A new partnership between global electronics supplier Arrow Electronics and Indiegogo, one of the largest crowfunding platforms, is looking to give the little guys a shot at innovating in the Internet of Things (IoT) space.
The new "crowdfund-to-production platform" will give entrepreneurs and their IoT-related projects direct access to Arrow's design tools, engineering experts, prototype services, manufacturing support, and supply chain management. Projects will also be given access to Arrow engineers for one-on-one consultations (via HD video through Arrow's website) as well as discounts on materials and design software. All in, the company says the total package of benefits is worth up to $500,000.
Arrow will review all projects submitted for the platform and access them based on technical feasibility, manufacturability, and overall impact.
"If you ask an electrical engineer, they're surprised to know that Arrow really has a whole design capability," Matt Anderson, Arrow's chief digital officer, told Design News prior to the partnership announcement, which was made at the 2016 Maker Faire in San Francisco.
Solar Roadways, a successful Indiegogo looking to create energy-harvesting panels for roads, has already enjoyed support from Arrow.
Startup culture often invokes images of a small handful of people, working in a cramped space, creating some new technology with nothing but sweat and determination. But IoT has a lot more challenges than your typical app or even hardware startup might experience. "What makes it double hard for smaller companies is that the ecosystem surrounding the hardware space was not meant to help small companies, especially before companies like Digi-Key and Mouser came along," Anderson said. "Business schools and technical schools aren't training students to be IoT entrepreneurs. They're training them to be last revolution's entrepreneurs. They don't take electrical engineering, for example, and combine it with marketing and supply chain management. There's no degree like that, but that's what it takes to be able to do this."
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