Hardware Cup

The AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup has teamed up with IEEE, Startbot, Bosch, and Philips to hold the 2018 Hardware Cup, a competition where early-stage hardware startups compete for $50,000 in investment and over $50,000 in other prizes.

Now in its fourth year, the Hardware Cup highlights promising physical product companies around the nation. The Cup capitalizes on the growth of the hardware sector, which recently has set record-setting numbers.

According to CB Insights, “The second quarter of 2017 saw nearly 140 deals and $1.2B in funding to consumer hardware startups. And last year was a record year for deals and dollars. Some $4.4B went into consumer hardware across 624 separate deals. Half of the activity went to early-stage opportunities, including nascent companies in emerging areas like robotics, smart-home solutions, and AR/VR.”

At the forefront of this trend, AlphaLab Gear, Innovation Works’ hardware startup accelerator based in Pittsburgh, launched the first Hardware Cup pitch competition in 2015. The event has grown each year and is now an internationally-renowned competition, with participants from 6 countries vying for the grand prize last year.

“We are thrilled to partner with IEEE, Bosch, Startbot, and Philips on the 2018 Hardware Cup. And not only do we have the chance to highlight these cutting-edge startups and connect them to a huge network of entrepreneurs, potential customers, and investors.”

Past AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup winners include VaGenie, a gamified Kegel trainer and biofeedback app, LucidCam, a 3D VR camera, and Curb, a home energy monitoring system.

Even companies that don’t make it to the finals can reap huge benefits from participating. Take it from 2017 Hardware Cup competitor Jeffrey Ly, CEO of Xboard: “We got to meet investors, we got to meet future clients, future mentors, ” he says. “We met manufacturing contacts, we met fellow entrepreneurs from the hardware-focused space…and we didn’t even win!”

The Alphalab Gear Hardware Cup is once again a global competition with regional events in planning across several countries worldwide. Within the US, six regional semifinals are already planned for Pittsburgh, Boston, DC, Chicago, LA, and Austin. (Semi-finalist companies located outside of these cities can apply for a travel stipend to attend their regional event.) The winner from each competition will then take an all-expenses paid trip to Pittsburgh for the International Finals competition, scheduled for April 18, 2018. Applications are now open for a limited time.

New this year, the finals will be held as part of the IEEE N3XT® Frontier Tech & Startup Summit, which will bring together technical entrepreneurs who wish to strengthen their business development skills, learn how to make their ideas into inventions, and receive inspiration from visionaries sharing their success stories.

“We are thrilled to partner with IEEE, Bosch, Startbot, and Philips on the 2018 Hardware Cup. And not only do we have the chance to highlight these cutting-edge startups and connect them to a huge network of entrepreneurs, potential customers, and investors,” explains Ilana Diamond, Managing Director at AlphaLab Gear, “but the day after the International Finals, we set up 1-on-1 meetings with some of the nation’s top hardware investors. These meetings enable immediate and future investments, and are connections that serve the startups well after the Hardware Cup ends.”

Interested startups can submit their application at www.alphalabgear.org/hardwarecup.