Thursday, July 12, 2012

Haverhill Hardware Horizons Challenge - Overview

Haverhill Hardware Horizons Challenge (H³C) Overview

August 28, 2012
The City of Haverhill in collaboration with local business and educational sponsors is pleased to announce that it will be hosting the first annual Haverhill Hardware Horizons Challenge (H³C).  The H³C is the region’s first technology startup competition focused on early stage OEMs developing innovative technology products (i.e. “Hardware”).

Although little known, Haverhill has a distinguished history of supporting technology hardware and manufacturing excellence.  Haverhill played an important role at the birth of the communications era, by hosting the development of one of the very first “technology hardware products”, the Telephone!  It was in Haverhill that Alexander Graham Bell conducted his initial telephone experiments. Thomas Sanders, a visionary Haverhill merchant invested $110,000.00 into Bell's telephone invention.  In 1877 Sanders, along with Bell, Thomas Watson and Gardiner Hubbard formed the Bell Telephone Company. The first business telephone call was made from Haverhill MA, and Haverhill hosted the first large scale manufacturing facility for the Telephone and many subsequent inventions from Bell Labs including the solid state transistor.

Given Greater Haverhill’s rich technology and manufacturing heritage, and its interest in promoting this competency to support the next generation of innovators, the H³C is focused on supporting early stage technology hardware developers as opposed to early stage software or service providers. The H³C demonstrates that Haverhill is a supportive and forward thinking community with unique access to the resources and support necessary for technology product organizations to succeed.   The H³C is supported by a broad array of regional business, civic, and educational sponsors including:

Lightspeed Manufacturing

Round Rock Consulting LLC

The Burgess Business Center Incubator


Greater Haverhill Foundation

Metrigraphics LLC

Northern Essex Community College



McDermott & Company Marketing

Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce

City of Haverhill

Barriers to entry for software, services, and web-based startups are typically much lower than they are for technology startups focused on developing new hardware products.  H³C aims to level the playing field for hardware startups and entrepreneurs to develop their concepts and ideally grow their companies here in Greater Haverhill!  All HH³C contestants will have access to an impressive array of product and business development resources, connections and business services.

As an H³C entrant you will be competing for a variety of prizes including at a minimum:

  • $10,000 cash prize for the H³C winning submission.
  • Up to a half dozen free printed circuit board versions culminating with a working prototype provided by Lightspeed Manufacturing
       H³C FINALISTS (3):
  • Free and discounted business incubator space at Burgess Business Center Incubator  and related services including free wireless broadband
  • Access to Product Realization Consulting (Product Design, Supply Chain Development, Contract Manufacturing Support, Product Fulfillment & Customer Service support) from Round Rock Consulting LLC
  • Subsidized access to  a contract manufacturing facility including technical design services, electronic design, product layout and prototype manufacturing
  • Introductions to Angel  Investors and VC Communities
  • Professional mentoring in business, finance, marketing, technology and customer support to support growth
  • Free workshops and meet-ups on special topics in business, finance, marketing and technology
 “Hardware” for the purposes of the H³C shall be defined as an innovative and original product or device that incorporates, integrates and/or packages, product-specific electronic assemblies, interconnect mechanisms, mechanical devices, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) sub-assemblies, functional and/or cosmetic enclosures, along with the digital programming (firmware and/or software) that governs, controls and enables the intended functionality of the device.

All HW under consideration for this contest must have a reasonable prospect for commercialization within a reasonable time period, not to exceed 24 months from acceptance into H³C.

To qualify to participate in the H³C, your company must be an early-stage technology startup developing and marketing a hardware product.  As currently defined, this means you haven’t yet raised over $500K of seed funding, and have less than $1M in annual revenue. You may still apply if you exceed these guidelines – a special judging panel will review your application to determine if you are still considered 'early stage' and would benefit from participation in the H³C. Note that there is no lower limit in terms of funding or development to apply to the H³C.

Contestant’s applications must address at least one aspect of hardware as defined above. The first step in the application process is to submit a brief company abstract (300 words or less please) to confirm conformance to the hardware definition.   Validation of your abstract will be given within 48 hours of submittal.  Prospective contestants will have the opportunity to revise and resubmit their abstracts if their initial submittal is rejected.   Click here to apply online.

Please address all questions and requests for information to the following address:

Thank you in advance for your interest in participating in the H³C.

If you’re an innovation driven early-stage hardware developer, we look forward to hearing from you!

John Michitson
President, Haverhill City Council
Tel: (M) 339-221-2276

The Haverhill Hardware Horizons Challenge (H³C) Timeline
[We thank MassChallenge for providing proven contest template for the H³C Event]
H³C Challenge Activities
Entrant Activities
August 2012
Pre-Release Promotion of H³C Challenge
  • Media and events
  • Prepare entries
September 1 - Nov 15  
Applications Open
  • Accepting abstracts and applications
  • Submit abstract early and receive approval within 48 hours
  • Apply to participate in H³C!
Nov 16 - Nov 30
First Round Judging
  • Top investors, lawyers and entrepreneurs judge entries
  • Multiple judges read every plan, and provide ratings and written feedback
  • H³C invites first round winners for round 2 interviews and semifinalists
  • Prepare pitch deck for 2nd round judging
Dec 5-14
Second Round Judging
  • Judges rate each pitch and provide oral and written feedback
  • H³C invites 2nd round winners to accelerator stage as finalists
  • Present 20-minute in- person pitches to panel of   3 - 5 judges:
             10 min pitch
             10 min Q+A
Jan 7 - Mar 31 2013
Accelerator Stage
  • Major goal:
          Connect finalists to key missing
               *team members
               *sources of funding
  • H³C  runs targeted events: Workshops by experts
  • Each team paired with mentors based on preferences and fit
  • Teams work with mentors to: 
             Define goals and
             Connect with other
             Execute toward goals
             Prepare for final pitches
April 1-12
Final Judging
  • Judging panels review all remaining finalists to allocate grants
  • H³C facilitates pitches to other key resources:
             Potential executives or team
            Funding sources:
                 *Quasi/Gov. groups
                 *Angels + VCs
            Potential customers
  • Prepare and deliver in-person pitch to judging panel (e.g. show development progress during acceleration phase)
Week of May 6
Awards Ceremony
  • Celebrate H³C process and team accomplishments.
  • Announce H³C grants and awards
  • Attend final ceremony and celebrate
  • Remain engaged as alumni
John Michitson
President Haverhill City Council (M) 339-221-2276