Bringing Startups Together: Collaboration at the Hardware Innovation Lab

When we opened our Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab in Kitchener, our vision was to create a space where hardware companies could learn and grow their businesses, together. Some great companies have move in and the space is now becoming a place where hardware and IoT companies can use their different expertise to collaborate and help each other.

A great example these unique collaboration opportunities is Kineris Inc. When Kineris, a medtech company and AC JumpStart recipient, began work on the first prototype of their knee wearable in February, it became a project for the whole floor. The plan was to 3D print the prototype but one component was a flexible band that would allow easy motion of the knee, but they had never 3D printed with flexible material. After attempting to make it themselves without success, Kineris recruited help from our partners MyShop and later, fellow AC client, InkSmith, to get the settings just right on the 3D printer to make the band. All three companies worked together on this piece and now Kineris’ prototype looks fantastic and is ready to be shown to clients and investors.

Some of these collisions are by design. Having met AC mentor Don Thompson at Innovation Guelph, AceAge, a pharmaceutical IoT company, decided to join the Accelerator Program and moved into Gaukel at the start of 2017. The first people they were introduced to was fellow AC company and Gaukel resident, InkSmith, a 3D printer company that provides a STEAM 3D printing platform for schools K-12.

Don knew that InkSmith would be the right people to help AceAge get their first batch of devices. InkSmith was contracted to make the devices and saved AceAge more than $20,000 in production costs. “Without the services of InkSmith, we simply would not have been able to perform at clinical study at the University of Toronto” said CEO Spencer Waugh.

The best collisions at Gaukel happen purely by accident. Since mid-January, Friday Happy Hours have become a staple event. At 4pm, the whole floor takes a break to celebrate another successful and productive week. It gives everyone a chance to unwind after working insane hours and brings all the companies together to get to know each other and talk shop. Often held in Alert Labs’ office, you’ll find George from Alert Labs sharing contacts that other companies may find useful, Ashank from XYZ Interactive giving technical advice, and Josh from MyShop explaining cool ways to build things (along with donning his latest shirt creation).
One night in March, after a particularly busy Happy Hour, the founders of AceAge and O2 Canada met for nearly three hours late on a Friday, discussing brand new markets for their respective products.

If you want to learn more about the Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab and maybe even join us for a Happy Hour, please contact David Hussey at dhussey@acceleratorcentre.com.

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