PCH and Highway1 Host Demo Day for “Best Funded Class to Date”

June 4, 2015

5:00 pm

Not too long ago Highway1 lauded their spring 2015 as the best funded cohort of startups they’ve seen to date. It was huge for both the accelerator and the class, who got to set up shop in Highway1’s newly opened 10,000 square foot facility in San Francisco.

It was especially exciting when they announced the demo day for this class of startups. PCH, the parent company of Highway1, hosted more than 250 investors, mentors, and industry leaders to see the latest and greatest Internet of Things (IoT) hardware products from the 11 graduating startups.

“Our fourth class of hardware startups came in with much hype, and they have not disappointed,” says Brady Forrest, VP of Highway1. “These eleven companies have dedicated the last four months to refining their prototype, learning how to make products that are not only on time and on budget, but well designed with the consumer experience considered throughout the entire process.”

Of the applicants, fewer than five percent were accepted into the spring 2015 class, which featured companies from India, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the US. In addition to the expected access to mentors, classroom curriculum, labs, and office space, the accelerator also includes a 10 day trip to Shenzhen, China where these companies can learn firsthand about building a global manufacturing and supply chain network.

“Silicon Valley has a tradition of funding new ideas with tremendous opportunity. Investors are seeing that innovation in hardware is gaining critical mass and cannot be ignored any longer,” says Liam Casey, founder and CEO of PCH. “It is PCH’s job to de-risk investment in hardware, accelerating how products are made and get to market. Just like some of our past graduates, I expect members of this class to have a big impact in the market.”

To make sure they have a measurable effect on the industry, Highway1 invests $50,000 of seed money into each company for a four to seven percent equity stake. Across four graduating classes, companies have raised more than $50 million in funding with several products at retail stages.

Here are the 11 companies who participated in the spring 2015 Highway demo day:

  • Ayda: Ayda is empowering women during their fertility journey. The company’s first product is a wearable fertility tracker, worn only during sleep, that enables women to effortlessly identify when they are most fertile so they can maximize their chances of conceiving naturally. The Ayda fertility tracker is a seamless, non-invasive experience, automatically logging biometric data during sleep to a connected app on an easy to use platform. Ayda removes the burden associated with fertility tracking, providing women and couples with actionable data and peace of mind.
  • Chronos: Chronos transforms your watch into a fully connected timepiece. With Chronos, consumers get all the functionality of today’s best wearable technology, without sacrificing their style. Chronos is discreet, attaching to the back of any watch with micro-suction, adding custom notifications, health tracking and other smart features to the watch you already wear.
  • Current Labs: Current Labs uses connected sensors and simple interfaces to facilitate the monitoring and optimization of water-based ecosystems such as aquariums, aquaponics and aquaculture. FishBit, Current Labs’ first product, helps aquarium owners take better care of their fish through water quality data, actionable insights and disaster prevention.
  • FarmHub: FarmHub is leading the data revolution in modern farming. FarmHub makes efficient, precision agriculture possible with the most accurate weather data available, collected from a local weather station on your farm, seamlessly integrated with the cloud for real time decision-making. Rooted in the open source agriculture tech movement, FarmHub’s cloud data is available through an open API for direct integration with other agriculture data management tools. FarmHub gives agriculture producers the weather data they need to maximize harvest yield.
  • Game of Drones: Game of Drones, the drone sports company, is creating a worldwide platform for beginners and experts alike to compete in drone competitions and sports leagues through groundbreaking hardware, software and community. The Game of Drones second generation drone, FST (Flow State Tantrum), combines their infamous indestructible design with the best pilot training tools available in a personal drone. In an industry first, the FST radio controller will come equipped with a five-lesson flight school, live video streaming and a 3D flight simulator directly integrated. The indestructible airframe reduces repair times and the risk of damaging expensive electronics, encouraging more people to fly, especially beginners. Even more exciting, FST features direct integration with the large Game of Drones online community for immediate streaming of flight videos, race results, leaderboard updates and battle achievements.
  • LensBricks: LensBricks is making the world’s smartest consumer imaging technology. VidalifeTM, the company’s first product, is a smart home camera which allows users to capture authentic, spontaneous moments – the Big Little Moments – that often make our fondest memories. Vidalife combines a number of sensors with advanced audio and visual recognition software to effortlessly and automatically identify the moments worth remembering in everyday life. Never miss a Big Little Moment with loved ones again. Even more, Vidalife places you in the moment so that you are part of the action rather than behind the camera. Simply turn on Vidalife and let the memories unfold.
  • Lully: Lully, a Y Combinator and venture-backed startup, is improving sleep for all ages. The company’s first product, the Lully Sleep Guardian, prevents night terrors before they occur, allowing both child and parent to sleep through the night. Night terrors affect 1.5 million children every year in the U.S. Using a small device placed under the mattress, the Sleep Guardian learns your child’s sleep pattern and recognizes when they are entering an unhealthy state of sleep, a precursor to night terrors. The Sleep Guardian then uses gentle vibrations to keep the child healthily asleep. Parents can track their child’s sleep through the connected Lully app. Lully is the result of research conducted at Stanford University’s Biodesign Fellowship.
  • Sereneti Kitchen: Sereneti Kitchen is bringing home cooked meals to those without the know-how, time, or ability to cook for themselves. The company’s first products are Cooki, a robotic cooking appliance that prepares single-pot meals with fresh ingredients and Foodi, an app ecosystem of recipes. Trays of fresh ingredients are packaged in a meal kit and delivered to a consumer’s home, where it can be stored until time to eat. When ready, the ingredient trays are placed into Cooki, the corresponding recipe is selected on Foodi and activated with the touch of a single button. Foodi will alert the user when their meal is hot and ready.
  • Shade: Shade is a medical device company enabling the 1.5 million lupus patients in the U.S. to live a normal life. As prevalent in the U.S. as type 1 diabetes, lupus is a severe and debilitating autoimmune disease with symptoms triggered by ultraviolet (UV) exposure. Shade is a small and elegant device that attaches to the outside of a patient’s clothing and measures UV radiation with an accuracy previously accessible only with expensive, cumbersome, laboratory-class equipment. By monitoring exposure through a mobile application, patients using Shade can prevent problems before they arise and venture back outdoors with confidence. Spun out of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, Shade is partnering with Weill-Cornell University for clinical trials this year. Shade will later expand to patients suffering from skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the U.S.
  • Spinn: Spinn is redefining the coffee industry with a one of a kind in-home brewing experience. Employing patented centrifugal brewing technology, Spinn uses fresh beans to brew delicious, café quality espresso, Americano, French Press or drip style coffee at the push of a button. An online marketplace integrated with the brewer through a mobile app connects customers to local coffee roasters, automatically replenishing beans and loading the roaster’s recipes to the coffee maker to ensure the coffee is brewed as the roaster intended. Even more, Spinn eliminates the wasteful and expensive pods required by other single serve machines.
  • Transformair: Transformair is the world’s most powerful air purifier, creating healthy indoor spaces. Transformair’s patented core purification technology is derived from the world-renowned research conducted in solar technology by founder Yogi Goswami, Ph.D. Transformair completely destroys 100 percent of all common indoor air pollutants, including bacteria, mold, viruses, volatile organic chemicals and other airborne allergens, most on the first pass through the purifier. This is a paradigm shift compared to the industry standard, HEPA filters, which merely trap some pollutants on the surface of the filter where they continue to survive. The device can be controlled remotely through a mobile app.

Image Credit: Highway1 Facebook page


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Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988

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