EdgeGroup CEO and Founder Paul Schlusser was pleased to take part in North Sydney Innovation Network’s event ‘Troubled Makers — State of Play for Hardware Startups in Sydney’ panel at the beautiful Work inc space, as part of the Spark Festival 2018.
Questions covered centered around the hardware landscape in Australia — where it has been, where it is going and the challenges faced by hardware makers now.
Paul was optimistic about building hardware in Australia, while noting that hardware has its unique challenges.
“A high-tech hardware business has everything that a difficult software startup faces plus the additional difficulty of adding hardware to it.
The options now (for getting assistance developing hardware products) aren’t particularly satisfactory, and this is probably the biggest single impediment to having a hardware startup. When I need a circuit board made, I know exactly where to go. Most people don’t and they typically choose poorly, and that’s only after they’ve blown a lot of money, made a lot of mistakes and wasted a lot of time that they finally figure that out — the tough ones survive but that shouldn’t be the way it works — it should be a little bit easier than that.”
Paul spoke about the necessity of networks in hardware due to its need for multiple skill-sets:
“The fundamental challenges of doing a hardware startup, what it really came down to for me was the huge skill-set the depth of knowledge needed in so many disciplines to be able to pull it off.”
Paul also spoke on the challenges now for entrepreneurs with a hardware startup, emphasising the importance of making those connections and identifying where to go:
“A common problem, when you look at Kickstarter which has any number of exciting technology projects, a vast majority of which needlessly fail, they have very good ideas. They get their funding, then they can’t actually deliver it because they just go through this process of making the same mistakes of every rookie that goes through this journey and that’s an area where I think we (hardware incubators) can make a difference…
“The connections made in that space, having that depth of network, interconnectivity and access to the people that you need.”
(In the past) We had a network people we had worked with previously to find the resources help you fill out the skills needed to get the job done, I think that is less common now”
Once you have the necessary skills you don’t get frightened by the challenges anymore and you can successfully execute multiple products with relatively close to zero failure rate and execute”.
Paul is optimistic about the future of hardware in Australia:
“There is a massive opportunity in robotics, with a surge in the demand for robots, someone has to design and make them — and that is a hardware opportunity”
If you have a great hardware idea, no matter what stage of your journey, we would love to help feel free to get in touch with Paul and the rest of the team at EdgeGroup.