mHUB Selects Nine Startups from Around the World to Participate in Inaugural Cohort of Accelerator for Smart Manufacturing Hardtech Innovation

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Kim Blomquist
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mHUB Selects Nine Startups from Around the World to Participate in Inaugural Cohort of Accelerator for Smart Manufacturing Hardtech Innovation 


Unparalleled resources and regional manufacturing ecosystem make Chicago based mHUB a top destination for physical product startups 


(CHICAGO May 5, 2021) - mHUB, one of the nation’s leading independent hardtech innovation and manufacturing centers, will welcome nine high-growth startups to Chicago to participate in the premiere cohort of its Accelerated Incubation, a six-month, hands-on accelerator focused on hardtech product development and commercialization. The nine selected teams were chosen from a pool of nearly 500 applicants, 27% of whom were international teams.

"Chicago has long been renowned for its world-class tech and manufacturing ecosystem—making it a magnet for entrepreneurs looking for their next big break," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "These regional strengths simply cannot be replicated elsewhere and further Chicago's reputation as one of the leading cities for new businesses to grow and prosper. I want to congratulate mHUB on the launch of their accelerator program, thank them for choosing Chicago and look forward to welcoming the nine startups in this initial cohort to our great city."

The cohort is the result of a rigorous selection process that included an advisory of industry experts, venture capitalists, manufacturers and serial entrepreneurs. The startups selected are demand-driven, solving real manufacturing and logistics challenges, putting the industry on a path to higher resiliency, productivity, worker safety and sustainability.

“We created the mHUB accelerator to expedite the path to commercialization for high potential hardtech startups and provide them with early seed capital that’s so scarce for hardware as compared to software,” said Haven Allen, mHUB co-founder and CEO. “The Midwest region’s history as a manufacturing capital as well as its current recognition as a hotbed of investment activity means that the future of hardtech innovation can and will happen here.” 

mHUB's mission is to be at the forefront of that reality and address the historic barriers early-stage physical product startups have experienced. The mHUB Industrial IoT accelerator provides access to capital thru a $15M Product Impact Fund, currently being raised, and follow-on investment opportunities from the program’s corporate partners as well as access to over $6M of equipment and resources. It matches seasoned mentors to each startup, focuses on business and leadership training and offers access to a broad manufacturing ecosystem. Being situated in Chicago, one of the nation’s largest manufacturing regions, mHUB hosts a supplier network of over 500+ U.S. manufacturers and growing. The region also has broader corporate and academic engagement in smart manufacturing. Further, Chicago’s venture capital community has been gaining clout for impressive ROI and rapid deal activity. 

"I’ve lived in cities all over the world, now in the Bay Area, and have never found anything comparable to mHUB’s accelerator program,” said Ilayda Buyukdogan, co-founder and CEO of Compocket, one of the program’s nine participating startups. “Hardware innovation is inherently capital intensive. mHUB has built a facility and community around recognizing that the next wave of breakthrough technology will be focused on our physical environments and how we measure them. It’s exciting to officially join a community that sees hardware innovation as both imperative and opportunistic.” 

In alphabetical order, cohort teams include: 

Ant Robotics (Oakland, CA): building a robot operation and dispatching system for warehouses and factory floors; 

Ascent Integrated Tech (Champaign, IL): enhancing PPE with sensors and communication capabilities that improve safety and productivity in hazardous environments; 

Compocket (San Francisco, CA): miniaturizing electronic measurement instruments in pocket format that connect to smartphones; 

Iothic (Oxford, England): providing IoT end-to-end systems with post-quantum resistant security and a full interoperability communication platform; 

Maxwell Labs (Minneapolis, MN): designing component cooling solutions based on solid-state using thermo-electric coolers controlled by machine learning algorithms; 

Propulsioneers (San Francisco, CA): developing technology building blocks designed for autonomy and driven by software for maximum output and minimal footprint; 

Rapids Air Quality (Grand Rapids, MI): creating local air pollution monitoring solutions for cities to bring greater transparency to the disparities of air quality within communities; 

Stroma Vision (Chicago, IL): building computer vision models to understand human physiology in industrial settings and stop preventable accidents; 

Third Wave (Chicago, IL): building a customizable, low-code IoT platform to rapidly deploy end-to-end wearable solutions, such as their product CareBand, that use long-range, low power connectivity. 

“The post pandemic momentum we are seeing around smart manufacturing, edge computing and industrial robotics was echoed in the hundreds of conversations we had with startups from around the world,” said Thierry Van Landegem, executive director of mHUB’s Accelerated Incubation IIoT cohort. “The startups we’ve selected will be active drivers in the Industry 4.0 disruption that is happening.” 

The hyper-resourced program will commence on May 17th in Chicago. It is supported by partners Avnet and Panduit who will engage with the startups over the course of the program, providing mentorship and guidance for strategic connections within industry. mHUB will launch additional sector-specific accelerators approximately every six months for the next three years with the next cohort focused on Medtech later this year. For more information visit www.mhubaccelerator.com.

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About mHUB 
mHUB is a leading independent hardtech and manufacturing innovation center that exists to convene the entrepreneurial ecosystem around physical product innovation to ensure that the manufacturing industry continues to accelerate, grow and thrive. The mHUB community includes over 428 active and alumni startups and small businesses supported by a deep talent pool of product designers and developers, entrepreneurs, engineers and manufacturers, corporate leaders, industry experts, mentors and investors. mHUB provides a hyper-resourced environment to entrepreneurs with the goal of commercializing new hardtech innovation that will lead to new businesses, intellectual property, investment, revenue and job creation. Since launching in 2017, the mHUB community has generated more than $430M in revenue, launched more than 1,256 products, hired more than 2,153 employees, and raised nearly $702M in capital. For more information go to www.mhubchicago.com.

About Avnet
As a leading global technology distributor and solutions provider, Avnet has served customers’ evolving needs for an entire century. We support customers at each stage of a product’s lifecycle, from idea to design and from prototype to production. Our unique position at the center of the technology value chain enables us to accelerate the design and supply stages of product development so customers can realize revenue faster. Decade after decade, Avnet helps its customers and suppliers around the world realize the transformative possibilities of technology. Learn more about Avnet at www.avnet.com.

About Panduit
Since 1955, Panduit’s culture of curiosity and passion for problem solving have enabled more meaningful connections between companies’ business goals and their marketplace success. Panduit creates innovative electrical and network infrastructure solutions for enterprise-wide environments, from the data center to the telecom room, from the desktop to the plant floor. Headquartered in Tinley Park, Ill., USA and operating in 112 global locations, Panduit’s proven reputation for quality and technology leadership, coupled with a robust partner ecosystem, help support, sustain, and empower business growth in a connected world. For more information, visit www.panduit.com.


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