While developing software has become a lot easier over past 30 years, building hardware still remains incredibly hard.

This was one of the key points repeated at last week´s meetups with local startup and hardware communities in Helsinki, Tallinn, Tartu and Riga by Zak Homuth, CEO of hardware engineering collaborative platform Upverter and open hardware blogger. For example, unlike in software business, for hardware companies the step from a popsicle sticks and duct tape prototype to a real product in customer´s hands still requires about 18 months and several hundred thousand dollars.

Ales Spetic, CEO of Cubesensors, a company producing smart devices for monitoring and making indoors environment healthier, and author of  An Investor’s Guide to Hardware Startups thinks one of the biggest challenge faced by hardware startups is the lack of easy repair options,  once the product is shipped out. “You just have one shot to make it right, send the product out and make your customers happy.” He also stressed the need to focus on business: “The stories of high growth and traction without revenue do not apply in hardware. You´ve got to make things and sell them.”

Tips for successful marketing and crowdfunding were shared by Katherine Hague, cofounder of Shoplocket, e-commerce platform for hardware businesses, and Blueprint, resource site for hardware entrepreneurs. While most crowdfunding campaigns last at least 30 days, in fact to capitalise on the momentum and “guarantee success, you need to hit 35% of your goal on day one”.

Experience shows that ”it can take 6 months to 2 years to match your first month of crowdfunding sales post-launch”. Katherine also pointed out that more and more companies are running campaigns on their own websites and predicted that crowdfunding platforms will move towards more customisation in future.

The meetups were organised in collaboration with our good partners Aaltoes Summer of Startups , Tehnopol and UK Trade & Investment , Mobile Monday Estonia and City of Tartu. Buildit team thanks everyone who attended and hopes to see you at future events!