“Customer Development.” The 2 magic words that everyone knows, but not everyone knows how to do. When a hardware founder gets asked whether or not he’s done customer development they usually give you a blank stare for a second, and change the subject to the fact that they’ve built or are working on a prototype. And the fact that their Mom and best friend like the product. That’s not customer development. We get it. Usually hardware founders are product people. They like focusing on their product, and obsessing over every detail until they get it absolutely perfect. Once they do,
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The struggle to create a sustainable business revolves around finding customers. Too many startups have crashed because they just weren’t able to generate a large enough backing, or large enough consumer base. Without creating a substantial amount of customers, your company may fail to generate any profit. The problem is that, even though you may have come up with an amazing product that solves a terrible problem, you may still lack the ability to find new customers. So how can you start finding new customers to sell your product to? There’s quite a few ways to do so, but crowdfunding,
As a hardware startup founder, you’ve probably wondered about a better way to build your product and tell the world about it while keeping costs to a minimum. With all of the costs of running a hardware startup, everyone is looking for better ways to do this. It’s a difficult task, but it can still be done. How? By applying the Lean Hardware Startup methodology to your hardware startup. The lean hardware startup has become something so recognizable that its methodology has created an improved approach to product development. Even in the hardware community, startups are deploying this tactic and
So often do we find hardware entrepreneurs that fantasize about raising VC funding to be able to build the company of their dreams. They become obsessed with their product and sometimes lose sight of what they actually need to focus on in order to actually raise funding. Even when entrepreneurs have been able to get thousands of pre-orders of their product on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you’d think this would be an automatic ticket to VC funding, but surprisingly a lot of these companies are still likely to get a “no” from investors. Why is this? As a basis when you are trying
Prototyping can be one of the most difficult processes to accomplish in order to get your hardware startup’s product manufactured and shipped. Even though it’s so important, a huge amount of founders think they know exactly what the prototyping process is, when in fact, they don’t fully understand it. If you thought that all you had to do was just create the first version of your product, think again. So then, what exactly should you do in the prototyping process? To know that, you need to understand the specific purpose that prototyping plays in your company. Simply put, the fundamental purpose of prototyping is
You’ve heard the saying before. “Hardware is hard.” This statement is very true. For a hardware founder, there is an obstacle waiting around every corner that could kill your company. This article covers 10 big ones, that if you are able to avoid, will increase your chances of success exponentially. 1. Starting the DFM Process too Late This is something that most hardware founders overlook, and it ends up killing them before they ever get started. Many times, hardware company founders get excited because they were able to build a prototype of their product. Now they think they can just raise
Funding is something that every startup wants, yet very few know how to get. Especially in hardware. It is even more difficult than your typical modern startup, because it is such a capital intensive venture. Yet most founder’s dreams hinge on their ability to raise a solid funding round. Most think that it is up to chance. If investors like your idea, then they’ll give you money to start your company. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. It actually comes down to a specific science. There are things that every investor looks for, and if you can hit
Most hardware startups begin with an idea. The founder thinks “Hey, this would be a great product and make the world a better place.” After some serious thought, they get started creating a prototype, whether they do it themselves or with a team. They focus on functionality, and getting their prototype to achieve it’s goal, and work. After months of work they are finally finished! Eureka! Now all they have to do is raise some funding either through friends and family, crowdfunding or venture capital and you’ll be well on your way, right? Wrong! This may be the logic that
Let’s face it. We’re all getting tired of backing a cool hardware crowdfunding project, only to receive our actual piece of hardware more than a year later, if we ever receive it at all. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. So then why do hardware startups today have such a hard time manufacturing and shipping their product today? The Hardware Industry Has a Problem Whenever you receive your crowdfunded project late, it most likely wasn’t the company’s fault. The hardware industry is broken. With prototyping, licensing, sourcing materials, finding a manufacturer that will accept your order quantity, creating
There are a lot of traps that you can fall into while building a hardware company. Especially if you decide to go the crowdfunding route. With all of the recent campaigns that have successfully raised a large amount of money, only to crash and burn and not be able to ship their product, there are some things that you should know so you can avoid making the same mistakes that they did. In this post, we’re going to look into the drone company ZANO, who raised over $3 Million on Kickstarter only to never ship their final product. They made