Startupers start from unique ideas but these young ambitious entrepreneurs do not always have the proper skills to bring these ideas to reality. Montreal is home to a unique accelerator where two magicians, Stephane and Christian, create these innovations.
ADI – that stands for Acceleration Design Innovation – is an accelerator for hardware innovations that supports startups and SMEs to move from prototyping to mini-series and deliver a product that answers real needs.
Christian welcomed Innovation Montreal in his “batcave” – ADI’s production shop on Clark street, where all products are designed and invented, where you can find the first 3D printer in Quebec next to an old-school keyboard and PCBs for new smart products.
It all started in 2012. Christian and Stephane met during Mtl Mini Maker event. They immediately shared their interest in inventing products and helping new ventures to succeed.
Christian comes from a modest background and is 100% autodidact: a college dropout who loves making his own objects (he created his own version of a Meccano game when he was a kid). He progressively created his own network and became a key influencer in the hardware startups community.
Stephane has a master in engineering who started his first venture back in the 90s called RGB Technologies, a provider of quality software applications for small business that was then sold to Telus.
We complement each other to provide unique solutions to startups.
An accelerator for hardware
The concept is very simple and answers real needs: when startupers have an idea, they get excited but sometimes lack the skills and knowledge to properly design and produce. ADI helps them find the right material and create a cost-effective product. But they go even further: they provide useful advice for mass production and distribution.
“Startups want to go directly to China to produce massively at a lower cost but they need customer development insights”
To benefit from the support of ADI, there is a fixed entrance fee of $2000 for market and development research and risk analysis, which effectively results in producing two prototypes. Then, if you want to move forward, you can get a customized budget to produce a miniseries and a design brief. And then only, you can go to China for mass production.
Smart objects for a smarter consumption
It is fascinating to learn how the most simple objects are made and to discover the inventions of the ADI team:
The Breathe 2 lamp (available at Neoshop, Quartier de l’Innovation) was first designed for yoga professionals. It is a smart lamp that helps regulate breathing through light variations. After testing the first version with early adopters and influencers, the team realized that there was a stronger demand for a simple meditation tool from the general public. Breathe 2 was accordingly redesigned.
PicGlu is a transparent adhesive membrane that allows smartphones to temporarily stick to pretty much all flat surfaces. You can then take hands-free selfies or film videos from a distance. This first version was created in 2015 but a few months ago, the ADI team started working on a new version called PicGlu Audio Stand. It provides a physical support to stick your mobile phone and to use for hand-free audio or video conversations. While the first PicGlu tool was for entertaining purposes, the new one answers more professional needs.
The ADI team is currently working with a regular customer portfolio of startups and SMEs from Montreal. Ideally, then would love to improve the distribution part of their support and help these entrepreneurs go international, providing them with the most efficient support.