Can’t attend in-person? You can watch the live stream here:

The Competition

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

The Hardware Cup tours 7 US regions, with events in: Pittsburgh, San Jose, Boston, Washington DC,  Chicago, Boulder, and Atlanta. Check our Competitions page for more details.

Other countries around the globe also participate, including Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and others to be announced. 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.

For a full list of last year’s semi-finalists and finalists, click here.

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

The Format

6 teams will be selected in each US region to give a 3 or 4-minute pitch followed by about 4 minutes of Q&A with the panel of judges made up of local VCs and investors.

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

Each US regional competition and international competition will send finalist companies to attend the Hardware Cup Finals events in Pittsburgh in May 2019 in addition to one wild card finalist.

Day 1 of the Finals will include a public US Finals event, where the winner will take home the $50,000 grand prize from Startbot. All US and international finalists will have a chance to pitch to the audience and have a demo table at the event.

Day 2 of the Finals will be a private Investor Day event, where all Hardware Cup finalists will have the chance to meet one-on-one with top hardware investors and corporate partners from around the country.


Startbot VC will award a $50,000 convertible-debt investment to the Hardware US Finalist. 2nd and 3rd prize finalists will each receive cash prizes.

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

International competitions are run by international partners, and the winners will attend the US Finals and pitch for a special international prize during Investor Day.

2019 Hardware Cup Powered By

Questions? Email Leah Simoncelli at