At the START SF conference in San Francisco, Brady Forrest (formerly of O’Reilly) took to the stage to announce Highway 1, an incubator for hardware startups. While there are a number of hardware co-working/incubator spaces here in SF, Highway1 has a massive 30,000 square foot building which includes a $3 million machine shop.
The incubator was started under PCH International, a global supply chain company. Most likely you’ve never heard of PCH but the program sounds incredibly promising. The incubator also appears to serve as an incredible business development opportunity for the firm. What’s not so clear is how much equity is taken from each company.
As Brady emphasized on the stage, “hardware companies are incredibly challenging to scale”. All that went through my mind at that point was “so we’re only going to ask for 50 percent of your business!” That’s clearly not the case but it sounds like the value offering here is essentially unmatched.
As part of the program, startups are required to spend time in Shenzhen where they get the opportunity to tour various manufacturing facilities. The only other substantial incubator that I’ve personally heard of in this space is HAXLR8R. While I have yet to chat with the Highway1 team to find out how their program compares, it sounds impressive.
You can learn more about the program here.