Ilana tells us how Innovation Works – which is the parent company – has been around for a long time; and has been active as a seed stage investor in the country. About 10 years ago Innovation Works founded an accelerator for software companies and that’s how Alpha Lab emerged.
Then about 3 years later they got thinking that “physical product” startups were more capital efficient. They concurred that they copy the methodology – used for software companies – and apply the same thing for physical product companies. After experimenting with a couple of (physical product) Companies at Alpha Lab, they realized they wanted to tweak things up a bit.
Ilana and her team have constantly been coming up with newer ways to excel at accelerating; “Starting early, putting a little money into a company, having use that money to test how well their product fit with their target customer wanted and that iterating the product and business model based on the feedback they get from customers and getting to a point where they really had what we call ‘market product fit’ where you know that the product you are creating is what the customer wants, it solves a real life problem … something that is scalable”; hence the team went ahead and founded Alpha Lab Gear.
She believes that the reason why there are so successful is because they have folks with them who have experience to share with their startup founders. “Our real secret sauce is that the folks on our team had manufacturing experience … we are thinking about what would it take to scale that manufacturing process and what price they can project.”
Emphasis was also laid on how at Alpha Lab their secret sauce helps companies with the right business model, how to find the first target market and the right plan to scale.
At Alpha Lab those founders are encouraged who; if have a complicated idea, then at least have a prototype in hand to show – and if it is a simple idea, then some sort of market validation is enough to gain entry.
They also have a limited budget to spend per company per cycle, so Alpha Lab is looking for passionate teams to go all out and willing to get things done. And importantly to be able to take feedback – which is essential for the growth of the company.
Lastly, Ilana shared that founders need to have a willingness to put their product out before they think it is perfect; this is because customer feedback gets to make for a better route to tweak and iterate any product – whether hardware or software.
Hear on to learn what more is in store at Alpha Lab in the new decade.