Making Hardware A Little Less Hard

Posted by Jessica Alter /September 5, 2013 / Announcements

Last week we announced the official expansion of the FounderDating platform into Hardware – FounderDating Hardware. That hardware is experiencing a renaissance isn’t exactly breaking news.  Paul Graham is encouraging hardware entrepreneurs to apply to YC and Chris Dixon explains some of the factors involved (cost reduction, crowdfunding prototypes, access, etc.) As he also mentions, “it also doesn’t hurt that the most valuable company in the world (Apple – AAPL) and some of the most exciting startups (e.g., Nest, Jawbone, Leap Motion) make hardware.”  So, I’m not going to repeat what smart people have already said.  But here’s why we’re excited about helping hardware entrepreneurs.

The Surge

In the last 6 months we saw the number of applicants to FD with an interest in hardware double.  Entrepreneurs with an interest in hardware now make up 15-20% of applicants.

This may not seem like a huge number but during this time, we did nothing differently.  Until now, we’ve done a poor job of reaching out to the hardware community. I say that in a slightly embarrassed way. But what’s so telling is that this was happening completely organically.

The Difficulty

“Hardware is the new software” – so many people I can’t quote them all.  Except it’s not. It’s harder.  Jon Callaghan sums it up perfectly, “Hardware is the double black diamond of startups.”

What’s often overlooked is where this starts. How many pieces have to come together for a hardware company’s founding team – industrial design, mechanical, electrical and often software engineering plus a hustler who can make manufacturing and distribution a reality.  It’s tremendously difficult and rarely do these people just happen upon each other day-to-day. Now we give them a platform to connect with right people together to get hardware companies started the right way.

The Curious

Hard problems attract talented, curious people. At the end of the day we’re a people network.  A high quality, curated people network. We want to help the most curious and extraordinary people do the things they really want to do. Hardware is one of the areas the curious are “hanging out.”

And we can already see that FD entrepreneurs don’t shy away from a challenge. You might expect the majority of entrepreneurs to be lured by the popularity of products like the Nike Fuel Band and Fitbit e.g. quantified-self. What we’re seeing is a wide-range of interests and a healthy attraction to areas that haven’t gained quite as much popularity, like robotics, than some of those that have, like quantified-self.

Current Hardware Areas of Interest of FD Entrepreneurs

Interest Area

% Interested

Consumer Electronics


Wearable Tech


3D Printing


Smart Home








Medical devices


Quantified Self


Bringing People Together

FounderDating Hardware is a direct expansion of the FounderDating Platform, a curated online network of entrepreneurs ready to start their next side-project or company. While FD Hardware members will be a part of same expansive online network as software entrepreneurs, we’ve greatly expanded the product to better serve hardware entrepreneurs. For example, adding granular (searchable) areas of interest, skill sets and targeted types of people available on the site (i.e. industrial designers, mechanical engineers, etc.).

We’ve also partnered with TechShop and Highway1 (PCH Int’l) to bring people together and fill the manufacturing/supply chain knowledge gaps respectively.  

If you’re part of the curious class or you know someone who is, join us in making hardware a little less hard.