Consumer electronics startups are the new frontier for entrepreneurs. Once thought to be an expensive business skewed in favor of large companies with nearly unlimited access to capital, the business is attracting entrepreneurs who think small and move quickly. And they're changing the consumer electronics landscape. In some cases, these gadget startups have led to multimillion-dollar paydays for these hardware entrepreneurs.
An example of this are two business partners James Park and his Eric Friedman. Both created a fitness gadget called Fitbit that would be part pedometer, part wellness tracker. They started with a great idea and wanted to build the next big thing in the gadgets business. The fitness junkies were tossing ideas around a gadget that would track not just physical activities but could also log sleep patterns. In effect, they wanted device that would produce a complete picture of a user's physical well being. And just like that, they decided to build one. The company hopes to start shipping its $100 devices this summer.
Park and Friedman knew the odds were stacked against them as they pitched a gadget company. But they were counting on a new kind of strategy. Instead of asking for millions, they would start low.
Next step in their plan was finding an industrial designer to take their idea and turn it into a package.
Within two weeks sketches were drawn for Fitbit. In four months, they had the final renderings. Next would be the contract manufacturers to create the prototypes. Once the first few prototypes were in hand, Fibit has started wooing some retail buyers. If Fitbit's founders can get their product out to market, they hope to leverage the worldwide community of gadget blogs and online forums to carry it forward. Hardware-obsessed gadget heads offer powerful word-of-mouth marketing and they can turn unknown products into mainstream hits inexpensively; Or if these two build a good business with strong cash flows, there are enough big companies out there that could be interested in acquiring this companies new technology. Either way these entrepreneurs are looking forward to a bright future in gadgets.