Innovation Works

A business incubator in Pittsburgh has landed a nearly $1 million grant to help attract new investors. 

The $800,000 federal grant was awarded to Innovation Works to support its fairly successful AlphaLab program.

AlphaLab brings early-stage businesses into its workspace on the South Side where it provides the entrepreneurs with a small cash investment, goal-specific education, key mentorship opportunities, and an entrée into the Pittsburgh high-tech community.

A room full of politicians, entrepreneurs and robots - this was the scene Thursday at the Innovation Works AlphaLab as Governor Tom Corbett announced the launch of Innovate in PA.

With the program, the commonwealth will auction $100 million in deferred tax credits to insurance companies.

These companies will then use the credits to raise funds that will go towards start up technology-related businesses - the Ben Franklin Technology Development Partners, three Life Sciences Greenhouses and the Venture Capital Investment program.

Autophotomoto / Flickr

Hundreds of immigrants come to Pittsburgh to refine their skills in engineering and the sciences at schools like CMU and University of Pittsburgh. But current immigration laws often cannot keep this potential workforce in the United States.

Brian Kennedy, Vice President of Strategic Services and Government Relations for the Pittsburgh Technology Council says these potential entrepreneurs are leaving Pittsburgh for places that have more comprehensive immigration legislation.

FutureDerm and the Science Behind Beauty Products

Aug 9, 2013
AlphaLab

Nicki Zevola has been teaching the real science behind beauty products with her popular blog since 2007. When it was time to launch FutureDerm, her own line of beauty products, Zevola already had a loyal following.

Sole Power

Like a power-packed Dr. Scholl's insert, Sole Power is a device that allows people to charge devices as they walk. It's currently in the prototype, fundraising phase, but is said to have the potential to fully charge small devices like a cell phone with 2 and a half miles of walking.

"We're hoping to serve military personnel, people stuck in emergency situations, hikers and people in developing nations who don’t have access to electricity on a regular basis."  Says Matthew Stanton, Founder of Sole Power.

Pop City Media

Innovative product development and manufacturing is not new in Pittsburgh. Each week, Pop City tech and innovation reporter Deb Smit has a plethora of companies and concepts to choose from when reporting on the next big thing.

The number of venture capital dollars and deals across the U.S. has been generally declining over the last several years, but Pittsburgh is bucking that trend.

“Since 2009 we’ve had the credit crisis, and probably the most severe national recession we’ve ever had, and during that period Pittsburgh has seen an increase in early stage capital and the number of financings," said Lynette Horrell, managing partner with Ernst & Young Pittsburgh. "The number of financings has grown over 50 percent.”