For the growing entrepreneur community, there is good news and continuing challenges. The good news is that designers say they are finding it much easier today to identify the right technologies for their ideas and use those technologies to develop and test prototypes. On the flip side, they are finding it more difficult to identify the right market for sales for the products they are developing and to get financing. These results come from a U.S. survey of makers conducted by global technology distributor Avnet.
To meet these challenges and to help creators and designers bring new technologies to market faster, today Avnet, Dragon Innovation and Kickstarter launched Hardware Studio. Hardware Studio includes Toolkit, a community site where creators can participate in tutorials and live webinars with industry experts before launching their projects on Kickstarter. Additionally, Hardware Studio Connection, a venture between Avnet and its Dragon Innovation division, gives creators and designers access to hands-on support from the companies’ engineers as well as discounts on components and services.
These new programs are designed to help guide startups through the product development cycle and get their ventures into the right channels as quickly as possible.
“Entrepreneurs are working on multiple projects at once, across various technologies and industries, and the development process can be long and complicated. While it’s getting easier to build products, startups are finding it more difficult to overcome key obstacles in taking their technology products to market. Often times these challenges are avoidable,” said Bob Merriman, business development manager, Avnet. “The results of our survey help us underscore the challenges we know that Hardware Studio can tackle as startups move their projects forward.”
Insights from the survey highlight the advantage Hardware Studio offers to creators and designers at startups. Some of these insights include:
- More than two-thirds (76 percent) of those surveyed find that it’s getting easier for them to develop and test prototypes, while nearly half (45 percent) say that that it’s getting easier to identify the right technologies for their project.
- According to those surveyed, the period of time following initial design and preceding manufacturing is the most significant stage of product development. More than half said that the most critical stages for product development were prototype development (33 percent) and early stage development (22 percent).
- Sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies were, by far, those technologies considered most important by makers for the design of their products and services. Four out of five (84 percent) said sensors were a critical technology and three in four (77 percent) said IoT was a critical technology. After that there was a considerable drop, with 36 percent identifying lighting and display, and 28 percent selecting artificial intelligence as a critical technology.
Merriman added, “Through Hardware Studio Connection, we can facilitate access to technology and tools and help makers and engineers alike understand the cost and path to deliver their products to market. Together with Dragon Innovation, we’re leveraging our expertise to help customers of all sizes, from the individual creator and smallest of startups to large multinationals, by taking the risk out of their campaigns and increasing the success of their technology projects.”
The survey, conducted by Avnet of its Hackster.io community, provides insights into the maker and engineering community. The company’s recent expansion into the startup community underscores its commitment to supporting customers of all sizes through each stage of the technology product lifecycle.
Additional key findings from the survey include:
- Forty-three percent of startups are currently working on developing technology applications for two or more projects. Thirty-two percent of these projects are focused on consumer goods, while nearly a quarter (23 percent) are in IT and data analysis or utilities (22 percent). One in five (20 percent) projects are in the not-for-profit space.
- Nearly one in three (30 percent) report it’s getting more difficult to identify the right market for sales.
- Roughly three-quarters of those surveyed (73 percent) have not sought funding. Further, a majority (61 percent) of designers surveyed who secured funding for their products did so during the prototype phase.
- Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed say that it’s getting much or somewhat more difficult for them to get financing for development.
The launch of Hardware Studio and the release of Avnet’s survey of 400 entrepreneurs in the U.S., including hobbyists, students, and professional engineers and makers, underscores the company’s continued commitment to support this community in bringing their technology solutions to market.
Avnet’s acquisition of both Premier Farnell (including its element14 community) and Hackster.io last year expanded the company’s reach to more than two million customers and an active community of more than 750,000 entrepreneurs, makers and engineers worldwide. Announced in August, Avnet’s acquisition of Dragon Innovation strengthens the company’s role in developing new technology products by simplifying the manufacturing process, particularly for those projects that advance Internet of Things (IoT).