Hardware Catalyst Initiative

Canada’s only hardware and semiconductor-focused lab & incubator

ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative is Canada’s only lab and incubator for founders building hardware and semiconductor-focused products. Funded in part by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), this competitive program enables tech companies building foundational technologies in transformative sectors like AI, MedTech, Automotive Industry, 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 — consumer electronics, telecommunications, smart energy, connected transportation, and more. As Canada’s leading Hardware Hub, the Hardware Catalyst enables ventures to become competitive players in the global semiconductor industry.


Prototyping and Testing Lab
Indirect jobs are created for every 1 semiconductor job created
global partners
Invested in our Companies

Explore the Program

We understand that hardware founders experience unique challenges and have a finite amount of capital and time to bring their vision to reality. ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative is a competitive program that is offered at no cost and with no equity requirement to eligible companies. Dedicated to supporting both silicon and hardware companies for up to 24 months, the Hardware Catalyst Initiative is enabling Canadian companies to grow and scale locally to compete globally.

The Hardware Catalyst Initiative provides direct resources to accelerate commercialization at scale through our initiatives focused on four pillars: raising capital, retaining talent, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition.

What companies can expect:

Founder Expectations

As the Hardware Catalyst Initiative is a two-year intensive program all founders accepted into the program should expect to work with dedicated advisors and mentors to develop, review, and track:

NEW: Hardware Catalyst Initiative Bootcamp

A new initiative we are introducing this year is an intensive, two-month Hardware Catalyst Initiative Bootcamp, which will take place before the formal program acceptance. This Bootcamp is intended to offer immediate value to a larger group of eligible companies, and allow for mutual assessment of fit before committing to the full program.

If shortlisted for Bootcamp participation, companies can expect:


Applications are now closed - stay tuned for the next round! If you have any questions, please reach out to hci@venturelab.ca

Hardware Lab Subscription

Are you developing a hardware prototype and looking for convenient ways to test? ventureLAB is now accepting subscriptions to its world class Prototype & Testing Lab! Run as many tests as you want any day of the week or year, our lab is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! Save money and time by subscribing to a fully-functioning lab environment right in Markham! If interested, please contact Frank Spagnuolo directly to learn more at HCILab@venturelab.ca 


  • Company was founded within 5 years immediately preceding the application
  • Company earned less than $5M in revenue in last 12 months
  • Developed or are developing a novel semiconductor, sensor, silicon-based IP or an embedded system hardware product
  • Have customer engagement that validates the need and demonstrates that the team can attract and work with customers
  • Company is incorporated in Canada
  • Have a CRA business number
  • Have 99 or fewer employees; preferably a co-founding team (of at least 2 or more) capable of product development, customer acquisition, and investment acquisition
  • If not already located in Southern Ontario, company has plans to establish a long-term presence in Southern Ontario


Featured News & Events

October 1, 2019

Hardware Catalyst Initiative Applications Open

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Companies in the Program




What type of companies do you help?

We work with innovative growth and scale-stage hardware or enterprise software companies with some market traction. Your company needs to be incorporated in Canada and have a business (CRA) number. Most importantly, you must be coachable!


How do I join ventureLAB?

Apply to work with ventureLAB by filling in the form on our Apply page. Each year, we select over 100 ventures to join our diverse hub of founders. By working with ventureLAB, you’ll gain access to our initiatives focused on four pillars critical for any scaling company: raising capital, talent retention, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition.


Do you charge for services?

We take no equity in your company. Founders join small cohort sizes — meaning you get tailored, dedicated guidance to navigate your unique business challenges. You’ll develop relationships in a growing global community of mentors, investors, partners, manufacturers, supply chains, and fellow entrepreneurs, critical to the growth and scaling of your business.

Apply now

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