Grating couplers are ideal for coupling into the tightly confined propagation modes of semiconductor waveguides. In addition, nonlinear optics has benefited from the sub-diffraction limit confinement of horizontal slot waveguides. By combining these two advancements, slot-based nonlinear optics with mode areas less than 0.02 μm2 can become as routine as twisting fiber connectors together. Surface normal fiber alignment to a chip is also highly desirable from time, cost, and manufacturing considerations. To meet these considerable design challenges, a custom genetic algorithm is created which, starting from purely random designs, creates a unique four stage grating coupler for two novel horizontal slot waveguide platforms. For horizontal multiple-slot waveguides filled with silicon nanocrystal, a theoretical fiber-towaveguide coupling efficiency of 68% is obtained. For thin silicon waveguides clad with optically active silicon nanocrystal, known as cover-slot waveguides, a theoretical fiber-to-waveguide coupling efficiency of 47% is obtained, and 1 dB and 3 dB theoretical bandwidths of 70 nm and 150 nm are obtained, respectively. Both waveguide platforms are fabricated from scratch, and their respective on-chip grating couplers are experimentally measured from a standard single mode fiber array that is mounted surface normally. The horizontal multiple-slot grating coupler achieved an experimental 60% coupling efficiency, and the horizontal cover-slot grating coupler achieved an experimental 38.7% coupling efficiency, with an extrapolated 1 dB bandwidth of 66 nm. This report demonstrates the promise of genetic algorithm-based design by reducing to practice the first large bandwidth vertical grating coupler to a novel silicon nanocrystal horizontal cover-slot waveguide.