It almost always takes a village to bring a new product from the garage to market. From concept to capital and manufacturing to distribution, it takes many hands to turn, say, the Apple I into the Macintosh.
Over the last four years, the Boston-based Dragon Innovation has been helping hardware entrepreneurs to weather the development cycle, vet designs and crowdsource funding by allowing individuals to financially back projects they like. Today, Dragon added more power to its repertoire and teamed up with GE, Arrow Electronics and Freescale to create a new platform designed to help innovators cut time to market and boost competitiveness.
GE, for example, will give entrepreneurs access to senior staff inside GE, including R&D collaboration with GE Global Research labs. The company will also help with technology transfer, licensing opportunities and marketing. “The advanced manufacturing revolution depends on everyday inventors and maker communities who are bringing new ideas forward at a record place,” said Beth Comstock, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at GE.
Dragon Innovation already provides entrepreneurs with the tools for planning, funding, making and selling hardware products. Dragon’s team of experts helps them estimate costs and timelines, and set goals and ship dates. “Hardware entrepreneurs run the risk of running out of money, even with a perceived successful crowdfunding campaign, if they haven’t properly penciled out the costs behind delivering their project,” said Scott Miller, Dragon cofounder and CEO.
Miller says Dragon’s experience combined with GE’s resources could make the new platform a major player in the new world of crowdfunding products. “In the old days, firms would spend millions of dollars over the course of multiple years in stealth mode, then have a big product launch backed by a significant market spend to drive demand,” Miller told TechCrunch. “In some cases, this went well, and the product sold. In others, it did not.”
The new platform could help entrepreneurs cuts costs and improve the odds of a successful launch.