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HAX Accelerator (formerly HAXLR8R) is a seed accelerator focused on hardware startups based in Shenzhen and San Francisco. HAX has been recognized as the world's most active early stage investor in hardware.[by whom?]
The program selects startups for investment and offers on-site support and mentoring in exchange for equity over a period of 111 days (HAX Seed, Shenzhen) and 8 weeks (HAX Growth, San Francisco).
HAX was the first accelerator in the world to focus on hardware startups, leveraging its unique access to Shenzhen's ecosystem. As of June 2017, about 90% of its startup investments were from overseas, with 50% from USA, 25% from Europe, 10% from China and 15% from the rest of the world.
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. 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 Accelerator is currently an accelerator program exclusively focused on hardware development. The development part of the program takes place in Shenzhen, China, close to the supply chain and factory ecosystem available there. In addition to the on-site program, startups receive a $100,000 investment, in exchange for 10% equity.
Over 111 days, 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.
Twice a week, companies share their progress and receive feedback from mentors and peers. At the end of the program the startup presents the final product to investors and raise further capital. HAX Accelerator companies receive up to $200k in matching funds from the SOSV Hardware scaling fund.
The HAX Growth program based is San Francisco prepares hardware startups for scaling their distribution, via mentoring and introductions to buyers at global retailers. The Growth program runs twice a year for 8 weeks. There is no cash investment associated. Startups join the program in exchange for 2% equity.
Startups are selected among hundreds of applicants, by applying online with a prototype (HAX Seed) or product (HAX Growth) targeting a large market with a major competitive advantage. This advantage is often derived from software or science.
As of June 2017, over 200 startups have participated in the HAX Accelerator 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.
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