Words of caution to wearable device startups from @BoltBoston:
We’re in the middle of a major surge of wearable consumer electronic products. Originally, these devices were purely for fitness: Nike, Fitbit, Jawbone, etc use basic sensors (like accelerometers) to track activity throughout the day and motivate healthy behaviour. As the wearables market matures, there are an increasing number of startups building wearable devices with more specific (and frankly, more useful) sensors and use cases. Bionym (Nymi), Quanttus, Ringly, Novasentis, Narrative (Memoto), Telepathy, etc are all seeking to differentiate themselves by addressing more specific problems.
Wearables are a highly interesting new product category that will attract lots of new entrants. But young startups should proceed with caution. These products are exceptionally hard to build. I mean really, really hard.
6. Business Dynamics
In addition to all the technical challenges of wearable products, the business dynamics add a new element of complexity for young startups. Large, well-funded companies have entered the market with strong brands and experienced teams. Many of the existing products’ core technology is quite simple and has little to no protectable competitive advantage. For example, Apple’s new M7 motion co-processor could easily dislodge all existing fitness tracker products if the developer community embraces it. Companies like Nike have massive marketing caché, cash flow, and distribution networks. As a small, venture backed startup it’s exceedingly difficult to compete in this kind of business landscape.
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