An accelerator called HAX held its 8th Demo Day for hardware startups in San Francisco yesterday.
Best known for bringing companies in its portfolio to Shenzhen, China for about 15 weeks to get to know everything they can about manufacturing there, Hax is funded by SOS Ventures. The firm spins out accelerators to focus on different problems or technologies about every two years and is also the force behind synthetic biology accelerator IndieBio.
HAX invests $25,000 to $100,000 for a 6-9 percent stake in companies that it admits to its program. SOSV will invest even more in select follow-on rounds led by other investors.
HAX founder and SOSV Partner Cyril Ebersweiler said that in this last cycle, applications from sophisticated robotics and healthtech companies soared, but the accelerator saw fewer applications from companies making 3D printers. It still fielded plenty of applications from the makers of fitness trackers and drones, but accepted fewer of these hardware companies into the program.
A challenge that all early-stage hardware startups are facing, he said, is the rising cost of manufacturing services in China.
“Startups may go to Shenzhen for manufacturing, but what they end up with is low cost and high-speed product development. Because of all that engineering, prototyping and design expertise, Shenzhen is still the best place for manufacturing in the world. But over time, we see automation making manufacturing and assembly affordable and fast in other places. And at the same time, the cost of living is on the rise in Shenzhen, which brings up the cost of services there.”
Here are the 15 companies in HAX VIII.
Trash sorting robot for offices.
The 3D printer for clothes.
Low cost Water-jet cutter.
Agile rovers for heavy-duty in rough terrain and harsh environments.
DC-based power and IoT infrastructure for new buildings.
Habit awareness bracelet.
Tracking injuries for runners.
Sleep science mask.
Precision growing device for accelerated botany.
The Alpha Labs
Routine-creating wearable for kids with ADHD.
Sonically molded headphones.
A robot for Ping Pong training.
Read more about three of our favorites here.