Adafruit is one of hundreds of growing ventures in the U.S. that belong to the so-called maker movement. These companies sell kits and support online communities of DIY types who make everything from toys to robots to 3D printers, and their moment seems to have arrived: Maker Faire, the movement’s Woodstock, attracted perhaps 20,000 hard-core devotees five years ago. At last year’s events in Detroit and New York, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to presentations sponsored by the likes of PepsiCo (PEP), Ford (F), and Microsoft (MSFT). And electronics giants Microchip Technology (MCHP) and Texas Instruments (TXN), hoping to profit from the maker zeitgeist, last year began offering their own kits. The maker movement is “as significant as the shift from agriculture to the early industrial era,” says Jeremy Rifkin, a Wharton economist.
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Wow thats interesting.
Whats really interesting is that the VC’s are obviously “missing” the competitve edge.
They’re used to dealing with companies whose only competitive edge is the product that they sell. Adafruit and others (i think) are not working on a “single product” based IP model it’s more of a “hardware as a service” model.
Adafruit (and others) provide what they hope is a killer service to their customers, relying on that to generate business and loyalty opposed to relying on the inherent IP in the product. (which obviously frightens the bejeebus out of a VC used to dealing that way. “What do you mean you tell everyone how to make it and give your competitors hat your doing – Are you nuts ?”
The part I find interesting is having a business model where you don’t need or want “investors”.