HAX Accelerator

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IndustryVenture Capital
FounderCyril Ebersweiler
Sean O'Sullivan
Number of locations
Area served

HAX (formerly HAXLR8R) is an early stage investor and accelerator focused on hardware startups based in San Francisco, Shenzhen, and Tokyo.

The program selects startups for investment and offers on-site support and mentoring in exchange for equity over a period of 180 days spent at the HAX locations in San Francisco and Shenzhen.

HAX was the first and most active accelerator in the world to focus on hardware startups, leveraging its unique access to Shenzhen and San Francisco ecosystems. As of 2019, 50% from USA, 20% from Europe, 20% from China and 10% from the rest of the world.

Founding History[edit]

Founded in 2011 by Cyril Ebersweiler and Sean O'Sullivan, the roots of the HAX Accelerator program took hold when another accelerator program, CHINA-AXLR8R was born in Dalian, China in 2009.[1] The summer program produced two promising startups that were working on "disruptive" hardware. Cyril Ebersweiler recognized that the opportunity to "accelerate" hardware startups had arrived, thanks to the gradual opening of Shenzhen's supply chain. The first HAX Accelerator program ran in Shenzhen from March to June 2012.

HAX Seed Program[edit]

HAX Seed Program is currently an accelerator program exclusively focused on hardware development that includes both a cash investment and product development support in exchange for equity. Startups that are accepted into the program spend 180 days with the HAX team of engineers, designers and entrepreneurs at their locations in Shenzhen and San Francisco. The startups get access to the Shenzhen ecosystem, close to the supply chain and factory ecosystem available there.[2]

Startups focus on improving their product positioning and strategy, iterate on prototypes, prepare for manufacturing, and launch with media and , they manufacture and distribute it. Mentors assist the startups in practical areas of business like executive coaching, graphic design, mechanical and packaging design, factory sourcing, distribution.

At the end of the program the startup presents the final product to investors and raise further capital both HAX and investor network.

Selection Process[edit]

Startups are selected among hundreds of applicants, by applying online with a prototype targeting a large market with a major competitive advantage. This advantage often comes from a unique ability to combing physical and digital technologies.

Notable Startups[edit]

As of June 2020, over 250 startups have participated in the HAX Programs. Among notable startups are:

  • Makeblock, a Shenzhen-based STEM robotics company that raised over $36M at a $200M valuation.
  • Several robotics companies such as Simbe Robotics (inventory robot), Dispatch (delivery robot) and Rovenso (all-terrain rover)
  • 11 startups who raised over $1M on Kickstarter including CHIP, Kokoon, Prynt and more.
  • M5Stack, a Shenzhen-based company making stackable product development toolkits based on ESP32, targeting applications such as STEM Learning and IoT. In 2017, the founder of M5Stack, Jimmy Lai, received a seed round investment from HAX and officially founded M5Stack.[3]


  1. ^ Biggs, John. "Haxlr8r Is Looking For A Few Good Hardware Start-Ups To Be Close To The Action". TechCrunch. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  2. ^ -, Admin. "China-Axlr8r and the Chinese Startup Scene". Popular Industry. Retrieved 12 August 2013.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "M5Stack - About Us". M5Stack. Retrieved 22 February 2020.

External links[edit]