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North Side's Velocity Robotics wins mid-Atlantic round of Hardware Cup

Aaron Aupperlee
| Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, 10:30 a.m.
Velocity Robotic's AutoSet helps make percision measurements for exact cuts. (Photo from Velocity Robotics)
Velocity Robotic's AutoSet helps make percision measurements for exact cuts. (Photo from Velocity Robotics)
A woodworker in Pitsburgh uses Velocity Robotic's Autoset. (Photo from Velocity Robotics)
A woodworker in Pitsburgh uses Velocity Robotic's Autoset. (Photo from Velocity Robotics)

Pittsburgh startups have a reputation as companies that make things, physical things you can touch and hold.

Perhaps it's from the city's history of steel that built railroads and skyscrapers.

The winner of AlphaLab Gear's Hardware Cup competition Tuesday in Pittsburgh fits that mold.

Velocity Robotics, a startup on the city's North Side, makes Autoset, a miter saw accessory that helps contractors, carpenters and woodworkers cut more precisely, reduce waste and work faster. The company's robotic stopper makes precision adjustments to exact measurements.

Autoset uses a tape measure with Bluetooth connectivity to send measurements to a smartphone app and the spotter affixed to a miter saw.

Brad Kriel, founder of Velocity Robotics, started the company after running into frustrations while remodeling his home in Pittsburgh. Velocity Robotics works out of the Alloy 26 co-working space at Nova Place.

Velocity Robotics won $3,000 and moves on to the international finals this year. Regional competitions will take place all over the county and internationally.

The Hardware Cup is in its fourth year , and this year's competition is the biggest yet. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition was held at Google's offices at Bakery Square. More than 150 attended.

"We nailed it! #hardwarejoke" Leah Simoncelli, coordinator of the competition, wrote in an email Wednesday morning.

Six startups — three of them from Pittsburgh — pitched their companies to local venture capitalists and investors. Each company gave a four-minute pitch and answered four minutes of questions from the judges. Judges considered the companies, their technology and the market for their products.

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

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