A hardware startup is still hard, but it is getting a little easier. The growing availability of 3-D printers and starter kits with easy-to-program circuit boards makes it simpler and cheaper to produce prototypes. Contract manufacturers stand ready to handle mass production and unravel supply-chain tangles. New fundraising techniques help entrepreneurs get started and test demand.
The result: U.S. venture capitalists completed a record 31 fundraising deals for consumer-electronics makers last year, eclipsing the previous high of 29 in 1999, according to DJX VentureSource. They pumped $848 million into hardware startups, nearly twice the prior record of $442 million set in 2012.
The flurry of deals included new funding for Jawbone, which makes wireless audio equipment and an activity-tracking wristband, set-top-box manufacturer Roku Inc. and camera startup Lytro Inc.
“It’s definitely the dawn of a golden age of hardware,” said Scott Miller, chief executive of Cambridge, Mass.-based Dragon Innovation Inc., which advises hardware startups and helps them raise money.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.
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