The Hardware Catalyst Initiative (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.
The HCI is Canada’s first incubator to focus on hardware and silicon solutions. The HCI is for tech companies building solutions for technologies like AI, IoT, wearable computing, 5G, and other transformative technologies that will enable the creation of globally disruptive products and solutions. The HCI will strengthen our region’s existing deep tech expertise and support hardware and silicon-based companies to accelerate commercialization, growth and globalization to create more Build-to-Scale companies – from Canada.
Companies accepted into the HCI will receive:
Not sure if you’re eligible? Sign up for our webinar on September 25 to learn more about the HCI and ask questions.
Once applications open on October 1, you’ll be able to access the form on this page. You can also sign up for our newsletter to be notified of the open call.
When will the first call be issued?
Applications for first call will open on October 1 and close on October 31, 2019 at 5 P.M. ET. Late submissions will not be accepted.
September 25, 2019: Application FAQ (webinar)
Open for Applications: October 1 – October 31, 2019
What does the program offer?
How long does the program last?
The program runs between 12 to 24 months depending on the stage and needs of the company.
What sort of expertise do you offer?
During the program, companies may receive specialized support and access to expertise such as:
Will we get office space, how much, how long?
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).
Can we be removed from the program?
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.
How is the HCI program different from other programs ventureLAB offers?
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.
If I am in another program at ventureLAB, can I also qualify for HCI?
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.
What is HCI trying to achieve?
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.
Does HCI get any stake in my company?
No, ventureLAB and the Hardware Catalyst Initiative do not take any equity in your company.
Which companies/projects would be considered for the program?
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? Sign up for our HCI webinar on September 25, 2019.
How long before we find out if we have been selected?
You should expect to hear back from the ventureLAB team within three weeks after the application deadline.
How will the $5 million of funding provided by FedDev be used?
The $5 million investment into ventureLAB is for the five-year HCI project — creating the lab, developing, and executing the program over the five year period.
Does ventureLAB provide us funding?
No. However, we will work with companies at the right stage to help identify potential public and private funding opportunities.
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about becoming a Hardware Catalyst Initiative partner.