#1 | Why I joined HAXLR8R to help Hardware Startups succeed
Hi. It's Benjamin Joffe.
Most likely we met when I was running my Asia-focused research consultancy Plus8Star.
Or was it at a gaming event with Cmune?
Either way, I have news for you.
Since last year I got interested in hardware startups and decided to join the world's most prominent accelerator for hardware startups named HAXLR8R in Shenzhen, China, land of the iPads.
So I am now in venture capital (an accelerator is an early stage VC - I am a General Partner at HAX) and in education (our curriculum and access to resources is where our value is. I help design and run it).
I guess after over a decade running a consultancy, advising and mentoring startups and doing a handful of angel investments those two interests caught up with me.
1. Why Hardware Startups
It's mostly unchartered territory and I feel like an explorer.
I have been working with the founder of HAX on mapping the path to success with what we call "Lean Hardware".
That means faster, capital effective companies making products people want.
We documented this with a series of articles on TechCrunch and talks in conferences, the latest one at Stanford.
We are also getting a ridiculous amount of news coverage and interest from media but also investors, universities and large companies.
It feels good wearing the yellow jersey.
2. Last Minute to Apply to HAX 5!
We are recruiting 10 startups every 6 months for our program. The 5th cohort is startingJuly 16th.The deadline is extended until the end of this week for startups run or recommended by personal contacts like you.
We look for teams that:- Cover the necessary skillset (generally ME/EE/CS/Biz)- Have a working prototype in the fields of IoT, wearables, robotics, etc. (HW+SW)- With the right mindset: resourceful, optimistic, persistent
More info: www.haxlr8r.com
3. Recent Graduates
So far 40 hardware startups graduated.
We get most of the B2C ones to do crowdfunding to get funding from customers.So far we ran a total of 21 crowdfunding campaigns and it's going well.
Some of the recent grads are live on KickStarter now!Niwa: Connected home hydroponics system
OTTO - The hackable GIF cameraShot Stats - Smart tracker for tennisSyrmo - The smartest device for skatersQuitbit - The first lighter that helps you smoke less
Grab their wonderful creation while they are live.And every dollar, post, tweet, like and share counts :)
A few others will launch in a few weeks.
Some will go the B2B or VC route, such as those two robotics startups:Avidbots (autonomous industrial cleaning robots)Rational Robotics (painting robot for auto body shops).We love robots!
4. Travels and anecdotes about hardware
Over the past few month I have been several times to San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Boston, Albany, Paris, Berlin and more.
The amount of interest rising from places of excellence like Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, RPI, NYU, UW, UdeM and more is heartwarming.
To figure out faster which startups were a fit for us, we came up with a list of "-wares" to avoid. The colorful presentation is here.
The raw list for you:1. FUNware No business 2. EASYware Not defensible 3. SAMEware Bad positioning 4. SOLUTIONware Solution looking for a problem 5. VAPORware Can’t be made 6. LAMEware Not on spec 7. FAILware Successfully built the wrong thing 8. LATEware Validated market but woke up competitors 9. LOSSware Minimal or negative margins 10. BOREware People stop using it 11. FUTUREware No market before years 12. LOCALware Too tied to a local ecosystem
That's it for now!
I'll keep this newsletter infrequent but feel free to opt out if it's not your taste.And do reach out for questions and comments!
Benjamin JoffeGeneral Partner, HAXLR8RLinkedIn - Twitter