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Innovation & Startups

Next AlphaLab class takes mobile apps to the next level and beyond

Looking at the latest class of AlphaLab startups, Jim Jen sees several trends.

Not surprisingly, many companies are developing mobile applications, creating tools that offer an unprecedented level of user engagement, he says. Carnegie Mellon startup PHRQL--as in "freckle"--aspires to help teenagers and young adults manage their diabetes through social networking, data analytics and game mechanics. 

VitalClip is another in the current class that gives health enthusiasts a broader perspective on their personal health. The company's iPhone accessory measures vital signs and integrates contextual data from iPhone sensors to provide instant information anywhere.

The current crop of AlphaLab companies is also creating online components that enhance the offline experience, Jen says. For example, Krowder, a CMU spinout and community-supported delivery platform, automatically optimizes delivery routes, taking care of scheduling while organizing complex payment issues as they relate to pick-up and delivery tasks.

Community Vibe is a Project Olympus startup that enhances the renter-landlord relationship by providing software as a service to small-and medium-sized property managers. The product focuses on traditional communication blind spots that exist between residents, property managers and the maintenance staff, helping to enhance resident satisfaction and reduce labor costs that have become standard within the industry. 

The final two AlphaLab companies are taking a creative approach. MakerCraft is a mobile app that allows users to design their own personal jewelry. Hub19 is a curated marketplace for logo and graphic designs from freelancers and creative professionals.

"This has been a good year for Alpha Lab on many fronts," reports Jen in reference to the accelerator's recognition as one of the top organizations of its kind in the country. "It's been great for our reputation. This was another record applicant pool. It was very competitive."

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Jim Jen, Innovation Works

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