Strip District-based 4Moms was the setting for the Innovation Works
annual meeting last night, a celebration of milestones achieved by the region’s early-stage investment firm.
The largest crowd ever—500 by all estimates—milled about the headquarters of the growing high-tech, baby gear company, now at 88 employees. The treat of the night was a tour of the digs and a sneak peak of what’s to come: a robotic car seat, a lighter weight stroller and an infant chair with the gentle sway of a mother.
Those of you who believed that startups could fuel the region’s economy are here tonight, Henry Thorne of 4Moms told the crowd. When small companies grow into large companies and succeed, jobs are created.
The theme, “Made by Entreprenuers,” told the story of some of Pittsburgh’s brightest new companies. Apply for a job today and chances are the listing is generated by The Resumator. IBM’s data analysis efforts are taking place in their Squirrel Hill office, once the startup Vivisimo. threeRivers 3D is making strides as one of the nation’s highest volume manufacturers of 3D scanners. FutureDerm, an AlphaLab startup, sold out of its first product in just three weeks.
“We have to feel really good that Pittsburgh is on the right track,” said Rich Lunak, Innovation Works CEO and president. Especially with a company like 4Moms that is building a consumer brand that may one day rival Apple.
Prior to the meeting, Lunak shared a major announcement. A new alliance has been formed in the region to commercialize technology coming out of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) with several collaborative partners. Lab research will be conducted in Pittsburgh; the alliance will be headed by NETL and Michele Migliuolo, commercialization alliance manager with IW.
Looking back, this was a good year for job growth and revenues earned by the current crop of companies, Lunak reflected. New products were launched. Strategic partnerships are underway that include a new manufacturing accelerator, AlphaLab Gear.
Looking forward, the agile hardware sector will be a real strength for the region. While software and Internet companies are a strong sector locally, expect energy and advanced materials to make their mark, he said.
Among the other highlights:
IW invested $4.8 million in technology companies in 2012. By comparison, IW invested $4.9 million in 2011 and $4.6 million in 2010.
IW’s seed fund and accelerator companies accounted for 65% of all Pittsburgh companies raising venture rounds, and were successful in attracting nearly $209 million from VCs, angels, corporate/strategic investors and other sources.
Of the follow-on funding, $99 million (45%) came from venture capital and the other largest share of $73 million (35%) came from angel investors.
583 jobs were created in the region and retained attributed to IW assistance.
Watch the Innovation Works video
. Read the 2012 Annual Report here
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Innovation Works