Hardware Studio Connection Applicants Show Power of Program

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 7:34 am MST

To break new ground, you first need to learn the terrain—and it always helps to have the right guide. CB Insights found that hardware startups falter for four main reasons:

  1. High burn rates
  2. Lack of interest post-crowdfunding campaign
  3. Lack of consumer demand
  4. Overall product strategy mistakes

Hardware Studio was created to help with the fourth issue. Through the Hardware Studio Connection program, we share the knowledge Avnet, Dragon Innovation and Kickstarter have learned in designing, manufacturing and helping fund projects.

While there are many ways to get funding for a startup, crowdfunding platforms offer unique benefits. These platforms typically get creators the interest and resources they need to finish designing the next great product or hit the scalable quantities needed to offer prices the market is willing to pay. Hardware Studio Connection takes this a step further by giving independent hardware creators the guidance they need to be prepared to manufacture their product after their Kickstarter campaign.

One such startup is MagneTag. Founder Adam Cohen first started the “magnetic wizardry meets foam warfare” product several years ago. What made MagneTag special to the Hardware Studio Connection team was the beautiful simplicity of the product: a wearable battle system that eliminates the need for the “I got you! No you didn’t!” back and forth of game play. The system uses wearable magnetic field sensors to electronically detect connection—no matter if it’s a foam sword or a blaster dart. However, being in the program has changed his perspective on how to prepare for production of the MagneTag devices.

“Hardware Studio Connection helped us really think through how MagneTag can be manufactured as efficiently as possible so we can deliver a great experience an affordable price point,” Cohen said. He also pointed to the Product Planner created by Dragon Innovation, an Avnet company. It helped him to understand several key hardware development concepts from COGS (cost of goods sold) and detailed analytics around the product’s costs.

Hardware Studio Connection Participants




Refactor Fitness

How’d the idea come about?

A passion project turned into a new evolution in wine that replaces the given cork with a dense natural argon gas-dispensing device. By harnessing what’s used by wine makers during bottling to prevent oxidation, Syphon helps people preserve wine.

Rather than accepting the time in adolescence where there’s a migration away from STEM, RaceYa seeks to tackle that head on by engineering customizable cars that teach curiosity and creativity.

A blend of fully featured hardware and software, the fitness program aims to be “the future of cycling GPS” by leveraging an HD camera with dual LED lights and an app to show cycling progress.

What made them different?

The team at Syphon worked on the product for a year before applying and was able to jump straight in to design support with Dragon Innovation, an Avnet company.

Coming from the world of academia (a Ph.D. in anthropology begat a self-taught love of robots), RaceYa has tested this product in schools.

Refactor has one of the most complex products in the program—and applied right at the beginning to help mature the technology.

Readiness Level

Level II, where design is refined and crowdfunding can help assist with manufacturing.

In review, with a great plan in place to bring the product to market.

Level I, where they’re moving from prototype to product and product to market. 

Notably, this wasn’t MagneTag’s first time at crowdfunding. A few years ago, Cohen also tried to fund the first version of the product via Kickstarter. “Kickstarter is an amazing platform for creative people to bring new things into the world, but sometimes even the most well-meaning creators don't understand what they are getting into,” he said. Although Adam was able to ship about 200 units, the project didn’t get full funding—something Adam now feels was a “blessing in disguise.”

“Our initial design could never have been made at the prices we wanted to sell them at,” Cohen said. “We would have run out of money and upset a lot of backers.”

Hardware Studio Connection has given Cohen confidence that this next Kickstarter campaign will be different because of the guidance of the experts in the program.

“Achieving Readiness Level II with Hardware Studio Connection really does give me much more confidence that I can deliver for my backers,” Cohen said. “I know we are better prepared this time.”

If you want to take your product to market, learn more about what it will take with Hardware Studio and get the right guidance by applying to Hardware Studio Connection—right after you check out what will make your application stand out.


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