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AlphaLab Gear looks to boost hardware, robotics startups

The Pittsburgh-based startup accelerator will invest cash and business know-how into promising companies in return for equity.

Screenshot by CNET

A new startup accelerator has launched in Pittsburgh with an eye on robotics.

AlphaLab Gear opened on Monday, inviting early-stage companies working in hardware and robotics to join the accelerator program. AlphaLab Gear's accelerator initiative starts first with cash. The company will offer $25,000 to startups for 5 percent equity. Those firms that need $50,000 will have to hand over 9 percent of the company to AlphaLab Gear.

In addition to funding, the accelerator will provide business mentorship and space for working on the project, according to the organization. The offer also includes access to TechShop, a Pittsburgh-based facility where companies can fabricate equipment and design software.

AlphaLab Gear is the brainchild of the folks behind the accelerator AlphaLab. Located in Pittsburgh, AlphaLab is backed by seed-stage investor Innovation Works. The Gear offshoot is backed in part by Innovation Works, as well as local foundations, the organization said. Its focus will be entirely on hardware and robotics.

AlphaLab Gear has already signed up several companies. According to the organization, some of its startups include a food temperature monitor and alert system, called FreshTemp, and a new smartphone case maker, named LifeShel. The first cycle of companies started in October and will formally launch at AlphaLab Demo Day in May 2014.