Jason Fass, CEO of Zedd Labs, said it best, “Hardware is hard…hardware is sexy!”
The second half of the Smarter Hardware Track began by connecting all the things and exploring the future of the Internet of Things. Panelist included: Cyril Ebersweiler, Founder of HAXLR8R who organized the track; Zach Suppalla, CEO of Spark; Jonathan LeBlanc, Head of Global Developer Advocacy, PayPal & Braintree; Paul Gerhardt, COO & Co-Founder of Lockitron; and Charles Huang, COO of Leeo. As they looked into the future of IoT, Jonathan told the packed room that “IoT is causing an invention revolution just like MySpace and Facebook caused a social revolution back in 2005”. On this note, panelists also discussed that the biggest challenge for a hardware startups is manufacturing their products due to cost and lack of partnerships, but they said that once they could manage to build their product, it would be difficult for competitors to catch up. This was definitely one of the most insightful panels of the track and proved why, as stated by Charles Huang, the COO of Leeo, “the Internet of Things is the third era of the Internet”.
To discuss investment in hardware, the track brought together investors like: Matt Witheiler, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners; Cyril Ebersweiler, Founder, HAXLR8R; Renee DiResta, Principal, OATV; and Rob Coneybeer, Managing Director, Shasta Ventures who shared what they look for when deciding to invest in a hardware startup. For Rob, his interest for a startup peak with how creative they are with their product, but Matt believes that a great demo and hitting a new area of the enthusiasm curve are important milestones he looks for before investing. But milestones aren’t everything, and as stated by Renee, even though a startup can get an early ‘no’, “it’s not a definite ‘no’”.
Thanks to HAXLR8R, the Smarter Hardware Track left the crowd with many great takeaways and has set us up for what is sure to be a great GMIC SV 2014.
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