Breaking: Highway1 Incubator Opens Enrollment for Next Class of Hardware Startups

October 22, 2014

8:30 pm

(OCT 22, 2014) SAN FRANCISCO — Highway1, PCH’s hardware incubator based in San Francisco, today announced an open call for applications from around the world, as well as a shift to rolling admissions. The new admissions process allows startups to be accepted into the program throughout the year, and creates more flexibility and fluidity for applicants. With this change, startups can take advantage of Highway1’s extensive support resources when they most need them, versus waiting or rushing to join Highway1.

Highway1’s goal is to foster innovation and entrepreneurship through mentoring and assisting hardware startups to build first-class teams and companies. The curriculum focuses on manufacturing, supply chain, inventory, and pitching to investors. Led by Brady Forrest, a technology evangelist obsessed with opening doors for makers, entrepreneurs, and inventors, the Highway1 program essentially takes a team with an idea and helps shape it into a viable company and product offering. Since its inception in 2013, Highway1 has accepted 35 hardware companies, including Cue, Drop, Ringly, and Navdy, among others. There are 12 companies in the current program.

“We work exclusively with early-stage startups, so we can’t miss a beat. In order to ensure we’re accepting the best and brightest companies, we knew we needed to be a bit more flexible. A month can be a year for a startup, so our system of two batches per year was too exclusive,” said Forrest. “With rolling applications, we can do more for Highway1 companies.”

As an arm of manufacturing icon PCH, Highway1 has a unique understanding of how fast time moves for a young company; at times, fitting into a prescribed schedule can be difficult. With this change, applicants will continue to have access to Highway1’s extensive network of mentors, unique classroom curriculum, and 24/7 prototyping lab. They will also embark on a two week trip to China to learn first hand about manufacturing and visit factories, as well as the PCH Highway1’s “Demo Day” event, where graduates pitch their concepts and show their working prototype to investors, industry leaders, and press. Other elements of the program include $50,000 in seed money in exchange for equity, as well as long-term access to Highway1’s prototyping facilities.

“We are very excited by the caliber of applicants we are getting to the Highway1 program,” said PCH CEO Liam Casey. “With the ability to bring startups into the program throughout the year, we are opening the door wider to more companies.”

Past graduates have spanned the product spectrum, from smart appliances to home health care kits to wearables, and have seen major successes after the program. Drop and Navdy, two of Highway1’s breakout successes, have since raised almost $10 million dollars. Drop will be available in market this fall, followed later on by Navdy in 2015.

“Highway1 and PCH were instrumental to our early product development, and the speed by which we are now able to come to market,” said Christina Mercando, CEO Ringly. “We took full advantage of the mentor program, and found the trip to China critical to understanding and preparing us for the manufacturing process.”

To learn more about the Highway1 application process or apply please visit
http://highway1.io/apply/

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Previously the Managing Editor at Tech.Co, Ann Diab has a background of launching and nurturing of startups and tech companies.

Empowering and educating entrepreneurs and startups to better productivity and culture is her passion. Growth Manager at WorkingOn to enable folks all over the world to enjoy work and improve communication. Follow me on Twitter.

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