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Recap of Launchpad – Empowering Hardware Startups That Change The World

Recap of Launchpad – Empowering Hardware Startups That Change The World

The third installment of our Launchpad series concluded with a record number of attendees and speakers! Attendees took part in an engaging collection of talks centered on hardware startups, innovation, product development and business strategy. 

On June 10th we had the pleasure of hosting our third KREATIZE Launchpad event. The theme for this event was “Empowering Hardware Startups That Change the World”. We had an all-star roster of speakers, and over 100participants from 10+ countries. We are so excited to see this platform continue to gain traction, and we’re proud to say this was our most successful launchpad so far. 

“Hardware is hard, there is a lot of truth to that, but if we have a strong community we can make it easier. If this launchpad can achieve that, we have made a step forward,” said Simon Tuechelmann, CEO & Co-Founder of KREATIZE at the start of the event. 

Delving  deep into the topic of starting a hardware business, our speakers provided valuable insights and recommendations for finding success in this rewarding (but challenging) field. Their insights were both practical and forward thinking for anyone looking to start or grow a hardware startup. The three hour event was broken up into four sessions with themes related to the diverse journey of establishing a hardware product related business: 

  • Session 1:  Success Stories from The Best Hardware Founders 
  • Session 2:  How to Make a Hardware Investment Attractive – Derisking 
  • Session 3: How to Bring Your Product to Market – Manufacturing
  • Session 4: Beers with Peers – Networking 

We thoroughly enjoyed the high level of engagement in the chat and Q&A throughout the event. 

Here were the key takeaways from our speakers:

Build a Strong Network

Christoph Bornschein, CEO of the agency for digital business TLGG kicked off the first session. The seasoned entrepreneur provided an overview on hardware and digitization and asset-based value creation in digital ecosystems. Bornschein crystallised the state of the hardware industry from a macro perspective, and cautioned that hardware is going through a lot of changes and companies must evolve with the current technologies when developing new products or face losing their business. 

“What is going to happen to hardware is what happened to software based businesses models earlier on, if you don’t take control now you will be controlled,” said Bornschein. “That is always the worst thing that can happen.”

Watch the full interview with Christoph Bornschein here:

Stefan Klocke – Volocopter

Stefan Klocke, shareholder and chairman of the advisory board of Volocopter GmbH, the urban air mobility company behind some of the most advanced electric air taxi vehicles, offered practical advice to those at the helm of a hardware business. He emphasized the importance of partners and working together with companies that can help you in areas that are not your core competencies.

“Find the right partners. We are a small company so we could not develop on our own,” said Klocke. “You need supporters.”

Watch the full-interview with Stefan Klocke here:

Pascal Blum – unu Motors

To round out the first session, we were joined by Pascal Blum, Co-founder and CEO of unu motors, the company behind one of the most exciting electric scooters currently on the market. Blum highlighted the complexity of developing a new product from scratch and needing to follow two distinct product development methodologies—standard automotive development processes and an agile approach to software development. He further emphasized the importance of networking with other hardware startups. 

“It is really good to network and get to know other hardware companies,” said Blum. He reminded listeners that most hardware startups are facing similar challenges and are not direct competitors. 

Watch the full-interview with Pascal Blum here:

Make Hardware Investments Attractive By Derisking 

Christian Dahlen – SAP / Band of Angels

Christian Dahlen kicked off the second session of Launchpad. Dahlen is a VP at SAP and a seasoned angel investor. In his opinion, raising money for a hardware startup is particularly challenging due to the substantial investment required. But he is also optimistic that the market for hardware investments is in a healthy state, in part thanks to certain very visible players, such as Elon Musk, making bold investments in this space.  

“Everyone likes to touch physical objects, there is something about the tactile experience,” said Dahlen. “Right now there are a plethora of hardware startups.” 

Watch the full-interview with Christian Dahlen here: 

Daniel Spitzbarth – Technologiewerkstatt

Daniel Spitzbarth, Head of Technologiewerkstatt in Albstadt and Business Design Coach at Tech Startup School, spoke about how hardware startups and corporations can benefit from each other.  By working with corporates, startups can not only gain a client, but also a potential investor and partner. He cautioned that startups must not only think about making a great product, but also their business. 

“First of all think business, because a product is not enough,” said Spitzbarth. “A lot of startups have great concepts or products, but they miss the business idea.”

Watch the full-interview with Daniel Spitzbarth here:

Krzysztof Mikoda – SquadTec

Krzysztof (Chris) Mikoda , CEO of SquadTec and former JUMP Engineering Center Manager, shared how the use of scrum is accelerating hardware product development, highlighting that using scrum at the right time is also important to yielding great results when it comes to product development. “Scrum really works well in the early stages,” said Mikoda. “When you don’t want to change too much, when you want a stable platform, then this agility is not the best alliance in my opinion.” 

Watch the full interview with Krzysztof (Chris) Mikoda here:

Julia Luksan & Christiane Feichter – Jarolim Partner Rechtsanwälte

At the end of the second session we were joined by Julia Luksan, Attorney at Law, and Christiane Feichter, Associate at Jarolim Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH, to discuss intellectual property issues. These two experts gave us a solid overview on the many legal aspects that we should take into account when developing new hardware products, including copyrights, patents, and intellectual property issues. 

Watch the full presentation by Julia Luksan and Christiane Feichter here:

Bring your product to market with Cloud Manufacturing

Simon Tüchelmann – KREATIZE

Our talks concluded with Simon Tüchelmann, CEO & Co-founder of KREATIZE. Tuchelmann highlighted the many ways cloud manufacturing can help accelerate the innovation process of hardware products. We are at a unique point in time, as technologies now give people easy access to quality global manufacturing capacities. 

“All great innovators have heavily relied on custom part manufacturing,” said Tuechelmann. “For the first time ever, builders have access to manufacturing services at the click of a button.” 

Watch the full presentation by Simon Tüchelmann here:

Fabio Sulser – KREATIZE

Fabio Sulser, Tech Lead Data & Automation at KREATIZE, shared how cloud manufacturing lowers the entry barriers for hardware startups. He provided a brief tutorial on how KREATIZE’s technology and cloud manufacturing network can assist startups in their journey to develop game-changing products with less up-front cost. 

Watch the full presentation by Fabio Sulser here:

We’re not done yet! There are more Launchpads to come this year.

The lively exchange during the event and the feedback we received after, proved to us yet again that there is a real demand for such events. We will continue to host more Launchpads in the future with innovators and thought leaders from the hardware and manufacturing sector! Stay tuned for more details on our next event!

Want to be kept up to date with content on cloud manufacturing and hardware innovation? Then sign up for our newsletter: Cloud Manufactured.


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