I couldn’t find a job that was going to make me happy, so I started my own company.

Okay, that’s not entirely accurate, but it’s not so far off from the truth — I looked for a couple months for a job that I could really get excited about (along with a few other criteria), but didn’t find the perfect thing, and happened to chat with a biology researcher who turned me on to a particular problem her lab (and many others) face on a daily basis. After letting it bounce around my brain for a few days and after speaking with a bunch of other biologists, I decided to start a company to design a product to solve this problem.

Needless to say, I was very interested to read this interview with Bunnie Huang, formerly of Chumby, in which he talks about hardware startup companies quite a bit. I’d come to very similar conclusions, that hardware startups are very different from software, and much of the startup advice out there doesn’t necessarily apply. Particularly when it comes to funding, hardware presents a challenge to the classic model — it costs a significant amount to make and distribute hard goods, whereas the per-unit costs of software or web services are nearly negligible — and it’s not always clear how to get around that. (Local Seattle entrepeneur Dan Shapiro has some thoughts on the matter of what kinds of companies would do best without VC funding.) Kickstarter can be a good way to get money, but it presumes a level of completion (such as a working prototype to show off) that takes some time to reach, and note that many of the most sucessful campaigns are from people who already have proven track records in their industry (see here and here). As Bunnie says, bootstrapping as best you can until you come up against a real funding obstacle is probably the best bet for a hardware company, and that’s my plan.

I’m not quite ready to go public with the details of my new business venture, but when I do, I’ll post here.

posted May 1, 2012 – 8:43 pm
Old News
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