Highway1, the incubator program for hardware startups run by PCH International, announced today that its Spring 2014 program is now open for applications and that it will be expanding to accept up to 15 global companies.
Brady Forrest, VP at Highway1, also announced he will be traveling to a number of cities across Asia, US and Europe to hold Hardware meetups, with the aim of promoting the Highway1 program and talking to entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and “Makers” in of these locations.
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.
“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. With rolling applications, we can do more for Highway1 companies.”Brady Forrest, VP, Highway1
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.”