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If you are not Apple, chances you will succeed as a hardware company are near 0

If you are not Apple, chances you will succeed as a hardware company are near 0.

Any successful hardware startups out there mind sharing their story?

Phil from 4 day week made a hypothesis that it is extremely difficult to get off the ground if you trying to sell hardware. If there are hardware startup executives here, what is your experience in marketing/selling/etc, and finally what got you to your first 100 customers? How do you deal with electronic components shortage? Is your business model B2B/B2C?

By hardware I mean there is a 'real' PCB inside the product you are selling.

  1. 7

    Lol, chances of succeeding in dropshipping 2nd - this is so inaccurate. I can tell you this first-hand.

    To dropship now is more challenging than ever.

    I will explain in more detail if needed.

    I'm also very curious about where did he get this data from.

    1. 1

      I agree completely! Dropshiping earlier was still somewhat profitable, but today ? no way !

    2. 1

      I would imagine it was just a guess based on the idea that "there are so many dropshippers out there."

      1. 1

        And that's true also, but it's all because of get-rich-quick YT gurus. And these are one of the few that got rich from dropshipping, but by selling their courses.

  2. 1

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  3. 4

    Hardware isn't a business model. 🤷
    Hardware can be sold on a subscription basis. This is a very common practice where the hardware provides deliberate savings for the customer but there is a lack of trust in the product value proposition ($savings) or the end customer doesn't want to bear the cost upfront.

    A perfect example of a successful hardware heavy business is solar as service provider Enpal (>$1B valuation) in Germany. They provide a one stop shop hassle free solution for residential homeowners to get solar without bearing the upfront cost. Their value proposition is almost a no brainer for a good portion of homeowner because the leasing cost ends up being less than what you would be paying to the grid for the same amount of electricity consumed (it's not always true but it gets quite close). Additionally, end customers only bear minimal operational risk - in case the systems goes down, Enpal repairs it.

    The same applies to unicorn Efishery's core business in Indonesia, which helps fish farmers to save on input food cost by deploying iot devices on the farms through a win win financing scheme. Farmer save more by optimizing food input cost than what the iot technology actually costs.

    1. 1

      Wow! This is really detailed and well put ! thank you for sharing

    2. 1

      I'm impressed by how well you put that first paragraph into words.

  4. 2

    I would love to see where did he got the data from.

    I see successful new SaaS companies here on IndieHackers all the time.

    I see very successful new hardware companies on Kickstarter and Indiegogo all the time.

    1. 1

      yes, but you don't here about freelancers who make money, they don't have stories to tell, they just earn. I think this is an apples and oranges comparison, this is like saying it's easier to get a job than start a company.

    2. 1

      I find it plausible that it is around 7 times harder to succeed with freelancing than SaaS. Even if you read 3 successful SaaS startup stories per week here, it's only around 150 per year. Not really that many.

      1. 1

        Again, is this an opinion or a fact?

        I would love to see the source of the information presented in this thread.

  5. 1

    I think if your creation is significantly advanced in science and engineering, you have a chance. I.e. you can't just create a "cool" hardware that sells on hype. But if it's faster and more energy efficient than current generation chips, you have a chance.

  6. 1

    Neccessarily easy thing is not what people want. I mean it's easy to be an engineer and earn a satisfactory living, but there's many people who don't want that.

    Freelancing for example, you just make what other people want you to make, you don't get to do what you want.

  7. 1

    I mean depends right? And it's also depends on the bets you are taking.

    Technically, I can have hardware company if I wanted to but I just don't. It's a tedious work. It's a stable return but it's really hard work. Also, it's location dependent...

    Hardware's scale is by size at a given time and not for the durations like how SaaS would plan their financial model.

    My hardware background is pc, embedded devices, smartphones (across consumer, industrial, healthcare, military). They are very different.

  8. 1

    It's actually a great time to make hardware. It might take more capitol to create a hardware company, i.e build prototypes, but it's quite inexpensive at scale. Think about Fitbit. It's pretty cheap to produce when you've got thousands of orders coming in.

  9. 1

    I think https://kytch.com/landing is a good study case for a successful hardware startup. They're trying to solve the issue of Broken ice cream machines at McDonalds. I believe their hardware is a RaspberryPi plus some of their own circuits and software to help display actual helpful messages on Taylor ice cream machines.

  10. 1

    Being a hardware startup in the US or Europe is nearly impossible since we have outsourced most manufacturing. We don't have the skills or factories to compete with Shenzhen, the silicon valley of hardware. This strategy is for maximising cooperate profits, not much else.

    1. 1

      It's not all about just manufacturing components right? Of course when looking at the mass manufacturing of hardware, places like ShenZhen and the Greater Bay Area are becoming really hard to compete with. However, many companies just assemble an assortment of components to create complex systems.

  11. 1

    Hardware is hard... but it might be where the biggest opportunities are.

    Check out this post: The next big breakthrough in AI will come from hardware, not software about

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