I love software wrapped in plastic. So it warmed my heart when I heard that Cyril Ebersweiler and my long time friend Sean O’Sullivan were starting an accelerator in Shenzhen, China called HAXLR8R as part of their Chinaccelerator initiative, both which are part of the Global Accelerator Network.
Following is a guest post from Cyril about the program along with a link to their Demo Day event in San Francisco on June 18th.
Three months ago, what seemed to be a crazy idea became reality: HAXLR8R gathered 9 startups from the US, Europe and Asia in the electronics mecca – Shenzhen, helping entrepreneurs to kickstart their ventures based on physical devices.
Coming from various background (hackers, makers, academics, business) this new breed of pioneers took advantage of the convergence of several factors which have been playing in their favor across the last few years. To name a few: the ever growing computing power (and corollaries in the fields of vision, audio, and sensors), the cost drop for parts and prototyping, the higher quality in mass manufacturing, the increasing effectiveness of the logistics involved as well as the other benefits coming from the digital space such as crowdfunding (e.g. Kickstarter), communities (e.g. Thingiverse), collaboration (e.g. Upverter) and the natural viral effects of the social web. This fostered a new wave of entrepreneurs building products which were unthinkable a few years back.
But building and selling a complete hardware product is still hard. Really hard. The team needs to be composed of superstars who have a remarkable sense of market timing and vision in terms of product. The first iteration of a hardware product and its final version will have few in common, as new constrains (quality, costs, and time) are discovered by just witnessing the magic of ‘how it’s made’. Getting things done in China ensures that those needs are taken care of very early in the process, while providing a relative peace of mind to entrepreneurs after leaving the country as they now have a perfect understanding of their product but also a long-lasting relationships with their local partner.
The remaining traps to avoid are in the fields of logistics, distribution, financing and fundraising, among others. The HAXLR8R program aims at answering those very practical questions which – for the most part – have been dealt with hundreds of times by previous entrepreneurs, now turned into mentors. And they were many to come across the HAXLR8R office: the founders of MakerBot, Pebble and Sphero, an entire team from IDEO, Bunnie Huang and plenty others who have nurtured a group of people working in robotics, toys, connected devices, IOT, energy, appliances, self-quantified and medical.
The HAXLR8R team will hit San Francisco on June 18th for their Demo Day, which will be hosted at Autodesk on Embarcadero. If you are an investor and interested in witnessing a new leap in technology, I’d suggest you take a look and drop an e-mail to makeit [at] haxlr8r.com in order to register.