Cross-Border Innovation Groups Establish Manufacturing Accelerator

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Ansir Innovation Center in late 2010. His family owns a small consumer electronics manufacturer in Tijuana, and he speaks Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Taiwanese.

In a statement today, Flavio Olivieri of the Tijuana Economic Development Corp. says, “HardTech Labs is providing a bridge between San Diego and Tijuana that offers great promise” by combining the development skills of San Diego with the implementation prowess of Tijuana.

The sustainable advantage of the cross-border ecosystem in San Diego and Baja includes high-level software engineers, strong biomedical research and development centers, and a cluster of businesses that specialize in manufacturing and assembly, Footer says. As a result, he says, startup companies could greatly reduce their costs and time-to-market in half.

Footer says Origo could provide as much as $150,000 in upfront startup funding, most likely as a loan that could be converted to an ownership stake, and up to $300,000 more when the company exits the HardTech program. The accelerator plans to admit 10 startups for its inaugural class, but Footer says after a couple of years, the program could be graduating as many as 30 companies a year.

“We’re really trying to take advantage of the strengths on both sides of the border here,” Footer says. He tells me he wants to raise a $20 million venture fund just for HardTech startups by September 1, when the first class of startup companies is expected to begin.

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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3 responses to “Cross-Border Innovation Groups Establish Manufacturing Accelerator”

  1. pingthink says:

    Thanks, Bruce, for the article shedding light on the program. To just add a few remarks, there have been a *lot* of community members who have been not just propounding this but building it from the ground up, including Katie Rast and the Fab team (Allen, Lucy, Nigel) who have been building a prototyping incubator from the ground up within FablabSD, and to which I am proud to support.

  2. Sean OSullivan says:

    Good luck in getting the program off the ground, HardTech! Sounds like you guys have a chance…

    At Haxlr8r, we *do* encourage our startups to make the most of the assembly and low-cost supply of goods in China. A bigger part of it, though, are all the supply chain issues, and the rapid turnaround and prototyping facilities which startups benefit from by being in “hardware central”, the manufacturing center of the world for electronics — Shenzhen, China.

    In ten or twenty years, we hope to see more of this available in other places… not just Mexico, but also in the mainland United States itself. It can happen.

    Good luck.

    • pingthink says:

      Hi Sean, although the focus of this article was primarily on the possibilities that our close connections in Mexico can add:

      1) We also have connections and capabilities in Greater China / Taiwan,etc, so Mexico is additive, and not necessarily “in place of” those capabilities, depending on the project needs.

      2) Our basic thesis is that there are advantages to the binational border such as time to market, R&D flow, IP protection, assembly efficiencies, tax advantages, market co-location, cultural synergies, and much much more that have not been fully explored or appreciated before in the entrepreneurial hardware innovation world. (although there is a buzz about it, such as via Chris Anderson’s 3D Robotics, etc..)

      BTW – Haxl8r is great, I really enjoyed demo day in SF and I hope that we serve as able compliments to each other and perhaps find synergies. It is an inspirational model. Keep up the good work!