On Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 in Palo Alto at WilmerHale, GABA presented “The Rise of the Hardware Startup.” Steffen Bartschat of Hill88 moderated panelists Scott Bowie of Zao Technology Innovations, Mike Pierce of LUMO BodyTech, Ken Raab of Sonic Manufacturing and Sven Strohband of Khosla Ventures. They discussed KPCB technology expert Mary Meeker’s recognition of the Wearable/Everywhere Computing trend. After years of startups focusing on software they are now developing devices to run it on. Many of these devices are plastic boxes with batteries powering sensing and networking technology. The rise of additive manufacturing and 3D printing helps lower the barrier of entry, but designing and getting these devices to market is much more complicated than uploading an app. There are financial, physical, chemical, mechanical, electrical, logistical, legal and retail hurdles to overcome. Startups turn to experienced manufacturing contractors to get them through the prototyping and early manufacturing process. While making something in China seems like a foregone conclusion, there are capable contract manufacturing contractors in Silicon Valley who can work closely and quickly with a startup to get them to customers without a copy going out the back door. Making hardware is hard, but for a growing number if startups it is worth the risk.
Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.