Welcome to the new Summer 2017 AlphaLab cohort!
The first few weeks of our 18th cycle of AlphaLab have flown by and we are excited to officially introduce you to the Summer 2017 cohort! Since welcoming the teams in July, we’ve been working closely with them on product, sales, and marketing and introducing them to our network of mentors. As we’ve gotten to know them, we’re not only thrilled about their companies, but the founders leading them.
These eight companies are tackling challenging problems in large markets ranging from finance to healthcare, energy battery storage to marketing analytics. Company innovations include the the latest technologies in machine learning, AI, virtual reality and augmented reality.
Beyond offering sharp solutions to big problems, what really stands out about this cohort is the notable backgrounds of the founders. All of the teams have deep and relevant experience in their industries, with most of the founders having prior startup and entrepreneurial experience (including several repeat founders).
We look forward to you getting to know them! Please join us tomorrow at Open Coffee Club at AlphaLab to meet the teams and mingle with other Pittsburgh entrepreneurs.
Team: Krishna Murthy, Eric Chua
Airbuy helps airports increase their duty free revenues with a machine-learning based solution that bridges the gap between online and offline shopping. We are excited about Airbuy as duty free revenues are a huge opportunity, representing 50% of revenues for international airports ($56B) with a large opportunity to increase that revenue through online customer engagement. The team has over 25 years experience in the aviation sector and is joining us after attending MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Team: Jeremy Guttman, Ellie Gordon, Ryan O’Shea
Behaivior is leveraging machine learning to predict and prevent opioid relapse and overdose using artificial intelligence and a wrist wearable. By providing the right intervention at the right time, they have an incredible potential to positively impact people’s lives, especially as the opioid epidemic continues to grow. This team has a unique blend of backgrounds ranging from medical research to design to media. You may know the Behaivior team from their wins at Social Justice Innovation Week and the XPRIZE Pittsburgh: AI Hackathon, a path that led them to being accepted as official competitors into the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE challenge.
Team: George Cook, Ken Martin, Christian Bilger
Honeycomb is a platform that allows local businesses to borrow expansion loans of up to $50,000 directly from their loyal customers, filling a critical void between Kickstarter and big banks. Community banks used to serve this role, but have left a gap in the market due to consolidation and regulations — a pain point co-founder George knows well, coming from six generations of community bankers. He and his co-founders have a combined 25 years of financial services and entrepreneurship experience, as Ken previously started several small businesses and Christian has worked with hedge funds and alternative investments.
Team: Seth Glickman, Byunghwan Lee, Fu Yen Hsiao
Music Everywhere is making it easier to learn how to play music through the use of augmented reality technology. The company is one of ten finalists in the Unity/Microsoft HoloLens competition with its fully-functional piano learning tool that demonstrates the mind-blowing potential of AR to dramatically improve user experience. The AlphaLab team can personally vouch for how cool their technology is and the way it revolutionizes music learning. The team brings a strong blend of technical, design, and professional music experience from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center.
Team: Zee Drakhshandeh
Pixel AI helps e-commerce businesses uncover unique behavioral insights by visualizing the full customer journey on websites. Zee saw this problem first-hand among Fortune 1000 companies with his previous work at LunaMetrics, one of the top five analytics agencies in the US. Given his limitless passion and deep expertise in the space, Zee is committed to helping companies optimize their marketing strategies by revealing user browsing patterns across all sessions.
Team: Elliott Williams, Matthew Marks
Sparket is unleashing the $33b in unused smart devices by reversing the on-demand model; Sparket sends cars to your house and gives you cash for your old smartphones in under 20 minutes. The Sparket team has firsthand experience in delivery services and previously founded a Pittsburgh venture-backed startup in machine learning. After testing several ideas in the personal finance space, they found high demand and quick momentum in the growing recommerce space.
Team: Sarabeth Boak, Jaehee Cho, Tsung-Yu Tsai
Stitchbridge helps develop more engaging interactive 360-content for mobile devices. Their software lets content creators add interaction through speech and gaze, tracking user choices as they move through the content. Innovating on 360-video opens up a whole new world for users to experience, impacting how people are trained, educated, and entertained. Another team that comes from CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center, the founders also have prior experience in retail, film production, and technology including Bloomingdale’s and Facebook Oculus.
Team: Matthew Maroon, Matineh Eybpoosh
Watt-Learn is building artificial intelligence software for grid-connected batteries. Batteries cycle through many charges and discharges over their lifetime but the current process is mostly one dimensional. Watt-Learn is using machine learning to make these batteries smarter, intelligently cycling through various charging and discharging states based on predictions of both market and local conditions. Batteries become healthier and last longer, which increases energy revenues for corporations and utilities. Matt and Matineh come from the battery storage and energy intelligence world, with prior leadership positions at venture-backed startups in those markets.
Hope to see you at Open Coffee on Friday!