Highway1, the two year old accelerator from Ireland-based manufacturing solutions company PCH International, has expanded its operations at a new San Francisco California location, upping its startup enrollment cap from 12 to 19.
What used to be a marijuana growing operation — yes, really — in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco is now home of the hardware prototyping lab and startup accelerator. Instead of plants and hydroponic wares, the 10,000 square foot space now holds the typical contemporary flora and fauna of Silicon Valley, including 1,000 square feet dedicated to foam molding, 3D printing, carpentry, and computer-controlled cutters.
Previously located in San Francisco’s Mission District, Highway1 currently nurtures 11 startups, having worked with a total of 45 since its 2013 inception. PCH invests $50,000 in each startup in exchange for four to seven percent equity. The present “class” includes a connected centrifuge-based coffee maker, female fertility wearables, drones, and a connected grill. Notable graduates include driving heads-up-display Navdy and connected cooking scale Drop.
“It epitomizes the change of San Francisco,” said architect Christiane Robbins, whose firm helped transform the space.
A recent CNET article featured PCH’s Access division to highlight a shift in, well, access to hardware-based support for startups. The company reaped $1 billion last year and employs 2,800, playing a major role in connecting western companies to Chinese manufacturing.