Highway1, a San Francisco-based startup accelerator for hardware companies, just opened its next round of applications. But this time, there’s a twist: rather than bring companies into the program in pre-defined batches, Highway1 has switched to rolling admissions.
That means companies qualified to join the program will be able to do so as soon as their application is approved, and Highway1 will be able to bring startups into the fold when they’re ready, rather than forcing them to wait months for the next batch.
“We work exclusively with early-stage startups, so we can’t miss a beat,” Highway1 head Brady Forrest said in a press release. “In order to ensure we’re accepting the best and brightest companies, we knew we needed to be a bit more flexible. A month can be a year for a startup, so our system of two batches per year was too exclusive.”
The accelerator is moving into a larger building, close to its parent company, manufacturing giant PCH International. With that building comes more space for more startups. A Highway1 spokesperson said the accelerator expects that there will be between 8 and 10 new companies in its program come Feb. 16 of next year, with more added as time goes on.
All of the companies in the accelerator will still go on a trip to visit manufacturing facilities in China, which Forrest has said is one of the program’s key components.
“I think it’s probably one of the most valuable parts (of the program), because you get access to these factories in a way you wouldn’t otherwise. And you wouldn’t know what is possible if you weren’t over there,” he said in an interview with GeekWire earlier this year. “And then, because we’re part of PCH, we have access to factories that nobody else would. So you get to see production at scale. And you start to understand more about the process, because you have to come up with something that can be made by people 10,000 miles away, who don’t speak your language.”