Panduit partner mHUB selects 9 startups for Industrial IoT Accelerator cohort

May 20, 2021
Panduit's strategic partner mHUB has selected nine startups from around the world to participate in the inaugural cohort of its accelerator program for smart manufacturing hardtech innovation.

Panduit’s strategic innovation partner mHUB, one of the nation’s leading independent hardtech innovation and manufacturing centers, announced it has welcomed nine high-growth startups to Chicago to participate in the premiere cohort of its Accelerated Incubation, a six-month, hands-on accelerator program focused on hardtech product development and commercialization.

According to a press release, the nine selected teams were chosen from a pool of nearly 500 applicants, 27% of whom were international teams. The Industrial IoT accelerator is supported by Panduit and Avnet and both companies will engage with the startups over the course of the program, providing mentorship and guidance for strategic connections within industry.

"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," commented 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 companies say the cohort is the result of a rigorous selection process that included an advisory of industry experts, venture capitalists, manufacturers and serial entrepreneurs. The partners say 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 stated 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 $15 million Product Impact Fund, currently being raised, and follow-on investment opportunities from the program’s corporate partners as well as access to over $6 million 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 counting. The region also has broader corporate and academic engagement in smart manufacturing. Further, the partners note 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 commenced on May 17th in Chicago. mHUB said it 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 mHubChicago.

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