shutterstock-247978639
Manufacturing and Process Management

Why hardware startups are difficult and how 3D printing could help

Being a startup is hard. Multiple surveys suggest well over half of startups fail within their first decade. But being in a hardware startup is even harder.

On top of the usual difficulties associated with startup life – identifting a problem/solution, building a product, finding a market etc. – there are the extra difficulties in manufacturing and shipping. Big names such as Jawbone, Juicero, and Pebble have all folded in recent years, while crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are littered with hardware companies that raised millions of dollars more than they asked for but still failed to ship a product.

One answer to the cost and challenges of manufacturing, especially for fledging companies, is 3D printing. Local, on-demand manufacturing allows for speedier delivery of product, rapid iteration of products, and reduced costs around shipping and storage, as well as simpler manufacturing processes.

The 3D printing industry, which includes machines, materials and printing services, is predicted to grow to $21 billion by 2020, according to a report by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the United Parcel Service (UPS). There are over 700 3D printing startups, according to AngelList, as well as larger incumbents such as HP, Autodesk, Makerbot, and 3D Systems. 3D printing startups & services last year raised over $400 million across more than 70 deals, according to CB Insights.

According to the latest ‘State of 3D Printing Report’ from 3D printing services provider Sculpteo, the average budget companies allocate for 3D printing averaged $9,50 in 2017, compared to $6,000 in 2016 and $3,700 in 2015. Prototyping and Proof of Concept are the main current applications, while companies claimed future applications include accelerating product development (28%) and offering more customized products to customers. Users of 3D printers and services cite cost reduction, reduced batch requirements, and reduced production complexity as the main benefits they see.

To continue reading...


PREVIOUS ARTICLE

« C-suite talk fav tech: Noelia Amoedo, Mediasmart Mobile

NEXT ARTICLE

The CMO Files: Helen Tanner, Chainium »
author_image
Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

  • twt
  • twt
  • twt
  • Mail

Recommended for You

International Women's Day: We've come a long way, but there's still an awfully long way to go

Charlotte Trueman takes a diverse look at today’s tech landscape.

Trump's trade war and the FANG bubble: Good news for Latin America?

Lewis Page gets down to business across global tech

20 Red-Hot, Pre-IPO companies to watch in 2019 B2B tech - Part 1

Martin Veitch's inside track on today’s tech trends

Poll

Do you think your smartphone is making you a workaholic?