Stage II | San Francisco
World-class, international program focused on launching hardware-enabled startups
Following Stage I in Shenzhen, teams will relocate to San Francisco, where we’ll focus on launching your product, gaining traction in the market, and connecting you with investors.
When are you ready to move into Stage II?
- You have completed the design and manufacturing of your product
- You have successfully executed a crowd-funding campaign or raised seed investment
- You’re ready to build demand, establish a supply chain and drive sales
- At least two people from your team are willing to relocate to San Francisco for 8 weeks
What will I get?
- A crystal clear sales & distribution plan honed by world-class in-house mentors
- Dedicated time with the best marketing and growth-hacking experts
- Relationships with key customers (retail buyers for B2C cohorts, corporate decision-makers in our B2B cohorts)
- Unprecedented access to the Silicon Valley hardware community
- One year of full strategic support, inclusion in trade shows (including CES), and office space in San Francisco for up to 3 months
- A tight-knit network of over 250 HAX founders to share your successes with
We are currently reviewing applications for the next cohort starting at the end of May.
Applications are due April 30.
How it Works
With the help of our full-time staff and extensive mentor network, you will go through 2 to 3 months of sales, marketing, operations, distribution and sales training. This isn’t a SAAS software accelerator program: it’s hardware-focused with your specific needs in mind.
Each week, you’ll meet with advisors and top hardware industry experts who will offer tailored feedback on your team’s evolving needs. As the world’s leading hardware accelerator, the HAX network is an unmatched resource for hardware founders. We have the closest retail and enterprise connections in the industry.
During the program, you’ll have direct exposure to key decision makers. We help you arrange meetings with your target customers, whether they are retailers or major enterprises.
WE FOCUS ON BUILDING YOUR ACCESS TO KEY PARTNERS, SO THAT YOU GET YOUR PRODUCT TO MARKET FAST
What You Get
The main thing you’ll get from HAX is hands-on help, a crystal-clear launch and sales strategy, and life-long mentor relationships. Once the program ends, you’ll be part of a world-class network with unlimited global support.
We are a fast-growing family of over 300 experienced entrepreneurs, industry experts and hackers. We have an extensive support team at your disposal, eager to help you overcome your manufacturing woes, improve your user experience, or figure out sales and distribution. We’ve been there!
Because we are the biggest hardware accelerator in the world, we have access to the best mentors and potential customers for your startup. What will you get in your time with us?
- Weekly strategic guidance: each week, you’ll touch base with our lead hardware mentors to set your strategy and work on weekly execution. Our mentors are best-in-class for helping hardware startups make money.
- Growth hacking and marketing support, including one-on-one time with multiple high-value mentors to help you navigate your sales funnel and maximize your digital marketing impact
- Operational guidance and introductions: you’ll attend key workshops on everything from outsourcing customer support to the basics of selling on Amazon, plus one-on-one time with major distributors and logistics providers.
- Sales training and meeting prep: We don’t just help you get meetings with key customers, we help you prep. From mastering the 2 minute pitch to navigating a complex corporate reporting structure, we have you covered.
- Content creation and support: You will have dedicated time with a professional content producer to create the video or photo shoot you’ve always dreamed of. Content says it best!
- Weekly founder chats and mentorship: Our SF location gives us access to major hardware founders, many of whom are HAX alum. We invite founders for weekly candid fireside chats where you’ll get all the juicy details on what works and what doesn’t when growing a business.
- Introductions to key partners: someone to say “yes” to your product! For B2C teams, trips to Minneapolis and Cupertino to meet with major potential retail partners. For B2B teams, introductions to potential customers through our extensive network and corporate partners.
- Introductions to key hardware investors: we bring in top hardware investors for “speed demos” 1-2 times per week, and provide real-world financing advice and guidance via our SOSV investment team.
- Lifetime access to HAX and SOSV resources and discounts: access to our internal community perks means thousands of dollars in savings on the services your startup needs, plus HAX-sponsored space at CES in Las Vegas and IFA in Berlin.
- A tight-knit network of fellow HAX founders to share your successes with. Beyond the HAX family, we are a fast-growing network of over 300 experienced entrepreneurs, industry experts and hackers.
- Up to 3 months of free office space in downtown San Francisco for you and your team.
At the end of the program, you’ll have an air-tight sales and launch strategy and the connections to get the deal done.
Our Selection Process
We know how to make things happen
You are doing something innovative and difficult in a well-defined market.
You are driven and passionate about bringing that idea to life.
You are dedicated and ready to work hard to make that happen.
QUESTIONS? WE HAVE ANSWERS
Who is behind that madness?
Blame Cyril Ebersweiler and Sean O’Sullivan for this.
How does Stage II work?
Following your time in Shenzhen, you’ll relocate to San Francisco for 2 to 3 months, where we’ll help you gain traction and give you access to top Silicon Valley investors.
The first two weeks of the program are intense, tactical workshops designed to fine-tune your approach and provide you with all the right partners and assets, down to how you tell your story, your packaging, and your point-of-sale display. The remaining weeks are time to put the rubber to the road; you’ll meet key industry partners and have a chance to pitch your product to the world’s leading retailers. Demo events will give you the chance to engage with customers in actual retail settings, and we end the program with an event designed to get you maximum media and VC exposure.
Where is the office?
We are located in the heart of San Francisco, near the Civic Center.
What can Phase II offer me?
We’ll help you boost your company and increase its chances of success. Specifically:
- Developing your channel strategy, and introducing you to the right partners.
- Helping you optimize your bill of materials, supply chain, and logistics.
- Familiarizing you with the basic tools and processes a sales organization needs.
- Connecting you with potential retailers, distributors, investors and strategic partners, as well as advisors and press.
- Introducing you to world-class mentors and alumni who have expertise in starting companies, developing innovative consumer products, and creatively marketing those products to millions of consumers. These will be some of the most valuable connections you’ll make as an entrepreneur.
What does the team look like?
The team is composed of 3 full-time experts with over 50 years of combined manufacturing, sales and distribution experience. Cyril Ebersweiler is a venture partner with SOSV and Managing Director of HAX. Alan Clayton is a distribution specialist. Kate Whitcomb, the Program Director, is a retail veteran who has spent over $500m on products in her previous career as a retail buyer. We are augmented and supported by the global network of 100+ HAX companies, advisors, growth-hackers, and mentors.
How do I apply for HAX?
The application to start HAX Phase I can be found here.
When is the application deadline?
We accept 4-5 teams every month, which means deadlines are rolling. That said, it is advantageous to apply early in order to provide the HAX Growth team sufficient time to review your application. However, early applications do not receive higher priority or guarantee acceptance.
I already have funding, can I still apply?
Absolutely, it’s not at all uncommon and is actually encouraged (or better yet: revenue)! In your application, please specify the nature of your previous funding.
How do you choose which companies are accepted into HAX?
We will choose great founders who are in a position to scale up, and ideally solve real problems or create a meaningful change to our current technological state.
What kind of teams are you looking for?
Mainly teams that have a working prototype in the consumer hardware space, but also B2B or robotics. Things we like in no particular order:
- Consumer devices in all fields (health, fitness, travel…)
- Gadgets / Toys of a disruptive nature
- Consumer electronics with a software ecosystem
- B2B devices
- Media and Entertainment
- Robotics, Bionics
Do I need to have prior start-up experience?
No experience required. We just ask that you’re passionate about your idea and willing to work hard at making it a reality.
Do I need to be in the Valley during the program?
Two members of your team will need to be based in San Francisco throughout the duration of the program. It’s the best way for us to help you during this critical period of growth!
Does HAX provide housing?
No. However, we will be able to offer advice on finding living arrangements and put you in touch with the other teams so that you might make arrangements together. Where you live is up to you.
How can we deal with visas?
While you will have to apply personally to get the requested temporary visas, we will provide invitation letters where necessary in order to make the process less painful.
What happens at the end of HAX Phase II? Am I on my own?
No. The HAX experience doesn’t stop at the end of this program. We will continue to help as you grow your startup. There’s a lot that has to come together to turn a great idea into a great company — resources, talent, marketing, sales, partnerships, etc. We’ll be there to help as you take those important next steps. Remember, we succeed only if you succeed.
How much access will we get to the mentors?
Different mentors will be coming in and out of the HAX space at different times. Some won’t be physically present but will be available via email, phone, video chat, and forums. Some will interact once in a while, some every day. We’ll be working on setting up office hours so everyone can get some one-on-one time, and we hope to have workshops with mentors as they are available.
What’s expected of me during HAX Phase II?
We can’t tell you what to do. This is your company, after all. The only obligation is to be physically present and participate in all the sessions offered by the program.
You’re expected to work hard, and come out on the other side with something better than what you started with.