The Silicon Valley-developed model of startup acceleration – expedited development and an extreme growth-focused investment methodology – was developed for software and simply isn’t suited to the hard technology space. HardTech Labs (HTL) hybrid acceleration model targets proven IP-protected research – focusing on scientific validation as the first step – and works with researchers and entrepreneurs to transform the technology, getting to proof of concept quickly, and supporting with follow-on funds to ensure a solid post-acceleration valuation.

As I outlined in an opinion piece in the U-T, differences in the cost and speed of development dictate differences in development methodology and investment strategy. The software model of rapid development – the constant iteration allowed by an inexpensive development environment followed by prodigious growth spending – does not allow the scientific validation required for products that effect human health and wellness. A scientifically driven development path is required for hard technology to ensure replicable results that prove both efficacy and safety.

Approach

Our novel approach begins with a selection process – we seek scientifically validated research that we believe has both meaningful positive impact on human health, wellness, fitness, lifestyle or food supply and has an enormous potential market. By partnering with the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LJI), we have access to remarkable technology and exceptional researchers who can mentor and guide our entrepreneurs.

This hybrid model gives us the best of two worlds: a solid scientific foundation and a commercially focused development path, catalyzing the strengths of each partner. We focus on technologies that have short or no FDA approval cycles, meaning the time to market is only beholden to the development cycle. This is optimized by the working environment: co-working, a hardware prototyping lab and biotechnology lab all in a comfortable workspace inside LJI’s facility.

A key is in the combination of biotech, software, and hardware. With a keystone technology from LJI, and via a series of agreements we have with research institutes and incubators domestically and internationally we have access to hundreds of technologies and companies that can be combined into comprehensive platforms tackling the full spectrum of a particular problem. An example of such a platform would be a biotech assay embedded into a connected hardware diagnostic device managed by a wellness digital health app with a analytics backend feeding from a data repository. Each a separate technology, brought into the accelerator and united in a constellation of products. Full spectrum solutions from a full spectrum approach.

Model

Our corporate family, with the IP commercialization entity HTL Biotech at one and the HTL Life accelerator at the other, ensures powerful interaction between entrepreneurs and researchers, and technology and business:

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This structure is built to maximize the value of the IP we control and to bring the best technology, entrepreneurs and companies from outside. Combining them in the accelerator adds even more value to what are already far-reaching innovations. Bringing the subsequent products to market quickly and in close proximity magnifies their valuations.

Our vision is to seize the opportunities in biotech early-stage investment by combining the scientific expertise of LJI with the business and venture experience of HTL – concentrating talent and technology from around the world into a complete lab-supported workspace, guiding through world class mentors and lecturers, and letting time and constant interaction catalyze the next health care giants. We believe this novel, hybrid approach will become the standard in hard technology startup development.