SAN FRANCISCO — TechShop, a membership-based do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio, says it is partnering with the Pittsburgh, Pa.-based hardware accelerator AlphaLab Gear to launch a National Hardware Cup to find the top hardware ideas in each of the eight cities where TechShop has a location.
Starting Feb. 11 at TechShop’s Allen Park location, the AlphaLab Gear National Hardware Cup team will travel to each of the other TechShop locations to host a pitch competition for startups creating a physical product.
The competition will end in Pittsburgh where the national winner will receive a $50,000 grand prize investment from StartBot, a venture capital firm focused on robotics, plus product design software and other prizes from Autodesk Fusion 360, the official software partner of the National Hardware Cup.
Full details can be found at www.hardwarecup.com
The pitch competitions will feature six teams in each city selected by the AlphaLab Gear team from online applications.
Each company or team will give a four-minute pitch to a panel of judges from the investment, hardware and software community who will then have five minutes to ask questions. Winning teams from each city will get $1,000 cash, a single year-long TechShop membership, and Fusion 360 software and support from Autodesk.
Teams will be judged on commercial viability, team capability and demonstrated commitment. Select finalists will be chosen to compete in a grand-prize competition held later this spring in Pittsburgh at AlphaLab Gear.
AlphaLab Gear is a project of Innovation Works, a seed-stage investor and organizer of accelerators AlphaLab (all technologies) and AlphaLab Gear (hardware companies).
Said TechShop founder Jim Newton: “This national competition is a great opportunity for us to inspire members of the maker community to go ahead and build their dreams, just like we did with TechShop. We hope to see the next big invention and commercial
success rise from this challenge.”
The AlphaLab Gear National Hardware Cup is free for participants. The six teams or individuals pitching in each city will be selected based on their one-page application. To apply, go to: www.hardwarecup.com.