VANCOUVER, March 23 (Xinhua) -- With a new "sleep wearable" device designed to reduce snoring, a group of students from Canada's Simon Fraser University (SFU) have joined the HAX accelerator program, the world's first and largest hardware accelerator based in China.
The team of five students, from an SFU student venture named Zennea Technologies, are joining 14 other start-ups "in the latest cohort intake to relocate to Shenzhen, China," where the HAX accelerator program is based, according to a news report on SFU's website.
The device, ZENS, sits underneath the chin in a fabric holster. It aims to reduce snoring while providing sleep data for the user. The students said they hope that the device will bring more restful sleep to millions of people around the world.
"It kind of looks like a pollution mask but it doesn't cover the mouth or the nose," said Rachel Chase, co-CEO of Zennea Technologies. "It's able to open up the airway while people sleep and it's paired to a mobile app that's controlling it."
The HAX accelerator is a two-stage program that takes place in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and San Francisco on the U.S. West Coast. It's known as the world's first and largest hardware technology accelerator program.
The program helps start-ups scale their business by offering seed capital, in-house manufacturing and engineering expertise, access to mentors, and investor pitch training.
In an interview with Xinhua, Chase said getting accepted into HAX "is a very big deal" and will help them soft-launch their product commercially.
"It means you get funded," Chase said. "You get 150,000 U.S. dollars in cash, and then 100,000 U.S. dollars. It gives you access to resources to help you build (the product), all the manufacturing equipment, different prototyping equipment and workspace."
Zennea Technologies has recently won the Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize in an entrepreneurship competition at SFU, and taken home the Best Overall Venture Prize award, a cash and in-kind package valued at over 35,000 Canadian dollars (27,000 U.S. dollars).
Chase said what they experienced during the three-week stay in China so far "really fast tracks what we're able to do."
After the first stage of the program, Chase and her colleagues will head to San Francisco and Silicon Valley to showcase their product, develop a supply chain and seek additional funding, she said.