The new Catalyst137 project announced today will provide the world’s largest workspace and innovation center for hardware technology companies and draw entrepreneurs from around the world to a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of an ecosystem already known for innovation.
Ontario’s Waterloo Region boasts the densest collection of tech startups outside of Silicon Valley with hundreds of companies working across software and hardware. Although there are numerous software-focused tech centers around the world, there are fewer centralized locations to nurture hardware companies. Estimated at $43 million (USD), Catalyst137 will fill that need for startups and growing hardware companies globally.
“Catalyst137 is going to help forward-thinking entrepreneurs and engineers transform their great ideas into successful, international businesses, just like we have done with Miovision,” said Kurtis McBride, CEO of Miovision and one of the visionaries behind Catalyst137. “We’re proud to anchor the building and help build a space to help makers compete globally. Catalyst137 will make it possible for us to one day say that much of the Internet of Things industry was invented in the Waterloo Region.”
Each year, more than two dozen hardware companies graduate from the incubator programs at the award-winning University of Waterloo. Several area companies, including Miovision, Thalmic Labs and Clearpath Robotics, are emerging as leading innovators for hardware and Internet of Things devices. With 475,000 square feet in Kitchener’s Innovation District, Catalyst137 will be the largest IoT innovation center in the world.
Startups from all over the world will be invited to benefit from centralized investment, consulting, manufacturing, engineering, government relations and other services, to be consolidated under one 12-acre roof.
Once completed in 2017, the space will feature hundreds of sensors to make the building and streetscape hackable so that Catalyst137 can act as both a showcase of the region’s technical ingenuity and a sandbox for new innovation. By allowing Catalyst137 members to experiment with and add to the building’s IoT network, the innovation center hopes to help foster new ideas and support emerging technology.
Catalyst137 will offer the IoT community options to join their peers and will lease office spaces ranging from 3,000 to 50,000 square feet. Companies will have access to loading bays and a shared manufacturing space featuring 3D printers, laser cutters, metalworking equipment and more.
Catalyst137 is the result of the shared vision of McBride and Frank Voisin, President of the real estate investment firm Voisin Capital, which has led several high-profile projects throughout Ontario. The project also has the support of Toronto-based real estate giant Osmington, Inc., which developed and owns the Winnipeg Jets’ MTS Centre and is leading the re-development of Toronto’s Union Station, one of the largest revitalization projects in the world.
“Connected devices and the Internet of Things are transforming the world,” said Voisin. “Until now, there hasn’t been a single unifying place for hardware-focused companies to work together. Catalyst137 fills that need.”
Catalyst137 will be located just 3 kilometers southeast of the University of Waterloo and about 1 kilometer west of Google’s new Kitchener headquarters and Communitech, the region’s technology hub and accelerator center.
For more information, visit http://catalyst-137.com/.