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Maybe the next Kickstarter you back will actually ship on time.
Successfully funding a Kickstarter campaign can be a challenge. The hardest part, though, isn’t the fundraising—it’s what comes next.
After years of seeing hardware Kickstarters flailing and failing after meeting their goal, the crowdfunding platform is trying to do something about it. Kickstarter is partnering with Dragon Innovation and Avnet in a new program called Hardware Studio. Hardware Studio should help first-time creators develop the skills and expectations needed to succeed at manufacturing a product from scratch.
“With hardware projects in particular, we often see unexpected hurdles pop up in the manufacturing process,” a Kickstarter representative explained to the Daily Dot. Those hurdles can be anything from a component behaving unexpectedly, to things costing more than anticipated, to manufacturing taking a whole lot longer than predicted. “That’s why this collaboration puts the emphasis on doing lots of planning before you even launch on Kickstarter. This can make the path ahead look much clearer in terms of parts and costs.”
To that end, Hardware Studio is a two-pronged educational resource. The first part is the Hardware Studio Toolkit, a suite of free tools and tutorials for the Kickstarter community. The Toolkit includes webinars, online blog posts and tutorials, and access to Dragon Innovation’s product planner. (The latter should help makers estimate costs, check component availability, and more.)
The second half is called Hardware Studio Connection. This will help connect creators—particularly ones working on more complicated, tech-involved projects—with expert advice and feedback from Kickstarter’s partners. Participants will go through an application process before gaining access to customized advice for manufacturing from Dragon Innovation or Avnet. Dragon Innovation specializes in helping early products navigate the pre-manufacturing and manufacturing stages. Similarly, Avnet specializes in helping with component sourcing and supply chain logistics for technology products. A number of successful Kickstarters have already used these companies’ expertise—Kickstarter is now just democratizing that aid.
Risk and uncertainty are fundamental to starting up a new product or business. There will always be unforeseen issues that can set your progress back. Hopefully though, by working with these companies, innovators can better anticipate what issues may arise, and better set a realistic ship date. Goodness knows, it seems like a miracle if a Kickstarter ships on time. Maybe a year or two from now, that won’t be the norm anymore.
The Hardware Studio program kicks off in September.
H/T the Verge
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.