Apr 22, 2015 -- Highway1, the PCH accelerator program for hardware startups, today began accepting applications to its fall 2015 hardware accelerator program. Set to start in August of this year, Highway1 is searching for up to 15 of the best hardware startups from around the world to join the fall program. Forty-five hardware startups have participated in the program to date.
“The rush of applications pouring into the program from around the world recharges us for every class,” said Highway1 VP Brady Forrest. “Experienced, passionate teams, who already have a working prototype and are ready to refine their technology for production thrive at Highway1. We work hands-on with the teams and we invest in their success.”
Highway1 benefits from PCH’s experience designing custom product solutions for the world’s best brands. Startups gain access to an extensive network of mentors, a unique classroom curriculum and new lab and office space. The curriculum is an intense, four-month immersion into how to scale a hardware business, which includes product design and engineering support, supply chain management, manufacturing and logistics, marketing and retail. Selected startups also embark on a 10-day trip to Shenzhen, China, to learn first-hand about building a global manufacturing and supply chain network.
“We are looking for dedicated entrepreneurs who want to build a company, not just one product,” said PCH Founder and CEO Liam Casey. “We help put our hardware startups in the best possible position for investment. As we can see from recent successful crowd funding campaigns, there is a tremendous amount of consumer excitement about hardware tech right now. Our goal is to make hardware investing as appealing to Venture Capital and Angel Investors as investing in software.”
Program participants work out of Highway1’s new 10,000-square-foot home. Located at the PCH Innovation Hub in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, the new facility features state-of-the-art prototyping and electrical engineering labs available 24/7, including a CNC mill, 3D printers and a spectrum analyzer, among other specialized equipment.
Highway1 invests $50,000 of seed money into each company in exchange for a 4–7 percent equity stake. At the end of the four-month program, graduates pitch their concepts and show their working prototype to investors, industry leaders, and media at an invitation only Demo Day event. Highway1 alumni are granted long-term access to the accelerator’s prototyping facilities after finishing the program.
Highway1 is the ideal accelerator program for hardware startups looking to scale. Most join Highway1 with a strong, technically savvy team, working prototype and seed funding. The Spring 2015 class of 11 companies joined Highway1 already having raised a cumulative $4 million. More than 275 companies applied to the Spring 2015 class, the largest number of applicants for a single semester in the history of the program.
Since its inception in 2013, Highway1 has accepted 45 hardware companies spanning the Internet of Things (IoT) product spectrum, ranging from connected home, to health care, to wearable fashion to robotics. In total, graduating companies have raised more than $50 million, including companies such as Drop, Ringly, Podo and Navdy.
Highway1 recruits top hardware startups from around the world, with companies relocating from countries such as Australia, India, the Netherlands and Ireland to participate in the immersive, four-month program.
Highway1 will be the subject of an upcoming docu-series TV show, The Bazillion Dollar Club. Set to air on the Syfy Channel in the fall of 2015, the show follows three Highway1 startup companies from the Spring 2015 Highway1 class, as well as three companies currently enrolled in the 500 Startups accelerator program.
Interested companies can visit http://highway1.io/apply/ to apply to the fall 2015 Highway1 program. The application period ends May 29, 2015.