AlphaLab, the early-stage incubator created by Innovation Works, just welcomed six startups to their third class for the Summer/Fall 2009 session. AlphaLab runs a 20-week program that includes funding (up to $25,000 seed investment), free office space and business & strategy mentoring.
While Innovation Works hasn’t “officially” announced the companies, they were recently profiled on PopCity.
Fooala helps restaurants “to create their own online Web sites with applications that offer access to the menu, prices, reservations and delivery options.” I’m personally interested in hearing more about their business model and product roadmap. In particular, while subscription revenue is great, there may be an opportunity to really tap into “affiliate marketing” in the local restaurant space.
GearHeadz is basically a market maker for idle time on digital manufacturing equipment. As founder Nick Pinkston told PopCity, someone who needs a part for a prototype can send them the specs and they will in turn find the best price. (I’m picturing an army of MakerBots…)
LeftRight Studios is an iPhone game studio. smackBOTS, their first game, is similar to that old Rock’em Sock’em game and recently broke into the top 100 on both the action and kids categories for games.
NavPrescience is developing “personalized and predictive navigation solutions to improve the experiences of drivers.” They are still in stealth mode so not too much information is available. There are navigation systems like the Dash Express that crowdsource traffic information – perhaps NavPrescience will take this a step further and predict traffic based on previous traffic patterns?
Vivo is a web-based video broadcasting service that provides users with a private, customizable environment for sharing events. They are somewhat similar to LiveStream, UStream and the like, but are focusing on private events such as weddings or conferences. Given the trouble that those other companies have found in terms of generating revenue, it seems like Vivo may have found a good niche. They were also recently covered by the Post-Gazette – on the front page of the business section and as a featured story online.
Finally, Zipano Technologies is attempting to give users more control of the personal information that we share through social networks and the like. You can define rules on who can see your location and when it it is made public – for example, you can choose to make your location public when you’re at, say, a bar or the CMU campus but when you’re meeting at a potential client’s office.
I’m hoping to get interviews and do a more detailed profile of each of the companies. If there’s anyone in particular you want me to follow up with, let me know in the comments.