Hardware Accelerator: Week 9

Hardware Accelerator: Week 9

Curious what happens during the Rev summer Hardware Accelerator? Here’s a quick recap of Week 9. Be sure to join us on August 10th for Hardware Demo Day, where the teams will get to show off their prototypes. Above, a member of the iGEM team works on app code during a weekly meeting.

It’s getting down to crunch time for the Hardware Teams; they’re just two weeks away from Demo Day. That means wire-framing apps, producing a revised prototype, and preparing pitch decks to share their ideas and next steps.

Clara Walton of Team Prometheus sketches out ideas for the next iteration of their prototype

For many Hardware alums (over 70%), launching and seeking funding has been a common next step. To help teams consider what they might do after Demo Day, Director Ken Rother shared a presentation on getting funding with a Kickstarter or another crowdfunding website.

“I learned that, by the time you launch on Kickstarter, you may be too late to build what your customer actually wants!” said Sivan Sud of Team Petal. “[I also learned about] the importance of a bill of materials, because the feasibility of your product might come down to how much it cost to make and how much you can sell it for.”

To help teams think about market testing and product-market fit, Hardware alum and CEO/founder of BrewJacket, Aaron Walls Skyped in to share his experience. He talked the teams through using different techniques – such as Google ads and a test website – to feel out pricing for your product. Walls’ journey from Hardware Accelerator to Kickstarter to launch was relatable and eye-opening for many teams.

Aaron Walls of BrewJacket Skypes in with the teams

“There are times when you can spend so much time on your product and not have anyone who wants to buy it.” said Avisha Kumar, of Cornell’s iGEM team. “Before you even start prototyping or building your product, you have to make sure you reach out to customers… so that they can actually benefit from whatever you’re selling.”

In addition to the teams’ regularly scheduled meetings with mentors, special office hours with local mentor and investor Aaron Proujansky were offered to help them dig in to their funding potential. Proujansky helped them with their pitches, showing them how to tailor their story and findings to help investors – not tech experts – understand the product.

Outland Analytics shares their problem/solution with the other teams and mentor Aaron Proujansky (right, checked shirt)

Check out more Hardware stories on our blog. To stay up to date with what’s happening at Rev, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Bonnie