NextFab Seeks to Invest $100k in Four Hardware Startups

Application process now open to innovative start-ups with a prototype

By Walter Foley

NextFab’s RAPID Hardware Accelerator is accepting applications now through Jan. 18. for its spring 2018 cohort, in which four hardware startups will each receive up to $25,000 in funding, along with access to equipment, software and training to help propel their ideas into the real world.

“We are looking for startups that have a physical prototype and are working in a sector where we have strong expertise, like medical devices, new sensors and systems for monitoring and detection, consumer electronics, and devices that improve the STEM experience for kids and students,” said NextFab CFO Ken Tomlinson in a press release. “Of course, we are going to consider good applications from other sectors as well.”

RAPID—Revenue through Advanced manufacturing, Product development, Innovation and Design thinking—will match the selected teams with mentors, provide technical and business consulting, and offer resources for prototyping. At the end of the program, teams can pitch their startup strategies to a panel of judges made up of entrepreneurs, advisers and NextFab staff. 

The 12-week program runs from March 1 through May 24, primarily through NextFab’s 2025 Washington Ave. location—although this isn’t strictly a Philly affair.

“Our previous cohort greatly expanded our reach, because we managed to attract startups coming all the way from Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.,” said Todor Raykov, NextFab’s venture services manager. “For our next cohort, we will keep the geographical scope the same, but we are going to double our efforts to bring even more value to the selected entrepreneurs. Connecting them to our network of local manufacturers, investors, advisers, successful entrepreneurs, and the great talent pool available in Philly is what we think will keep these startups in our region.”

Recent members of the program include Blue Dragon Bioimaging, which produces research-grade microscopes with souped-up technology; Circalux, a developer of portable lighting designed to be less invasive to sleep patterns; Strados Labs, which is working on smart technology for people with chronic asthma; and Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel, a developer of technology to alleviate phantom-limb pain among people who have had limbs amputated.

Read more about NextFab here.