PITTSBURGH--In the midst of thousands of app releases and software updates, the hardware revolution is cranking up its gears.
With the dawn of hardware accelerators like Pittsburgh’s AlphaLab Gear, hardware startups traditionally overlooked by investors are getting increased attention, and rightly so: “In the first half of 2016 we saw $1.7 billion invested in hardware across 120 deals — more dollars raised than any other six-month period in a decade,” Bolt’s Chris Quintero reports.
Hardware can have numerous advantages over software, such as higher acquisition valuations and enforceable IP. “The growth of IoT, the falling cost of sensors, and increased access to tools and resources through makerspaces like TechShop make it cheaper, faster, and easier than ever before to get a hardware startup off the ground,” explains Ilana Diamond, Managing Director at AlphaLab Gear.
To highlight these startups and drive further investment, AlphaLab Gear has teamed up with Dassault Systèmes’ SOLIDWORKS brand and Bosch to hold the third annual National Hardware Cup, a competition where early-stage hardware startups compete for $50,000 in investment and over $50,000 in software, cash, and other prizes.
The AlphaLab Gear National Hardware Cup will accept online applications nationwide. Six startups will be selected to pitch their companies to investors and seasoned hardware entrepreneurs in each of seven regional semifinals held in Pittsburgh, Boston, DC, Chicago, LA, Austin, and Ft. Lauderdale. The winner from each regional semifinal will compete in Pittsburgh for the main competition, scheduled for April 19-20, 2017.
Building on the success of the previous two years, this year’s Hardware Cup brings a new twist: it’s going international. Teams from South Korea, Japan, and potentially two more countries will send their best competitors to Pittsburgh for the first International Hardware Cup. “It’s inspiring to see the hardware community come together over international borders,” says Diamond. “We can’t wait to see the best the world has to offer.”
Interested parties can submit their application at www.alphalabgear.org/hardwarecup.
AlphaLab Gear (ALG) is a top-ranked accelerator nationwide, providing early-stage physical product companies with investment, an extensive mentor network, educational programming, and manufacturing assistance. Founded in 2013, ALG is a program of Innovation Works, one of the nation’s most active seed-stage investors.