Producing innovative software takes a lot of technical knowledge, but not much more than a program running on a PC due to the wide support community that has developed online. This type of innovation can be very lucrative but many times an inventor’s idea involves new hardware and this is when dreams are in real danger of dying.
The main goal of a new Boston company named Bolt is to accelerate product-focused hardware startups by allowing them to mature in a professional engineering environment. They say they will provide support for entrepreneurs determined to develop mass consumer products specifically consumer robotics and connected devices.
Bolt founder, Ben Stein, explained the company’s focus to The Boston Globe: “We’re thinking mostly about off-the-shelf components being combined in new ways, where you might have a new device that works with a web service, or plugs into a mobile phone.”
He goes on to explain the difficulty these startups face and why Bolt is pioneering this type of organization, “Hardware startups are typically at a major disadvantage compared to their software counterparts. But, this disadvantage means it’s ripe for disruption. We’ve built a model that changes the equation and enables startups to get capital- efficient hardware to market at unprecedented speeds.”
The company announced that it has just received $3.5 million in investment from Grishin Robotics, Autodesk and Logitech in a report to the SEC. This huge investment is a testament to the firm belief these companies have in Bolt and in the future of consumer robotics and connected devices.
Dmitri Grishin, founder of the Russian VC firm said, “The key to the upcoming consumer robotics revolution, I believe, is in the startup ecosystem. Talented hardware entrepreneurs, dreaming about a new generation of smart devices, do not have today a supporting community around that is as developed as software developers do. That’s why we have decided to invest in Bolt- This is an investment into the market’s future.” Grishin Robotics says they are the first firm to focus on consumer robotics. They have already invested in RobotAppStore and Double Robotics; companies that produce this type of consumer hardware.
The Boston incubator company also received investment from Kava Systems (recently acquired by Amazon) founder Mick Mounts and Foundry Group’s Brad Feld investor in MakerBot and FitBit. Bolt will accept 25 startups in the next 2 years. They have begun accepting applications and will select 10-15 companies to be part of a 6 month program. Bolt will offer these companies seed money, mentoring, access to prototyping facilities including complete machining and electronic labs as well as access to an engineering and design staff.
Talks are currently happening with many hardware startups and applications will be accepted for the next 2 months. Time to put it all on the line and Bolt.
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