The Competition

The Hardware Cup is a pitch competition for early-stage hardware startups. This year, it will be run entirely virtually.

While previous iterations of the Hardware Cup did a tour of 6 US regions, the 2021 Hardware Cup has a new format: the competitions are divided by industry vertical.  The verticals include: AI/robotics, life sciences, cleantech, consumer products, smart home/connected devices, and smart cities.

Semi-finals: February – April 2021

International Finals: May 19, 2021

Check our Competitions page for more details.


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

Applications are now closed.

Find Out More about the 2021 Finalists here

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

The Hardware Cup Format

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

The winning company from each vertical, in addition to a possible wild card finalist chosen by our judges, will pitch at the online Hardware Cup International Finals event on May 19, 2021 for a shot at the USD$50,000 cash grand prize.

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 Healthcare Safety Challenge

Medical error is one of the most persistent problems in healthcare. We’re looking for the most exciting healthcare safety innovations to solve this massive problem. Together with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, we’re launching the Healthcare Safety Challenge! Learn more here.


The AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup will award a USD$50,000 cash prize to the Hardware Cup International Finals’ winner.

Additionally, the finalist from each vertical will be awarded a USD$3000 prize.

All semi-finalists will receive a one-year license to Solidworks’ 3DExperience platform.

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