#hardwarestartups

Thalmic Labs - Review of the Top Hardware Startups

thalmic-labs

With over $15 million in investments since it launched in 2013, Thalmic Labs is an exciting hardware startup in an earlier stage than the previous three we covered. The company’s first product is an armband, called the Myo, which senses muscle movement in a user's arm and integrates with computers for virtual–reality style control. The armband offers more precise control than some other devices on the market, and Thalmic Labs originally showcased its prerelease product by flying a drone with it. The armband can also be used to control computing functions, including PowerPoint navigation, and some games.

With a release price of $199 each, Thalmic Labs didn't expect its products to hit wide consumer audiences at first. It was relying on early adoption crowds–techies, industry insiders, and gaming and computer developers–to buy its products on first launch in 2015. The startup did make what seems like a smart product launch choice–it launched on Amazon for added exposure and easy distribution.

Myo

Myo

While the Myo isn't going to be an international bestseller right away, the product and the company are exciting for investors because of the promise of future growth. The Myo is one of those rare products that is slightly before its time but is not first to market. There's a platform ready in the space for these types of control devices, and other hardware and computer uses are catching up, positioning Myo and Thalmic Labs to be big players in the next few years as drastic changes are made to the way users interact with computers.


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Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is the "expert on venture capital and angel investing" for startups and investments for venture deals. He is also a proven entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com. Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cybersecurity, biotech, mobile, data and financial services. Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments. Ross Blankenship has successfully founded several companies and now manages a Venture Capital fund focused on early stage, high growth startups in sectors such as mobile, cybersecurity, cloud computing and biotechnology. Learn more about Ross Blankenship, and how to become a successful, early investor at http://AngelKings.com.


littleBits - Review of the Top Hardware Startups

littlebits-review

Launched by Ayah Bdeir in 2009, littleBits won over 20 awards at the MakerFaire Bay Area in the same year. Between then and 2013, the startup garnered over $14 million in funding for its product: kits and components that bring DIY electronic and programing capability to almost anyone. The kits include a variety of small modules, such as sensors, sound and light components, and power, and let users create anything from home security components to a toy Mars Rover. Consumers can buy kits for certain projects, or purchase deluxe kits that contain basic modules needed for multiple electronics products.

Bdeir's product isn't the first in the electronic education space–soldering kits have been around for years. But littleBits are easier to use thanks to snap–together technology, and the small, colorful modules lend to education in a variety of environments. We like littleBits as a hardware startup because of the sheer diversity and market potential of the product. DIY electronics gurus can invest in dozens of kits, including an Arduino coding kit. Schools can use the electronics to teach computer, design, engineering, and basic science lessons, and littleBits even works with other hardware companies to engage consumers and boost awareness of STEM activities and education.

In early 2015, littleBits partnered with 3D printing company Shapeways to host a contest. Entrants had to modify a traditional home object, such as a toothbrush, using littleBits modules and 3D printing to make the object more useful, efficient, or smarter. Such interactive marketing tactics are bringing littleBits slowly into the public eye, which bodes well for the continued success of this hot hardware startup.


Want to get information on angel investing and venture capital?  Get information from the venture capital expert on startups.  And find out if you qualify as an accredited investor HERE.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is the "expert on venture capital and angel investing" for startups and investments for venture deals. He is also a proven entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com. Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cybersecurity, biotech, mobile, data and financial services. Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments. Ross Blankenship has successfully founded several companies and now manages a Venture Capital fund focused on early stage, high growth startups in sectors such as mobile, cybersecurity, cloud computing and biotechnology. Learn more about Ross Blankenship, and how to become a successful, early investor at http://AngelKings.com.


The Hottest Hardware Startups in America

A number of hot hardware startups are covered in a few other chapters in this book, and many are mentioned in chapter 6. For angel investors, hardware is a fun and adventurous space, because it covers so many niches. From gaming to home automation, you can find a hardware startup that address needs in almost any industry. Pebble, the Kickstarter darling, brings smartwear to the wrist, and Boosted lets urban dwellers get around quickly on a motorized longboard. Hardware even enters the tobacco market with companies such as Ploom, which used its ties with a Japanese tobacco firm to create sleek vape devices.

Let's look at a few other hot hardware startups and discuss why these companies are catching investor eyes, starting with:

formlabs-hardware-review

FORMLABS

Formlabs, launched in 2011, is an illustration of what happens when founder know–how meets impeccable timing. The company, which received $1.8 million in seed funding in November 2011, further drove its 3D printer product to market with help from a 2012 Kickstarter campaign. The campaign offered rewards ranging from a virtual high five and a file copy of the printer model to a package containing the actual printer plus fun printables.  In its Kickstarter campaign, Formlabs claimed it intended to disrupt the 3D printing market with an affordable, high–quality 3D printer.

The startup was able to garner additional funding in 2013, when a Series A round brought it $19 million for product development and expansion. It's not surprising investors were happy to get in on funding Formlabs. By that time, it had already made good on a number of its Kickstarter promises; by December 2013, Formlabs had fulfilled all the Kickstarter rewards and shipped more than 1,000 of its Form 1 3D printers throughout the globe; this hardware startup had a strong execution plan.

Why all the hype around Formlabs' product? First, Formlabs' Kickstarter project, came at a time when 3D print technology was becoming a household topic. News media was covering the technology, which sounded futuristic and frightening to many–op–eds asked "What if people print guns?" and entrepreneurs bubbled excitedly about manufacturing concepts. For many users, though, the technology was entertaining to consider, but far from daily reach.

Formlabs' Kickstarter campaign meshed with the audience because it made the concept relevant, less frightening, and affordable. For $2,299, a backer received the printer and some supplies. With businesses paying a thousand or more for copy machines, that price for a 3D printer opened the technology to small business users and individual inventors.

That covers product and branding, but for the angel investor, the people behind FormLabs are also an attractive investment. Natan Linder managed Samsung's R&D center in Israel and was a lead designer with a robotics company. Maxim Lobovsky's 3D printer experience dates back to FabLab and Fab@Home projects as does David Cranor's. All three founders also came from a background at MIT Media Labs.

With so many criteria pointing to a high chance at success, we aren't surprised that FormLabs made several expansion announcements in early 2015. This startup is looking to grow rather than seek an IPO. In a single week, the company announced expansions in both Germany and China.*

* Krasserstein, Brian. "Formlabs Heads to Germany, Opens Office in Berlin, Partners with IGo3D." 3DPrintcom. N.p., 16 Mar. 2015. Web. 29 Apr. 2015. http://3dprint.com/51309/formlabs-germany-igo3d/
 Molitch-Hou, Michael. "Formlabs' SLA 3D Printing to China - 3D Printing Industry." 3D Printing Industry Formlabs Brings LowCost SLA 3D Printing to China Comments. N.p., 10 Mar. 2015. Web. 29 Apr. 2015. http://3dprintingindustry.com/2015/03/10/formlabs-brings-low-cost-sla-3d-printing-to-china.

Want to get information on angel investing and venture capital?  Get information from the venture capital expert on startups.  And find out if you qualify as an accredited investor HERE.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is the "expert on venture capital and angel investing" for startups and investments for venture deals. He is also a proven entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com. Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cybersecurity, biotech, mobile, data and financial services. Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments. Ross Blankenship has successfully founded several companies and now manages a Venture Capital fund focused on early stage, high growth startups in sectors such as mobile, cybersecurity, cloud computing and biotechnology. Learn more about Ross Blankenship, and how to become a successful, early investor at http://AngelKings.com.