Nearly a year ago, we reached an agreement with the City of Kitchener and partnered with ArtsBuild Ontario to bring our world-class programming and mentorship model to downtown Kitchener. The resulting space, the Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab, accommodates the very specific needs of hardware and IoT companies. Over the next several weeks, we are highlighting the success of the space by featuring some of the incredible clients, projects, and collaborations taking place in the facility.

Located in Downtown Kitchener’s Innovation District, the Hardware Innovation Lab gives our clients access to the heart of the Waterloo Region’s tech community and serves as an artistic and cultural space. The partnership with ArtsBuild Ontario, an organization that supports local artists by giving them access to tools and training, allows for some amazing opportunities for collaboration and collision. It also makes the facility one of the premier spaces for supporting the Creative Industries in the Region of Waterloo.

The creation of a hardware specific facility came in response to our clients and their need for support and mentorship directly related to hardware. We also needed a space that allowed these clients to safely use the equipment they need to create their products. Risking setting off the fire alarms while trying to solder circuit boards in a carpeted meeting room isn’t a good idea for anyone!

In the Summer of 2016, Alert Labs became the first resident company and were soon joined by six additional companies: Kineris, O2 Canada, AceAge, XYZ Interactive, InkSmith, and Rapid Novor. Along with resident clients, we also welcomed our amazing Makerspace partner, MyShop, to provide clients with access to specialized prototyping tools. We also reached a partnership with Inertia Engineering, a firm of product design and manufacturing experts, to provide programming and expertise, along with their amazing services, to the companies in house. As well, we brought in an in-house Product Development Mentor, Don Thompson. With these companies, partners, and individuals available to our clients, Gaukel has grown into an amazing place to work and create.

At the Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab, we like to take the “Miss Frizzle approach” to innovation. We take chances, make mistakes, and get messy. The offices here are busy and noisy with the sounds of prototyping tools and stage rehearsals. Simply put, it is a space of makers and builders. If you can imagine needing something that breaks the mould of a normal office, a wet lab, an assembly room, a show case for your product – we’ll do our best to make it happen.

But our first year of success is only the beginning. We created a space that was everything our companies needed, but heading into year two we know there’s even more opportunity support and accelerate “messy companies.” If you’re interested in learning more about the facility or out programming feel free to email David at [email protected]. We’re always looking for new and interesting hardware companies and would love to help you take your company to the next level.