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Tech startups to pitch their companies at Hardware Cup in Pittsburgh

Aaron Aupperlee
| Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, 10:39 a.m.
A woman using a belly support from Spand-Ice. (Photo from Spand-Ice)
A woman using a belly support from Spand-Ice. (Photo from Spand-Ice)
Burro, a robot from Augean Robotics, follows a person in a field. (Photo from Augean Robotics)
Burro, a robot from Augean Robotics, follows a person in a field. (Photo from Augean Robotics)
The winners of AlphaLab Gear's 2017 Hardware Cup. (Photo from AlphaLab Gear)
AlphaLab Gear
The winners of AlphaLab Gear's 2017 Hardware Cup. (Photo from AlphaLab Gear)

A startup from Pittsburgh has a 50 percent shot of winning the Mid-Atlantic Regional competition of AlphaLab Gear's international Hardware Cup.

Three of the six companies participating are from Pittsburgh. The competition starts Tuesday.

The startups will pitch their companies to local venture capitalists and investors. The winning company will get $3,000 and move on to the finals in April to compete for $50,000 in investment.

The 2017 winner was VaGenie, a Kegel fitness trainer. LucidCam, a 3-D virtual reality camera, won in 2016, and Curb, a home energy monitoring system, won in 2015.

Tuesday's competition starts at 6 p.m. at Google's offices in Bakery Square. Admission is free, but registration is required. People can register here .

The panel of judges for the Mid-Atlantic Regional on Tuesday are:

• David Motley of BlueTree Venture Fund

• Kenya Boswell of the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwesten Pennsylvania

• Zach Malone of Draper Triangle Ventures

• Catherine Mott of BlueTree Allied Angels

• Josh McElhattan of Startbot

Entrants in the Mid-Atlantic Regional competition doubled over last year, said Leah Simoncelli, coordinator of the Hardware Cup. Similar competitions will be held in Boston, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin and cities around the world.

The startups competing in Pittsburgh are:

• Augean Robotics of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania: Makes a small robotic work cart called Burro that autonomously follows workers.

• Bounce Imaging of Buffalo, New York: Makes throwable 360-degree and virtual reality cameras that allow first-responders to see inside dangerous spaces.

• Circalux of Philadelphia: Makes an LED light that minimizes the sleep-distrupting spectrum of light so people can work in the dark with light without disturbing people sleeping near them.

• EXG Wearable Devices of Pittsburgh: Makes headsets and earbuds that can control smart home devices, robots, tools or wheelchairs with simple eye movements or gestures of the face.

EXGBuds from Stefano Ceccarelli on Vimeo .

• Spand-Ice of Pittsburgh: Makes pain relief and support gear for pregnancy, postpartum and motherhood to offer belly support and reduce back pain with hot and cold therapy.

• Velocity Robotics of Pittsburgh: Makes connected power tools and power tool accessories including Autoset, a miter saw attachment that improves speed and accuracy while reducing waste.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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