AlphaLab Gear – Jobs That Pay Tour, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Governor Tom Wolf’s photostream

AlphaLab was founded in 2008 to accelerate the growth of promising startup technology companies in the Pittsburgh region. The AlphaLab Gear National Hardware Cup is a pitch competition that is open to early-stage startups that create at least one physical product. Any company with a physical product component is eligible to apply (including Manufactured Products, Internet of Things/Connected Devices, Health/Medical, Consumer Products & Consumer Electronics, Food, Fashion, Robotics, etc.), so don’t let the term “hardware” throw you off. The contest encompasses nine cities over the course of four months with a $50,000 Grand Prize! And, the deadline to apply for Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. is Wednesday, January 13th.


Six teams will be chosen to pitch in each of the nine cities based on their online application. Each team gets four minutes–strictly enforced)–to pitch their company. Then, the local VC judges will get five minutes to ask questions. Finally, teams will be judged on commercial viability, team capability, and demonstrated commitment.


IMG_9536, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from AlphaLab Startup Accelerator’s photostream

Winners in each city will receive $1,000 cash, a free Techshop membership, and other prizes, as well as a chance to win a $50,000 convertible-debt investment from Startbot VC at the National Finals in May.

You can learn more about the competition at their website, where you will also find links to register to attend or to fill out your application to participate.