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Sparse's Story Illustrates the Potholes Faced By Hardware Start-Ups 103

Posted by timothy
from the oh-you-wanted-them-in-black? dept.
waderoush (1271548) writes "Hardware is Silicon Valley's new religion. Bits and atoms aren't so different after all, the creed goes; just as the cost and complexity of starting a software company has drastically declined over the last decade, it's now becoming much cheaper and easier to start companies that make physical things. But talk to almost any real hardware company, and you'll discover that the promised land is still some distance away. Sparse, a San Francisco product design startup, learned that the hard way. The company raised $66,000 on Kickstarter for its uber-cool theft-proof bicycle lights, but it took more than a year to deliver the first units to backers, thanks to a string of unforeseen manufacturing and supply-chain snafus. 'We had all the t's crossed and all the i's dotted and still there was a big daily surprise,' says industrial designer Colin Owen, Sparse's co-founder and CEO. Today Sparse is shipping and profitable, with a vision to 'change the face of mobility' for urban cyclists, but its story illustrates just how high the bar still is for aspiring hardware entrepreneurs. Says Owen: 'I wish there was more of a handbook for these things, but the biggest hiccups were very localized and unpredictable.'"
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Sparse's Story Illustrates the Potholes Faced By Hardware Start-Ups

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  • by spiritplumber (1944222) on Friday June 06, 2014 @08:40PM (#47184367) Homepage
    I have the same problem -- my kickstarter hit 200% and I was not ready for it. So I am having to scale up.

    The good thing is that my supply chain was already in place, so all I had to do was increase quantities. I did, however, have to design a simple machine (a jig, basically) to semi-automate a task I had intended to do by hand.

    http://igg.me/at/minilaser/ [igg.me] if anyone cares.

  • by statemachine (840641) on Friday June 06, 2014 @10:33PM (#47184831)

    The summary made it sound like an electronic hardware startup, and the difficulties behind competing with the bigwigs like IBM, AMD, Intel, Cisco, Apple, etc.

    No, it's click-bait.

    As nice as a bicycle headlamp is (that will still be stolen -- thieves don't use normal tools, and they're usually supporting a drug habit), the article didn't even talk about manufacturing in Silicon Valley, or even San Francisco (which is 45 miles north), and they had no unoriginal issues with certifications in other countries. I'm voting this article down. Re-submit with an accurate summary next time.

"Most of us, when all is said and done, like what we like and make up reasons for it afterwards." -- Soren F. Petersen