One of the most important issues startup founders have to face is protecting their property. First time entrepreneurs often question what they have to do in order to protect themselves and their ideas, and they’re in the right to do so. What a lot of entrepreneurs don’t realize is that there’s multiple types of intellectual property. However, there are two overarching forms of I.P. The first form is Registrable Intellectual Property where patents, copyrights, and designs are filled at a U.S Patent and Trademark office. The second is Non-registrable I.P. Trade secrets and terminology that describe your idea or the
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Hardware startups are infinite loops of question marks. It’s easy to think that by following one process, your hardware startup will succeed, and its even easier to think that if you have enough capital, you’ll be able to make it to the big leagues. But that’s far from true. There’s a process for every aspect and every task in startups. The majority are meant to save your new adventure capitol, time, manpower and resources. Take the Lean Startup for example. It implements a process designed to create order in a chaotic world. It’s extremely easy to lose sight of what
Hardware entrepreneurship involves much more than building a product and mass producing it. It’s filled with unknowns and challenges that can sometimes force a company crash but for most entrepreneurs, the real challenge is the fact that they’ve never done hardware before, they’ve never built a product and launched a successful company. But often times, when they combine their efforts with the knowledge and connections of experts, their chances of success increase exponentially. Let’s take Cinder for example, a company that SVV invested in and supported from the very start of their adventure. Cinder, the company behind a precision countertop
After carefully designing your hardware product and running it through multiple prototype phases, you’re probably ready to start some thorough testing. You may not be able to test your product’s durability for every scenario but you’ll at least be able to put it through its paces and deliver a product that’s able to withstand everyday usage. Thoroughly testing your product with these 3 methods will help ensure that your product will be delivered in mint condition. Of course you can test for more extreme conditions such as launch drop test from aircrafts but to get started, we’ll just cover the
Hardware manufacturing is one of those topics that can be easily misunderstood. More often than not, new hardware entrepreneurs are quick to assume that any manufacturer will be able to build and assemble their product without considering specific qualities the right manufacturer should possess. On top of that, it’s a common misconception that a single CM is responsible for putting together the entire product from PCBs to packaging. The truth is though, hardware manufacturing is more than just the assembly line or building a killer product that everyone will love. There’s also planning, purchasing and inventory management. I guess you
The majority of entrepreneurs who are breaking into the hardware scene are often focused primarily on building their product, but that inevitably means they’re spending less time on building a profitable and sustainable business. The problem isn’t just the fact that the business model of a startup is too often neglected, it’s also the fact that it’s designed too late and designed ineffectively. Before you head down the road to taking your product to market and devising profit-building business models, it’s important to understand what the word sustainable actually means. By definition it means, “able to be maintained at a
Not many people take the time to actually explain what a PCB is, and for good reason. It’s fundamental to all electronics! Or at least all but the simplest products. So what exactly is a PCB and what does it have to do with hardware? Before PCBs were created, circuitry was constructed through an elaborate process of point-to-point wiring, which by definition, allowed two devices to directly connect. But as wire insulation began to age and crack, circuitry began to fail frequently and short circuit. Then came the 50’s when Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) were introduced. They’re made of glass
Startups don’t become successful by a single iteration of the Lean Startup methodology or some variant of it. Successful startups are created through experimentation. While your quality assurance plans equally protect you and your customers, it is also building your reputation. Most people are familiar with the startup quote, “move fast and break things.” And for the most part, it makes sense to do just that. The faster you understand how something works–whether it be prototyping, marketing, or even software development–the closer you’ll be to success. In hardware, however, you can only rush certain aspects of development. Prototyping and customer
Coming into the hardware startup industry doesn’t just mean that you’ll be building a physical product and marketing it to a few handful audiences. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes of launching a hardware startup. In fact, one of the most important reasons why HW startups fail is because they neglect getting the proper cost estimates. If you fail to get accurate estimates, you might just find yourself filing bankruptcy. So let’s talk about one of the most important methods of tracking costs. A bill of materials. First up, what is it? A bill of materials is
Many hardware founders come into the industry usually as some sort of engineer or designer (product or industrial) but while they possess the hard skills necessary to create a physical product, most don’t have the softer skills such as crowdfunding, media, SCM, and even marketing. Because of this, transitioning out of building your startup’s product to launching your startup has created a barrier, or a knowledge gap. Unfortunately, learning these softer skills is already out of the picture. But that doesn’t mean you won’t learn a thing or two when your startup starts a new SMM or crowdfunding campaign. It