Prelude to StartWareHK: Hacking the Hardware Startup Ecosystem in Hong Kong

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Ambi Climate and StartWareHK co-founder Julian Lee [far right] provides this guest post that leads to next week’s very first start-up hardware meet-up in Hong Kong.

To get more inspiration for the upcoming first Startware event on 5th March, I have been looking at our neighbour to the North, Shenzhen. The manufacturing mecca for hardware startups, Shenzhen plays host to numerous US based Kickstarter projects, and is also home to the leading hardware incubator, HAXLR8R. With numerous global technology companies doing R&D here, Shenzhen also boasts a large pool of engineers and technicians.

Last weekend, I travelled to Shenzhen to attend the Hack42 hackathon organised by SZDIY. A group of hardware enthusiasts, SZDIY’s members are highly skilled engineers, including staff from HAXLR8R, Nvidia, SUSE, and so on. Although billed as an event for hobbyists, SZDIY’s founders see a clear path towards entrepreneurship.

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Prelude to StartWareHK: Why Do We Need a Hardware Startup Community in Hong Kong?

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StartupsHK and StartWareHK co-founder Jon Buford, the creative vision behind Makible provides this guest post that leads to next week’s very first start-up hardware meet-up in Hong Kong.

Over the past decade, much has changed in the way that products are brought to market. It used to be the only way to connect with customers was to convince a retail shop to carry your product and then split the profits with 25% of the retail price going to the company that developed the product and 50% going to the retailer. Things have changed with the popularity of crowdfunding websites making that equation closer to 50% of a product price being kept by the developer. But, with that increase in profit usually comes a decrease in volume, which makes it difficult to figure out how to manufacture some products profitably.

Directly connecting with your customers has its advantages of having a much clearer picture of who your customer is, but it also comes with the burden of having to both support your product and manage an active and connected community. For a small startup, this can be not only a full time job, but several full time jobs. There is almost always a point in a project that has been crowd funded where something critical goes not according to plan and that close connection to the community results in some backlash that is overwhelming to the team. It takes everything you have to just keep that dialog open and to get past the trouble.

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Hong Kong Hardware Startups Prepare for StartWare HK Meet-up on March 5th at WYND

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Are you a hardware startup looking for a home? Three of Hong Kong’s most active founders in the space have joined forces to create StartWare – a community for hardware startups.

Julian Lee of Ambi Climate, Jon Buford of Makible and Martin Kessler of Phonejoy all have one thing in common: they’ve all built successful hardware startups and want to help others in this exciting but often turbulent process.

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