2020-2021 APPLICATIONS OPEN! DEADLINE OCTOBER 15, 2020
HCI is a 12 to 24 month program dedicated to supporting both silicon and hardware companies as they scale their companies to compete globally. Funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, this is a free competitive program and you don’t give up any equity to participate. It is built to support hardware tech startups beyond capital investment.
ventureLAB’s HCI program is designed specifically for startups building solutions for technologies like AI, IoT, wearable computing, 5G, and other transformative technologies. The HCI program helps you navigate the hardware entrepreneurial ecosystem through access to a state-of-the-art hardware lab, deep tech expertise, investors, manufacturers, and supply chains so you can develop the strategy, network, and tools for growth. Unlike other incubators, this program is specifically built for the unique challenges that hardware companies face. Ten silicon and hardware founders will be selected to join our 2021 cohort and benefit from our strength in deep tech expertise.
Building a thriving hardware company is complex. You need a playbook specific to hardware companies to get a product ready for release and overcome the challenges unique to hardware companies, from longer lead times to higher cost to entry. This is why ventureLAB created HCI in 2019 – to support hardware companies with a bespoke program to create more Build-to-Scale companies in Canada.
This is a competitive program that is offered at no cost and no equity requirement to eligible companies. We accept and evaluate applications on an annual basis. Applications for the 2021 cohort of the Hardware Catalyst Initiative are now open until October 15, 2020.
Due to the large amount of applications, there are a few eligibility requirements that our team reviews for each application:
We understand that hardware founders experience unique challenges and have a finite amount of capital and time to bring their vision to reality. As an HCI program member, you’ll receive:
24/7 access to the HCI Lab with both test & measurement and environmental testing capabilities. The HCI Lab features state-of-the-art specialized equipment that is often prohibitively expensive or simply unavailable to start-up companies. From wafer testing, through qualification testing, to the environmental test chambers, we have a lineup of tools to suit the needs of each stage to bring your device to market.
The HCI program provides you with prototyping support, production services, and powerful, industry-leading Electronic Design Automation (EDA) toolsets throughout product development. Differentiate your product, reduce costs, shorten development time, and conduct research, all with industry-leading Arm IP at zero cost.
Access to a curated team of veteran hardware and silicon development experts with over 100 collective years of experience. We will provide you with guidance and support needed for each stage of development. From design, engineering, purchase and supply contracts, and intellectual property (IP) protection, the HCI team understands your needs and delivers solutions at each stage of your business.
Our HCI team works with you to connect to experts in supply chain management, product environmental compliance, and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) compliance to gain the knowledge and expertise necessary to achieve milestones in the development process. With our exclusive partnership with Silicon Catalyst, there will also be opportunities to co-incubate.
Access expert industry advisors in design, fabrication, supply chain, and customer engagement to work with you to define business milestones and put a growth plan in place. Most importantly, your advisory team will make introductions to qualified partnerships that will give you a competitive edge.
The ventureLAB Capital Investment Program (CIP) is targeted at companies ready to scale. As an HCI member, you will receive support through CIP to craft a compelling pitch, connect with strategically aligned investors, and create a long-term capital strategy to support the rapid growth of your business.
Gain access to market intelligence and premium reports from top-tier research firms
Premium access to curated educational programming and exclusive partner 1-on-1s
Free workspace (up to 2 spots) in the ventureLAB Innovation Space, a home for all your business needs. It is more than just a co-working space, connecting you to a community of tech founders.
Bionic-i: A hardware biotechnology company focused on augmenting vision and combating blindness with a surgically implantable breakthrough device that can treat and monitor a genetic disease.
BluMind.AI: A fabless semiconductor start-up with deep expertise in AI, semiconductor and automotive technologies, applying unique analog concepts to machine learning inferencing to dramatically lower power consumption and latency.
Ekidna Sensing: Ekidna sensing provides rapid, simple to operate, and on-demand cannabinoid testing for the growing cannabis industry, solving a pressing need for simplified testing.
Humantec Inc.: Manufactures and markets the Menopod, a handheld electronic cooling device for women suffering from hot flashes brought on by menopause.
Micromensio: Micromensio is a fabless semiconductor company with a unique, portable, platform bio/chemical sensing solution.
Tartan AI: A hardware/firmware company targeting optimizations for machine learning workloads, offering processing elements and transparent memory compression technologies.
Contact us at email@example.com to learn more about becoming a Hardware Catalyst Initiative partner.
Denis Jacques, President & CEO, Keysight Technologies Canada Inc.
John Tryhub, Vice President, Wind Shape Technology Inc.
Nic Boileau, President & CEO, Ekidna Sensing
Patricia Copeland, President, Humantec Inc.
Brendan Crowley, Co-Founder & CEO, Micromensio Inc.
Mario Dorio, Director, North America Sales, Synopsys
“The HCI team has been an invaluable resource throughout our journey. The ventureLAB advisors are always available to share the wealth of their experience, and it has been fantastic working with them this past year. I would highly recommend the HCI program to any hardware company looking to scale their business.”
Joseph Ma, CEO, Bionic-i Inc.
John Gosson, Founder & CTO, Blumind.ai
Kevin O’Neil, Corp. VP, Legal & AMD Canada Managing Director
Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
Mike Gordon, Account Manager, GAP Wireless
Doug A Mochrie, Owner & President, Airo.Life
Applications for first call will open on September 1 and close on October 15, 2020 at 5 P.M. ET. Late submissions will not be accepted.
The program runs between 12 to 24 months depending on the stage and needs of the company.
During the program, companies may receive specialized support and access to expertise such as:
Companies accepted into the HCI will receive access to one desk (up to 2 badges) for the duration of the program (up to 24 months).
Yes. Companies accepted into the program will be asked to sign a Client Engagement Agreement at the start of the program, which outlines the expectations of the company (i.e. reporting frequency, Code of Conduct). If those clauses are not met, ventureLAB reserves the right to remove companies from the program.
This program is specifically targeted to tech companies that are developing silicon technology or embedded hardware systems, and in addition to the customized advisory, companies will also have access to a purpose-built hardware lab and prototyping/production toolsets. The support provided will also be longer (12-24 months) compared to other programs.
Yes, current ventureLAB clients may qualify for HCI, however, must go through the same application process as other applicants. We encourage you to speak to your Lead Advisor or Programs team if you are interested in applying to the HCI. You will then be sent the separate HCI application, or be notified when the next call opens.
A couple of years ago, together with industry and not-for-profit partners, we explored the need and feasibility of a Hardware Catalyst Initiative in Ontario. A common challenge discovered was the lack of access to expensive tools, resources, and clean rooms for SMEs building hardware and silicon technologies in Canada, as well as a significant mentorship and talent gap.
This competitive program will support tech companies that build foundational technologies that support transformative sectors like AI, quantum computing, virtual reality, and beyond. Over the next five years, the HCI will support up to 40 companies, create over 200 jobs, and commercialize 15 new products and technologies.
Based in York Region, Canada’s second largest tech cluster, the HCI will help southern Ontario-based tech SMEs accelerate their time to market in a sector that normally incurs lengthy entry and scale times, enabling Canadian hardware and silicon companies to grow and scale locally, and compete globally.
No, ventureLAB and the Hardware Catalyst Initiative do not take any equity in your company.
The HCI is Canada’s first hardware and silicon-focused incubator. This competitive program supports silicon and hardware companies to scale their businesses in southern Ontario and compete globally.
HCI will support tech companies that build foundational technologies that support transformative sectors like AI, quantum computing, 5G, IoT, UAV, virtual reality, and beyond.
Not sure if you’re eligible, or have questions about the HCI? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should expect to hear back from the ventureLAB team by the end of November 2020.
No. However, we will work with companies at the right stage to help identify potential public and private funding opportunities.
Contact our HCI team at email@example.com.