Venture capitalists are warming up to the idea of investing in hardware. It’s not that they hated gadgets in the past; it’s that it’s far more costly to launch and market a hardware startup than a new piece of software.
In Silicon Valley, hardware is having a Renaissance, perhaps even a “glamour moment.” Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and other crowdfunding sites have opened the floodgates and are making it easier for startups to get funded. Some of these campaigns have been so wildly successful that even the most traditional investors are taking notice.
In addition, manufacturing costs are dropping and hardware accelerators like Lemnos Labs and the Highway I Incubator are providing mentorship, equipment, and other resources.
The future is bright for hardware entrepreneurs — but how about consumers? Which new gadgets will keep your home safe, track your heart rate, or tickle your fancy?
For its most recent newsletter, a startup called Mattermark compiled its list of the hottest hardware startups. Head up by entrepreneur Danielle Morrill, the company hopes to put data about private companies in the hands of entrepreneurs and investors.
Each day, Mattermark tracks dozens of signals for each startup in its database. Morrill told me that these scores include signs of “momentum,” like web traffic, inbound links, Twitter followers, Facebook page likes, and LinkedIn followers. Mattermark takes a moving average of all the scores from the previous 90 days to avoid overestimating a spike from PR or buying “likes” or followers. This is known as the “Mattermark score.”
Without further ado, here are Mattermark’s top 10 hardware companies to watch:
Keyless home lock controlled by your mobile phone
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 9%, Links ▲ 84%, Twitter ▲ 3%, Facebook ▲ 1%
Current Funding: Announced a $2 million angel round in May 2013
Dog activity monitor for the quantified pet
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 22%, Links ▲ 10%, Twitter ▲ 3%, Facebook ▲ 2%
Current Funding: Raised $6 million first round in June 2013 from DCM, Red Swan, and Gunderson Dettmer
Displays for sports enthusiasts
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 59%, Links ▲ 5%, Twitter ▲ 1%, Facebook ▲ 1%
Current Funding: raised $10M Series A in early 2012 from Vanedge Capital and Kopin Corporation
Home thermostat that learns your temperature preferences
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 3%, Links ▲ 4%, Twitter ▲ 3%, Facebook ▲ 4%
Current Funding: raised $80M Series B in early 2013 from Google Ventures and Venrock
Medical tricorder, a personal physical exam scanner
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 23%, Links ▲ 2%, Twitter ▲ 1%, Facebook ▲ 3%
Current Funding: raised $1.6M on IndieGogo in June 2013
Making everything on your home programmable
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 6%, Links ▲ 2%, Twitter ▲ 2%, Facebook ▲ 1%
Current Funding: raised $3M seed round in December 2012 from several angel investors
Video monitoring platform for the consumer market
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 6%, Links ▲ 1%, Twitter ▲ 4%, Facebook ▲ 4%
Current Funding: raised $12M Series B in June 2012 from Menlo Ventures, Accel and Bay Partners
Heroku for hardware, platform for wifi connected devices
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 28%, Links ▲ 16%, Twitter ▲ 2%, Facebook ▲ 0%
Current Funding: raised over $500,000 on Kickstarter in June 2013
Wirelessly control devices with the MYO armband
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 5%, Links ▲ -3%, Facebook ▲ 5%
Current Funding: raised $14.5M Series A in June 2013 from Spark Capital and Intel Capital
Creators of gTar, the app-enabled smart guitar
Average Weekly Growth: Traffic ▲ 6%, Links ▲ 17%, Twitter ▲ 2%, Facebook ▲ 1%
Current Funding: raised $745K seed round in November 2011 from several angel investors