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AlphaLab Gear Welcomes Four New Companies into Accelerator Program

PITTSBURGH — Feb. 8, 2024 — AlphaLab Gear, an accelerator program from Innovation Works that empowers hardware startups to grow has accepted four startups: Lead-In Record Co., Sensi Fit, Sensible Photonics, and Workers First. 

The companies will receive up to $100,000 in pre-seed investment, hands-on 1-on-1 engagement with industry experts, network building, and participation in a manufacturing boot camp to prepare their prototypes for scalable production. Crucially, the program also gives these companies access to the Tech Forge office and workshop space, which many entrepreneurs struggle to find.

“Our team is composed of entrepreneurs, so we’ve walked in these founders’ shoes, understand their challenges, and know how to help them reach their goals,” said Kevin Dowling, Managing Director of Hardware at Innovation Works. “This cohort includes cutting-edge technologies that don’t just fill a market need but also make a strong societal impact.”

This class of new companies brings a range of new talent and innovation to Pittsburgh, which Startup Genome ranks as a top-30 ecosystem in North America for startups.

●     Lead-In Record Co.: an end-to-end vinyl record manufacturing service for independent artists

●     Sensi Fit: a technology in testing with D1 teams that provides real-time quantitative data, biomechanics feedback, and training guidance for sports performance improvement without the use of wearables

●     Sensible Photonics: a manufacturer of low-cost fiberoptic sensing that enables real-time predictive analytics to anticipate failures in distribution and energy storage assets before they occur. 

●     Workers First: a personal protective equipment manufacturer that has developed an acid-neutralizing polymer to be used in many industrial applications to protect workers

Over its 10-year history, AlphaLab Gear has made 56 investments in companies that have gone on to raise more than $70 million in follow-on funding. 

"Innovation Works and AlphaLab Gear offer help and support that improves Sensi business and help me personally," said Izzy Hunter, Founder and CEO at Sensi Fit. "As a professional athlete turned founder, my knowledge around manufacturing is limited, but this program allows me to expand on this, and make connections in the manufacturing field. Additionally, the Pittsburgh region has a great network for founders, which we want to leverage for introductions and help to scale."

Learn more about the AlphaLab Gear program and how it supports entrepreneurs in the Pittsburgh area.


About Innovation Works

Innovation Works (IW) is one of the most active early-stage investors in the country and the most active early-stage investor in the State of Pennsylvania. To date, IW has invested in over 700 companies that have gone on to raise $3.3 billion in follow-on funding. IW portfolio companies have generated and retained over20,000 jobs in the State of Pennsylvania. IW is part of the Ben Franklin Technology Partner Network (BFTP). Over the last 30 years, the BFTP has catalyzed economic growth by providing access to capital and networks that help to foster innovation and technology-based economic development in Pennsylvania.



Jane Joseph, 

Innovation Works

Mobile 412-722-8474



Lexie Harkness

Gregory FCA for Innovation Works


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