Tag Archives: Hardwarestartup

The R/GA Techstars Accelerator Demo Day

15 Mar

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Friends of Hammerhead,

What an adventure. Texas was incredible! We’ve just returned to New York and the RGA offices from what was a deeply meaningful and unique trip for us all. Demo Day could not have gone better, and all the long hours of hard work that Piet and Jon put into the pitch and presentation culminated in a seamless and beautiful delivery. This event was the finale of the whole Accelerator program and all nine companies presented extremely well. We were proud to share the stage with them. Of course, Jon was there with camera in hand and has put together a great short video of the day’s events. You can watch it here:

Demo Day took place on a rainy Saturday evening and brought about 400 attendees. Before and after the pitch, reporters and investors had the opportunity to speak to each of the companies in person and look at displays and prototypes. As you know, we decided as a company to bring our full team to Texas to share this significant milestone together, and the extra manpower proved to be indispensable in handling all the interest from the large crowd that formed around the Hammerhead display.  

Afterwards, almost every team was represented at the Omni Hotel pool, sharing in good times until a very late night became a very early morning. Never have so many people tried to fit into a single hot tub. As we made the most of the last moments of this incredible journey together, it was difficult not to reflect on what a wild experience the R/GA Accelerator has been.

Our adventure to SXSW closed as it began – with a lengthy road trip in what’s become known as the Hammerbus, our 12-seater rental van. Returning through the dramatic landscapes of the Southwest with the satisfaction and confidence of having successfully executed our goals was extremely memorable. After one final night in New Orleans, we said goodbye to the South and returned home. There is a growing sense that one chapter of our journey as a company is over. We are excited to the tackle the challenges that the next will bring and look forward to sharing the experience with you.

Until next time,

The Hammerhead Team

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Hammerhead – Onwards to SXSW and a little backstory

3 Mar

The weeks are flying by with barely a moment to take a breath, and we’re about ready to ship off tomorrow evening for our big Demo Day at SxSW in Austin, Texas. Piet and Jon have been practicing non-stop for what we’re confident is going to be an awesome presentation – and we’re thrilled to be sharing the stage with our friends and associates from the 8 other incredible R/GA Techstars Accelerator companies.

With this trip, our time here at the Accelerator draws to a close. This represents the end of another challenging but immensely rewarding chapter of our journey. Although we are looking forward to a day or two of catching up on our sleep, we find ourselves reflecting on all the progress we have made here over the last 4 months. We not only forged ahead with our product, but have created a group of friends here and can say with confidence that the hardware startup tribe of NYC is fired up and ready for a good summer!

In this spirit of reflection we thought it would be an appropriate time to share a video of the first leg of our ride together as a team. In June of last year we pooled our resources and moved into a one bedroom apartment to focus on nothing but Hammerhead. Check out the video of our journey:

As with any significant endeavor we have faced significant trials but our commitment to this product and to each other have held constant. We love working together, and we can’t wait for this upcoming summer, with its promise of bikes, sunshine, and good times spent with the people who have supported us thus far.

We have a grand adventure ahead of us this week as we travel across the United States with our whole team – and we’re looking forward to bringing all of you along for the ride with us, with  blog posts, email updates and video. Be sure to keep an eye on our twitter page, as we’ll be updating it constantly. For our team, this journey to Austin is symbolic of the physical transition ahead as we say goodbye to R/GA and Techstars and grow to new heights as a company.

Well, Austin awaits! We can’t wait to share this next week’s excitement with you!

Until next time,


The Hammerhead Team

Laurence on Manufacturing

14 Feb

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Manufacturing.

A word with two feet in the past and a hand pointed firmly towards the future.

To me,  “manufacturing” conjures images of outdated industries and bygone eras as freely as it does iPhones and tablets. In the fast-paced, blink-and-you-miss it world of today, where tech startups can go from 0 to 100,000 users in a day, the monolithic, meticulous process of manufacturing feels wildly out of place.

At Hammerhead, and in this rapidly-expanding universe of connected devices, manufacturing is necessary to bring our product to you. We’re creating a physical tool to be used by many thousands of people. Yet for many companies in our position, the very mention of the word manufacturing sparks fears of complication and feelings of stress. Why? Because in the vast ocean of opportunity and possibility of the tech startup industry, manufacturing is a steel anvil. In skilled hands, this anvil can be used to forge effective, beautiful products. Make a mistake, though, and it can drag you straight to the briny deep. When we hit our crowdfunding goal with Hammerhead, setting ourselves on a course to manufacture thousands of devices, one might say we tied that anvil to our legs and tossed it overboard.

It is precisely this thinking that makes so many startups steer clear of manufacturing altogether. Software is something that can be released to the world in phases. When a company releases an app, they are able to continue working on it long after its initial release. That process is approachable, low overhead, and allows for great creativity and flexibility. With hardware, something that will one day sit on a shelf (or, in our case, on your handlebars), you have to get it right the first time. There is no room for error. No chance to push out an update on that feature that doesn’t work the way you thought it would. Hardware – cue cliche – is hard. And it is doubly hard when the ‘first time’, is your first time.

Stories abound of crowdfunded hardware startups whose inexperience with manufacturing led to substantial delays and inferior products. Then there’s the lurking fear that even if everything goes well your product may be irrelevant by the time it is released. Now,that is a heartbreaking outcome. The lag time between ideation and execution with hardware is so terrifically long that it is often years before someone will use the brilliant tool you’ve dreamed up. With Hammerhead, we knew at the outset that going the hardware route was going to present massive challenges. So we applied an ancient, oft-ignored strategy – one passed down from generation to generation in my family. We asked for help.

A challenge we initially faced was gaining access to experienced product developers. Having an idea and building it in your garage, setting those first LED’s alight, is getting easier thanks to 3D printing, Arduino’s and off-the-shelf bluetooth modules from places like SparkfunAdafruitPoluluSeedstudioInventables and the mighty Grainger. However, there is a distinct chasm between this and the experience of a plastics engineer or the oversight of an electronics engineer with a history of successful products. At our infancy we were fortunate to have incredible mentors with decades of experience in the manufacturing world. It is important to realize that as a hardware startup, we are in the minority of the startup community. There is a vast network of mentors and helpers out there just waiting to be activated. I encourage all hardware hopefuls to seek these people out early and communicate with them often!

For all these reasons and more, we feel extremely fortunate to be part of the inaugural class of the R/GA Techstars Hardware Accelerator program. By guiding us towards the right questions, linking us with experienced advisors to model our costs correctly and challenging our assumptions about tooling and component selection, the team at R/GA Techstars has helped us take Hammerhead to the next level. Quite honestly, with the expertise and help we have access to here, manufacturing has transformed in my mind from an anvil to a balloon, carrying us skywards away from what we thought was possible.  

We’re still worried about getting it right the first time, of course. But I’m pretty sure the folks at Apple, Samsung and the like are worried about that, too.

That’s all for now – we’re in a sprint to get new prototypes ready!

Laurence

We are now accepting Bitcoin

17 Dec

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Hello backers (and new customers)!

Raveen here. We are excited to announce that today we opened our site up to orders through bitcoin. As you likely know, bitcoin is rapidly becoming a go-to online currency. It seems that every few months there is an explosion of news about this currency, always attempting to make sense of what it means for the global financial system and for law enforcement. Our move to accept it is a small one, admittedly, but to us it evidences our commitment to navigating the ever-shifting sands of emerging tech. Further, we want to be a part of the community that shifts bitcoin’s public perception away from use for nefarious deeds.

Bitcoin has been on my radar for a long while, and it was exciting to see it emerge on the international stage in 2012. There’s something delightfully old-world about a digital currency that acts – at least in part – like cash. To me, bitcoin is a store of value, pure and simple. I like to think of it as having a little pot of gold hiding inside my computer. I’m also excited by the ideas that serve as the foundation for this currency, and the way it makes one think about principles of value and money.

There is a misconception, drawn from the same fear of sites like the Silk Road (which, to my eye, was a good deal more useful than its public reputation suggests), that bitcoin is an untraceable, unethical currency – one destined for the back-alley deals of 21st century criminal enterprise. Certainly, it can and has been used towards those ends. And yes, it is more anonymous than using a credit card. But it is an innovation – and in my mind innovations shouldn’t be judged by the actions the worst of us would carry out with them.

All to say, bitcoin is modern and high tech, and we are a fast-moving, forward thinking startup. This is a match made in heaven. We want to explore the bitcoin option and allow our customers to make use of this exciting new medium of exchange. It’s a learning experience for us, to be sure, but we are excited to take it on.

Use bitcoin or any other currency to order a Hammerhead here.

All the best,

Raveen

Mid Campaign – 10 October

17 Oct

This past few weeks has been a real whirlwind on our end. We have been busy with everything from prototyping to press interviews and even filmed more footage of Hammerhead in action that is included in the new video! Your support has been tremendous! We are looking forward to digging into the production process and can’t wait to ship you our revolutionary product. We have just added a bulk order option due to the overwhelming interest from retailers and distributors. We are excited about the remaining campaign days and look forward to a strong closing!

Spread the word & get your friends to back the future of bike navigation!

Piet, Laurence & Raveen

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