Program Details

Sydney Hardware Incubator’s pre-seed accelerator program is all about how to create a successful startup through developing an innovative product. It breaks down the necessary processes into an integrated, comprehensive framework that any hard-working person can learn and apply.

 

This 14 week part time program will show you how to segment your market, design and build your product, find and attract the right customers, attract the right partners, utilise support tools to streamline your operations and methods on how to scale to your business.

 

You will learn who is your customer, what can you do for your customer, how does your customer acquire your product, how do you make money off your product, how do you design & build your product and how do you scale your business.

 

The program will help you to

WEEK 1: Hardware Startup Landscape

At the start of the program we discover the state of the market for hardware startups, dividing it into four main product categories: connected devices, wearables and personal sensors, robotics, and designed products. It briefly examines the forces that have led to the recent growth of the ecosystem, including the history of the maker movement.

Week 2: Idea Validation and Community Engagement

This week begins by emphasising the importance of validating the idea through conversations with distinct groups of people who will be critical to your success. Then intro to community building and customer development, discussing the different relationships that founders will form to help them along the path to building a company. These include the relationship between co founders, how to choose advisors, and how to reach potential early adopters  

Week 3: Knowing Your Market

This week we cover techniques for market, consumer, and competitive-landscape research. It aims to help founders better understand where your products fit into a market ecosystem, which is important for idea validation, early brand positioning, and future fundraising. It also works through the basics of customer development interviews with an eye toward lean product development

Week 4: Branding

Introduction to brand development for hardware startups which covers the basics of brand marketing including brand identity, mission, and personality and the development of brand assets. This will help you the founder to craft your company’s cohesive brand identity, which is a critical component of success for any physical product.

Week 5: Product Design

Main objective this week of product design  is to create a good or service with excellent functional utility and sales appeal at an acceptable cost and within a reasonable time. The product should be produced using high-quality, low-cost materials and methods. We learn the process of imagining, creating, and iterating products that solve users' problems or address specific needs in a given market. The key to successful product design is an understanding of the end-user customer, the person for whom the product is being created.  

Week 6: Prototyping

Main goal for this week is to guide you for getting from design to physical things, which include types of prototypes (including works-like and looks-like prototyping), building your engineering and design team, outsourcing versus insourcing, chip selection, software, and some common terminology specific to the hardware space.

Week 7: Manufacturing

We discuss the common processes and pitfalls startups face when moving to manufacturing. It covers when and how to choose a factory and supply chain, where to manufacture, testing and certification, and packaging.

Week 8: Mentor Review

Mentor Review is the major test in the program. In this session, Founders will focus on giving a presentation of their progress and traction to a panel of Mentors/ investors for a detailed review. Mentors will evaluate based on your progress in the program, the company’s scalability, and more.

Week 9: Regulatory

All hardware products require some kind of certification to be sold. It’s one of the most overlooked steps in the very early stages of bringing hardware products to the market. It’s not uncommon to plan the early phases of the project with certification and other approval as a milestone. You will learn the steps to analyse regulations, dependencies, and product-plan strategic decision gateways in a more waterfall-like approach.

Week 10: Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding platforms have made a dramatic impact on the ability of hardware-startup founders to take an idea to market. This week we cover best practices for running a crowdfunding campaign from start to finish: choosing perks, developing a pricing strategy, driving traffic, building community, and more.

Week 11: Fundraising

We cover how to navigate the fundraising ecosystem. We also examine the players who control capital—including angels, venture capitalists, and strategic investors—and the pros and cons of taking funding from each. It provides guidance on the strategies most likely to result in a successful fundraising, including when and how to reach out, how to create an ideal pitch deck, and how to structure a round.

Week 12: Go to Market

This week begins with a survey of business models and pricing strategies. Introduction to logistics and fulfillment best practices and evaluates distribution channels, with special attention paid to margin and marketing considerations. You also learn the metrics that matter when evaluating the growth of a business. The emphasis throughout is on helping founders make the transition from product to company.

Week 13: Legal

Hardware-startup founders face unique legal considerations when building their products. They must navigate potential intellectual property issues, liability concerns, certifications, regulations, tariffs, supplier agreements, and more. This week we provide an overview of the pitfalls to watch out for and the type of legal support a founder will need at various stages of product development.

Week 14: Demo & Graduation

In this final session, you will celebrate with your peers, friends and family, as well as select Mentors. Some Founders will also pitch to a live audience, and you will officially onboard to all of the post-program resources and assistance the Sydney Hardware Incubator provides.

Acceptance Criteria

  • You should have a hardware component or aspect, but we love seeing innovative software behind the hardware as well.

  • You MUST have an idea of your product and you should have a narrative of the invention showing and telling how it works. (this could be a video, pictures or a 3D animation, flow charts, etc.)

  • We’re looking for great teams, and while experience is great, first time founders are also welcome as long as you can show your “unfair advantage” in your sector.

  • Priority will be given to the most "innovative", "disruptive", "unique", and "scalable" startups.

  • You have passion

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