Utah businesses are joining a collaborative startup incubator founded by a global engineering and manufacturing company.
Wavetronix, a Springville-based company that engineers and manufactures products that detect and direct traffic data to create more efficient roads and intersections, created a new division with the purpose of developing a creative incubator for startups in the Utah County community.
The incubator, named AlphaHive, was launched in April and created before the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation with the purpose of establishing mentoring opportunities for startup businesses.
Wavetronix was founded two decades ago by two Brigham Young University electrical engineering professors hoping to enter the private sector and create Utah-based, quality jobs for their students once they graduated.
Since 2000, the company has grown from 20 to over 200 employees and has been recognized both nationally and internationally for its work in the traffic detection market.
Now, Wavetronix has expanded its reach to give startup businesses in Utah County the opportunity to experience the same “fast-paced optimism” the co-founders felt when teaching in a collegiate setting.
AlphaHive is meant to recreate the environment found on most college campuses, which breed collaboration and support, co-founder and CEO David Arnold said.
“This allows for repaid prototyping and iterative design, with a bigger focus on planting the seeds for discovery rather than trying to exploit a market,” he said in a statement.
Despite the pandemic, AlphaHive is hitting the ground running, said AlphaHive Director Larkin Hastriter. The incubator has already finished its newest building and is working on completing a second.
“That’s going to bring some strength and a future home for AlphaHive as it expands and grows with new startups,” he said. “We’re going to be able to leverage the strength and success of Wavetronix over the years.”
Already, AlphaHive has established teams of researchers to analyze their startups’ potential impacts in society and in the traffic industry. These teams are already working with the incubator’s first two startup businesses: A-Connect and Island Radar.
AlphaHive hosts monthly forums that allow research teams and businesses to present discoveries and challenges, which are used to help the incubator meet each of the startups’ needs through collaboration and mentoring.
“As you can imagine, everyone brings a unique perspective, and we’ve established a culture that’s helping others succeed,” Hastriter said.
While forging a creative and support environment for new businesses, Wavetronix is also offering exclusive training for business administrators.
The company’s communications director, Don Leavitt, said Wavetronix has also established its own learning and development team that provides an internal mechanism to help employees learn leadership, management and communication skills as well as emotional intelligence training.
These trainings are accessible to all Wavetronix employees as well as administrators and employees working for startups who have partnered with AlphaHive.
“Wavetronix wants every employee to feel that they have a meaningful and satisfying career,” Leavitt said. “The learning and development program is just one mechanism to help people have that career that they feel means something and is making a real difference.”
Like several businesses across the country, AlphaHive has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic crisis. For this reason, Leavitt said the incubator is not accepting additional startups, but is hoping to in the future.
“We’re positioning ourselves to move full-steam ahead in the coming years,” Hastriter said. “Once the time is right, we’ll be ready to move forward with additional startups.”
Until then, he said, Wavetronix and AlphaHive are putting one foot in front of the other and facing the challenges that come along with fostering a collaborative environment while following government guidance and encouraging employees to work from home for as long as possible.