The Competition

The AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup is a pitch competition for early-stage hardware startups.

While previous iterations of the Hardware Cup did a tour of 6 US regions, the 2021 Hardware Cup will have a new format: rather than regional competitions, we’ll hold competitions by industry verticals. Check our Competitions page for more details.

Other countries around the globe also participate – check out our International Competitions page for more details.


To be eligible, you must be an early-stage hardware startup with at least one physical product component.

Don’t let the term hardware scare you off! Physical products include but are not limited to: manufactured products, IoT/connected devices, health/medical, consumer products, consumer electronics, food, fashion, robotics, etc.

Check out ourĀ Past Cups page to learn more about previous finalists.

You can only apply to one vertical; multiple applications are not permitted.

The Format

6 teams will be selected in each industry vertical to give a 3-minute pitch followed by about 3 minutes of Q&A with the panel of judges made up of VCs and investors.

At the same time, several other countries will hold their own Hardware Cup competition with a similar format.

The finalist from each vertical, in addition to a wild card finalist chosen by our judges, will pitch at the online Hardware Cup Finals event in May 2021.

The winner will take home the $50,000 grand prize, with additional cash prizes for 2nd and 3rd place.

Additionally, all finalists will be featured online as part of a private AI/Robotics investor event with top hardware investors from around the country.


The AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup will award a $50,000 cash prize to the International Finals winners. 2nd and 3rd prize finalists will each receive cash prizes.

Winning teams from each vertical will get $3000 cash and other prizes.

International competitions are run by international partners, and the winners will pitch at the virtual Hardware Cup Finals.

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