The Silicon Catalyst Incubation ProgramThere are many incubation programs for software companies and a few for hardware companies. None are focused on the technical and business challenges of starting a company that intends to develop custom silicon solutions. Most incubators provide space, advice, small amounts of funding, and typically last less than a year. Rarely is the selection and incubation in the presence of a coalition of industry stakeholders and companies in the area you are working to enter.
We wish that it were so easy for startup hardware companies at the advent of so many powerful developments in IoT, cloud computing, energy, transportation and biomedical applications. However, it has never been more difficult to raise money and afford access to the capabilities needed to move from idea to prototype to market entrance. Having all of these in one place doesn't exist today, anywhere, which is why Silicon Catalyst was formed.
CapabilitiesIncubation in Silicon Catalyst lasts up to 24 months. We provide PDK access, EDA tools, MPW shuttle runs, testing and other crucial technical capabilities from our growing list of partners. Our industry partners, as well our extensive network of mentors, provide insight into your future markets, and will hopefully become your customers or acquirers. All of these services are coming from global technology leaders in our industry.
We’ll do the rest too – if you need space, we have it in Silicon Valley. If you are located elsewhere, that's OK too and you can still send staff temporarily or permanently to take advantage of the networks that make Silicon Valley what it is. And everybody likes a graduation party. Yours will be different, though. You’ll already know your customers and potential acquirers, and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet with future investors along the way. In exchange for the effort, resources, and dedication, Silicon Catalyst receives common stock equity in each admitted startup. We believe common equity, rather than preferred, aligns us quite well with the interests of entrepreneurs. We’re your advocate and partner, and we’re on an adventurous journey together.
FundingSilicon Catalyst is uniquely focused on seed stage companies developing intellectual property as a product or as a complete solution, based on silicon innovation, a strong team, proprietary technology, and pursuit of a real market.
Silicon Catalyst helps secure funding for our start-ups by working with venture capitalists, strategic investors, angel groups, and individual investors. Our industry partners also have the option to negotiate to invest initially or as progress is achieved through prototype and application demonstrations. We also work with US government agency programs that provide non-dilutive funding. In addition, Silicon Catalyst is currently raising a fund for the purposes of investing up to $500k in each of our start-ups. Because we’re focused on helping early stage startups, we have limits on how much funding and how many people are in your company at the time of application to Silicon Catalyst.
Review and Selection ProcessWhen you submit an application to Silicon Catalyst you will be contacted by a member of our team for feedback and refinement prior to your review by our pre-screen committee. This committee is made up of technical and investment experts. We review between fifteen and thirty plans per quarter. To make it easy on all of us, we use a standard format.
The pre-screen committee selects the strongest submissions from the applications to advance to a screening committee meeting, which meets approximately quarterly. Startups selected by the pre-screening committee make a final presentation to this larger group, consisting of Silicon Catalyst partners as well as potential investors we may invite. That’s when we all meet in person. You’ll have 35 minutes to present and answer questions. From there, we will select the best startups to enter our incubator. We admit two or three start-ups after each Screening meeting.
ExpectationsUnfortunately, we can’t admit everyone. While we have impressive resources and connections, they aren't infinite. We are building an affiliates program, where we can help more companies, but with less commitment and involvement from you and us.
Many of our partners review startups in many fields, including from other hardware companies, angel groups, venture firms and strategic venture funds. We believe this to be over several thousand startups per year. It is a competitive world, but everyone in Silicon Catalyst is committed to bringing hardware startups to new heights. We can’t incubate everyone, but each startup that applies benefits enormously by the challenge, the experience, and the feedback we gladly provide.