HCI

Canada's first hardware and silicon-focused incubator and lab

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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.

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What is the HCI?

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.

How To Apply

Applications for the first cohort of the Hardware Catalyst Initiative are now closed. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified of HCI updates.

What You’ll Get If Selected

Companies accepted into the HCI will receive:

  • 24/7 access to a hardware lab with state-of-the-art specialized equipment, such as high speed spectrum analyzer and high speed oscilloscope, as well as prototyping, production services, and Electronic Design Automation (EDA) toolsets
  • Access to highly experienced hardware and silicon development experts, as well as supply chain management, product environmental compliance, and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) compliance experts
  • Dedicated advisory team to work with the company to define business milestones and to support them with resource navigation, introductions, and putting a growth plan in place
  • Specialized supports and guidance around: intellectual property (IP) protection, market development, purchase and supply contracts
  • Support through the Capital Investment Program
  • 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 per team) at ventureLAB

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must have been founded within the 5 years immediately preceding the application
  • Less than $5M in revenue in last 12 months
  • A clear vision of the product or service being built, and have identified the market and target segments
  • Developed or are developing a semiconductor product, silicon IP or embedded hardware product
  • Willing to spend minimum 2 days a week at ventureLAB for the duration of the program
  • Located in southern Ontario or plan to establish long-term presence in Southern Ontario

Not sure if you’re eligible, or have questions about the HCI? Contact us at  hci@venturelab.ca.

 

Key Dates

  • October 1-31: Applications open for first cohort of companies
  • November 1-22: Evaluation period for applicants
  • Week of November 25: Announcement of successful applicants
  • January 2020: First cohort kicks off

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

 

Key Dates:

  • October 1-31: Applications open for first cohort of companies
  • November 1-22: Evaluation period for applicants
  • Week of November 25: Announcement of successful applicants
  • January 2020: First cohort kicks off

 

What does the program offer?

  • 24/7 access to a hardware lab with state-of-the-art specialized equipment, such as high speed spectrum analyzer and high speed oscilloscope, as well as prototyping, production services, and Electronic Design Automation (EDA) toolsets
  • Access to highly experienced hardware and silicon development experts, as well as supply chain management, product environmental compliance, and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) compliance experts
  • Dedicated advisory team to work with the company to define business milestones and to support them with resource navigation, introductions, and putting a growth plan in place
  • Specialized supports and guidance around: intellectual property (IP) protection, market development, purchase and supply contracts
  • Support through the Capital Investment Program
  • 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 per team) at ventureLAB

 

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:

  • Hardware and silicon development
  • Intellectual property (IP) protection
  • Market development
  • Supply chain management
  • Product environmental compliance
  • Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) compliance
  • Capital financing

 

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, or have questions about the HCI? Contact us at  hci@venturelab.ca.

 

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.

 

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.

Partners

 

Interested in becoming an HCI partner?

Contact us at hci@venturelab.ca to learn more about becoming a Hardware Catalyst Initiative partner.

 

 

Have a question?

Contact our HCI team at hci@venturelab.ca.