Who is behind that madness?
How does HAXLR8R work?
HAXLR8R takes teams with hardware prototypes and turns them into functional, fundable companies. We recruit 10 teams of 2-4 entrepreneurs who have a concept or an early prototype for a high-growth startup. The teams go through a competitive application process and agree to locate themselves in Shenzhen for the duration of the program. Over fifteen weeks, the startup teams will build and refine their prototype product, launch it to an initial group of customers for feedback, and test their delivery and/or business models. During the last two weeks, each startup creates a polished company pitch and demo to present to seed investors and potential partners at HAXLR8R Day which will be in the Bay Area.
We are located in the heart of worldwide electronics and manufacturing: Hua Qiang Bei.
What can HAXLR8R offer me?
We'll help you launch your company and increase its chances of success. Specifically:
*By providing initial funding for you to develop your business plan and build enough of a demo, prototype or beta product, in order to demonstrate to investors at the end of our program. That's $25,000 per company. But that's not all! Our 'Ignite Fund' could add some more fuel on a per company basis (up to 25K as a convertible note with pre-set terms, once you join HAXLR8R and eligible) into your venture. Boom that's 50K right there.
*By lending you a hand on the hardware side with tooling and services (see Hack What?).
*By helping you construct your company, it's business model, marketing, branding and product design.
*By connecting you with potential investors and strategic partners, as well as bloggers and other press.
*By introducing you to world-class mentors 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.
We expect some HAXLR8R companies to seek some additional funding at the close of the initial program. We'll organize that process and guide you through it. Some companies may seek substantial funding while others may require a smaller amount to be successful. It’s also possible for a company to self-fund. We’ll help you identify your problems, understand your options, and think through any difficult decisions you may face.
What does the team look like?
Cyril Ebersweiler will be your day-to-day kick butter, while you will interact with Qiyu (office manager), Vanessa (sourcing), Rong (design), Atommann (engineer in residence), Sally (sourcing specialist). Our advisors will be available any time when it comes to tech (Zach Smith, Bunnie Huang), business (Sean O'Sullivan) and branding/marketing (Benjamin Joffe).
What does HALXR8R receive in exchange for program participation?
Teams that accept an invitation to participate in HAXLR8R give up 6% of common stock in exchange for participating.
How do I apply for HAXLR8R?
The application for HAXLR8R is available on this website. Completing our online application will sign your company up to be considered for the program, but does not guarantee acceptance.
When is the application deadline?
We are currently selecting the Summer 2014 batch and the deadline to apply is May 25th!! It is advantageous to apply early to provide the HAXLR8R team sufficient time to review and consider your application, but to be early does not give your application higher priority or guarantee your company acceptance.
Program will start on July 16th, 2014.
I already have funding, can I still apply?
Absolutely, it happens all the time. In your application, please specify the nature of your previous funding though.
How do you choose which companies are accepted into HAXLR8R?
We will choose great founders who are proposing ideas to solve real problems or create a meaningful change to our current technological state. For us, it’s about the team and the market opportunity. The best ways to strengthen your application are: round out your team with business, technical, and other necessary skills, make progress on your prototype or product and reference it in the application, show us that you are passionate and that you’ve really thought about your business. Getting into HAXLR8R is hard. We will only accept the best startups.
What kind of teams are you looking for?
Mainly teams that have a working prototype in the consumer hardware space. If you have just an idea and the balls to build it, apply! 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
- Environmental impact
- Crazy stuff
Do I have to open source the product or use open source platforms?
No, it's your startup and you do what you want. But we will probably talk about the open source benefits at some point :-)
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 Shenzhen and then the Valley during the program?
Yes. Your team needs to be based in those cities during the duration of the program. It's the best way for us to help you during the critical period of growth!
Does HAXLR8R 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. China is fun.
How can we deal with visas?
While you will have to apply personally to get the requested temporary visas (eventually both US and China), we will provide invitation letters in order to make the process less painful.
I have been running my company for a year, can I still apply?
Yes. It’s very likely that you will have been done a significant product development work or have launched an early version of your product.
What happens at the end of HAXLR8R, am I on my own?
No. HAXLR8R’s help doesn’t stop at the end of the initial program. We will continue to help as you move forward with your startup if you want to. 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 HAXLR8R space at periodic times. Some won't be physically there but available. 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. There is also always the opportunity to email or contact mentors directly via our message boards.
Am I expected to keep my company in Shenzhen after the program ends?
No, however you will have a strong operation basis for your business to scale, and lifetime relationships in that part of the world. You should be near your customers, ideally. But every alum are around and we have extra desks.
What's expected of me during the HAXLR8R program?
We can't tell you what to do. This is your company, after all. The only obligation is to be physically present and participate to all the sessions offered by the program. We will ask is that you take advantage of what we're offering you though. You're expected to work hard, and come out on the other side with something better than when you first got here. What does this mean? At the end of the program, you'll present your ideas to investors, partners and possibly prospective customers. You're the one that needs to justify your idea. This means you should have a compelling presentation to show them in hopes of acquiring additional funding. Often, that'll mean having a demo and a business plan, but could also only require one of the above. We want for you to show that you deserved to be chosen as a part of this program, and that your idea has grown since you arrived.