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January 6, 2022

Hardware startup. Guide on fundraising

Jawbone, an electronics company that reached a market value of $930 million, turned out to be one of its biggest failures. The company produced Bluetooth speakers, headsets, fitness trackers, and other personal electronics. In 2016, the company was forced to stop manufacturing its devices and sell the stock to resellers. The experts said that the company failed to establish its investment value and state due to the excess funding. Jawbone could not adequately evaluate the manufactured products, which did not meet the needs of end-users and were uncompetitive.


There is a whole list of criteria that must be met for a successful business start. It takes a lot of time to put it all together and make it work. But we recommend you read the article’s information, which is a basis for establishing a hardware startup.


Idea

Your business should have a concept that can be used to generate financial gain. Typically, business ideas focus on a product or service that is being paid for. An idea is the first fundamental step for starting a successful business. There are many good ideas and it is important not only to implement them correctly but also to launch on the market at the right time. The idea should not only sound good but also the technical capabilities should allow it to be implemented. There are a lot of crazy ideas that are not realizable in the current technological paradigm such as Perpetuum mobile, for example. Although, of course, the theoretical value added in implementing such an idea is colossal.


Team

No matter how big the dreams of an entrepreneur, professionals should be involved in the implementation of all ideas. One person can’t handle so many tasks that require knowledge and experience in many fields. But even if such people exist hypothetically, they simply will not have enough time for everything and in the end, they will either decide to give up or go to look for a team of professionals.


Usually, one project always has a development team, project manager, and business analyst. The analyst draws up requirements for the project, which should be in line with the interests of the business and users, and the specification for development, which the developers will understand. Project managers make sure that all tasks are completed on time and within budget. And the developers are responsible for how these tasks will be performed.


Therefore, finding the right team is vital for any business, and especially for a startup. It is the team that plays a key role in realizing the founder's vision and promoting the idea or product in a specific market, moreover, it largely ensures the market viability of the startup. Finding a good team is time-consuming, as you don’t know how good the specialist will be, so you'd better contact a company that can provide you with the necessary people and will be responsible for the quality of their work and the compliance with competencies.


Product

The product that is planned for sale must solve some problems of a potential audience of buyers. The product should carry value in it and answer the question of why a customer should buy it exactly from you.


You need to understand your audience, habits, preferences, lifestyle and set up advertising campaigns that are the most suitable for the target audience, and talk about your product as much as possible on all possible platforms.


For increasing the clients’ interest in your product and its market attraction, it is advisable to allow potential customers to see this product and how it works. For this, you can develop an MVP - a minimum viable product that will have enough features to perform basic tasks intended for early testing. The MVP will allow you to attract potential users and get their feedback, which can be incredibly useful. In addition to this, the MVP is a chance to attract the attention of a venture investor or fund.


Wingle specialists can prepare a feasibility study for you and make a report on similar products, key points of success in the market, from which it will be possible to conclude how potentially successful your startup can be and what nuances should be taken into account at the start.


Elevator pitch

If you want to bring your startup to a decent level or attract venture investors for further development, you will have to learn how to structure your speech and presentation to maximize the interest of the listener.


There are different ways you can talk about the product, one of the most effective ways is the elevator pitch. It's a small speech that lasts as long as an elevator ride, hence the name, around 20-30 seconds. In this short time, you need to explain the uniqueness of your product or service, as well as make this speech memorable and easy for anyone to understand.


By the way, if you are afraid of performing in front of other people, you can take a risk and try to hire an ambassador who would present your ideas. The advantage of the cooperation with a professional presenter is that he will not have worries or forget some important details. Everything will be done according to pre-agreed conditions. Of course, there are also disadvantages. For example, investors and potential customers will always be interested in your personality, values, ​​and attitudes.


What is usually provided in product presentations? While preparing a presentation about your product, include a financial model, marketing strategy, and burn rate in it as the most important digital indicators in addition to a beautiful verbal description. Everyone realizes that the financial forecasts of your startup may not be correct, but you can still find financial data and predictions in the presentation of each startup. When there is no financial history yet, it is very difficult to make a more accurate forecast. To do this, you can hire specialists who will prepare a feasibility study for you.


Location

It is crucial to be located where you plan to develop your business. It is incredibly hard to make a good-quality start by leading everyone from another country or region. You will either constantly come to the office, or move closer. As a last resort, you may need to make a representative office, with real people whom you trust and who know your business well. You will also need to monitor any social or political changes constantly in the area that may help you find business development points.


And, of course, if you take part in some funding programs and want to raise funding, for example, in Silicon Valley, then you must be there as well.


Batch production

The most effective strategy for startup business enlargement is to make MVPs of products or miniature versions from cheaper materials to save the budget for basic needs. The most affordable materials and product prices can be found in China because there are a large number of manufacturers who compete with each other, therefore they constantly improve the quality of the services provided to increase the client base.

Cooperation with the Chinese manufacturers is a large layer of work that cannot be done quickly if you have no experience. Unfortunately, it often happens that production deadlines are missed, the final product does not meet the specification, or it turns out to be of poor quality. That’s why It is imperative to monitor the quality of the production and prepare certain documents for transportation, and for this, you need to understand the legal aspects. 


There are companies in China that can help with this task. They have agents throughout China who can visit a factory, send pictures of the produced items, help with paperwork, product testing, and obtaining certificates. But before you trust a company, you need to check them well. Online services can not always do that correctly, so you have to come to China or use counseling companies' services, which will take all these questions on themselves.


Partnerships

Partnering with accelerators will also not be superfluous to find funding. Startup accelerators are programs that include mentoring and training components and end with a public event or demo day. Accelerators can be privately or publicly funded and cover a wide range of industries. They can play a key role in starting a project and bringing it to the world market. According to Hackernoon, there are around 7,000 startup accelerators that can help launch a startup. So among the large selection, you can find a suitable one.


For example, Bolt venture firm provides smart capital and pro-active hands-on support to fast-growing highly-scalable IT, Gaming & High Tech companies. All you need to do is upload a pitch about your product on the Bolt website and wait for a response. If the company thinks that your business is worth the investment, they will contact you. Another popular venture investor is Hax for hardware startups. Hax is a group of engineers, entrepreneurs, and designers who teamed up to help hardware startups grow.


Before contacting such investors, we recommend studying the terms of cooperation carefully. For example, Bolt and Hax will collaborate in exchange for a stake in the project. Think carefully about whether you agree to these terms now and in the future.


Bottom line

Elon Musk declared fair thought: "Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss." Being a startup founder no longer means you have to do 100% of the work by yourself, but the responsibility for all decisions lies only on you. Today there are a large number of services, teams ready to help, and opportunities for promotion. Wingle has been helping startups navigate and implement various ideas for many years. So, it’s time to check out our startup page and get to know each other better.

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