLab's 5,000-square-foot space is located on East Carson Street in Pittsburgh's gritty-but-trendy Southside, home to restaurants, bars, and small businesses, including tech startups. Larger tech companies have offices on the other side of the Monongahela River, one of the three big rivers that run through the city.
AlphaLab invests $25,000 in the startups it accepts and takes a 3% stake in return. The lab gives participating companies office space, expert advice, and a supportive, collaborative environment. Newbies have six months to get their act together at the lab, then it's time to move out and see if they can make it on their own.