Since their 2014 IPO, GoPro has seen its ups & downs.

Investing in Hardware has never been a safer bet

Hardware is fashionable, there’s no denying it. The founders of the very software startups we used to envy — Amazon, Google, Facebook, Paypal — are themselves spending more time building hardware than ever before. Major hardware exits — Nest, Misfit, GoPro, Oculus & Ouya — in the last two years have shown that there is an appetite for hardware, an appetite that has increased exponentially in the past few years, after the move to cloud saw many last-gen hardware manufacturers — most recently, Sharp — shrink or shutter altogether.

A combination of catalysts are to thank for the newfound enthusiasm — cost-reduction for manufacturing, reduced initial investment requirements, access to capital (venture & revenue) — it seems that every major hurdle towards building & monetizing a hardware product is shrinking or has disappeared altogether. Mobile has given every hardware product a standardized operating system (or two) on top of which to build, advances in prototyping software have made it cheaper to get to a V1 (or even a V0), and crowdfunding has make finding product-market fit in the hardware space cheaper than ever.

This year at Connected Conference, we’ll be diving into Hardware Financing for an entire day (May 25th) on our Deep Dive Stage, looking at the lifecycle of how hardware startups keep their coffers full. We’ll be examining how crowdfunding & pre-sales have reduced the amount of capital a hardware startup needs to test its assumptions down to the levels we are accustomed to seeing in software startups — and the prevalent maker spaces mean that getting access to 3D Printers & prototyping software is about as easy as getting free cloud storage credits (which hardware startups also need, as the core value typically sits in the cloud).

Steep growth in dedicated Hardware VC, according to Boston-based Hardware accelerator Bolt

Because prototyping & product-market validation investment costs have dropped, accelerators & early stage funds are jumping on board the hardware bandwagon. Hardware Club, Y Combintor, Bolt, HAX, Highway1 — and event Startupbootcamp’s new IoT Program- have paved the road not only for building dedicated hardware ecosystems, but for reinventing how hardware products negotiate everything from manufacturing to distribution to retail.

While Wall Street has punished hardware companies & software companies alike at the beginning of 2016, consumers keep buying connected hardware, and the enterprise market for automation & digitalization is still strong.

This year, we’re bringing together 100+ hardware angels, accelerators & funds (early stage, late stage, corporate venture) at Connected Conference, where more than 150 startups will be demo-ing next generation products in our Startup Village, and 3,000 professionals from 50 countries will gather for 3 days in May.

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