Electronic Products & Technology

Canada’s first lab, incubator for semiconductor, hardware focused solutions unveiled

ventureLAB initiative enables tech companies building foundational technologies in transformative sectors like AI, clean tech, IoT, and beyond

March 8, 2021  EP&T Magazine

ventureLAB, a leading technology hub located in York Region, northeast of Toronto, has received $4.73-million in Fed/dev Ontario to create the Hardware Catalyst Initiative, Canada’s first hardware lab and semiconductor incubator.

This competitive program enables tech companies building foundational technologies in transformative sectors like AI, clean tech, IoT, and beyond, to accelerate their time to market in a sector that normally incurs lengthy entry and scale times. The Hardware Catalyst enables the creation of transformative technologies that will power the products of tomorrow — including healthcare technology, consumer electronics, telecommunications, smart energy, connected transportation, and more.

Semiconductors are a critical component at the core of many emerging industries and innovations, ranging from electric vehicles, to robotics in precision agriculture, to 5G communications and mobile devices.

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The injection of funding will allow ventureLAB to purchase advanced computing infrastructure for the lab to virtualize equipment, which has become essential in the COVID-19 context. This will enable entrepreneurs from across Canada, including in rural regions, to utilize the platform remotely, expanding the reach of the Hardware Catalyst Initiative beyond the Greater Toronto Area. In addition, the facility will purchase cutting-edge equipment (with a focus on 5G technologies, autonomous vehicles, and AI development) not currently available in Canada. Building more end-to-end capabilities to commercialize new hardware and semiconductor products domestically will encourage growing Canadian companies in this sector to keep operations in Canada.

Accelerate growth of domestic hardware & semiconductor firms

The lab expansion will help to address the increasing demand for this specialized technology, which includes providing a Canadian-made solution to help meet global demand for microchips used by automotive and consumer electronics manufacturers. It will accelerate the growth of an additional 17 domestic hardware and semiconductor companies, support the commercialization of eight new products, and generate $7 million in new product sales, bringing the total number of companies supported through the FedDev Ontario investment in the Hardware Catalyst Initiative to 60. This investment will also leverage an additional $1.35 million in private investment and will create 35 skilled jobs.

“The Hardware Catalyst Initiative is exactly what we needed: industry-specific mentorship, connections to the necessary partners in a semiconductor supply chain, and access to a state-of-the-art lab to support our product development. Joining the program was a major step forward for our company,” said Brenden Crowley, co-founder & CEO, Micromensio Inc., developers of next-generation sensing technologies.

The team has been an invaluable resource throughout our journey. The ventureLAB advisors are always available to share the wealth of their experience and it has been fantastic working with them this past year. I would highly recommend the program to any hardware company looking to scale their business,” says Joseph Ma, CEO, Bionic-i Inc.


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