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Hardware is Making a Comeback


HardwareCon is Coming to San Jose and the takeaway is: Hardware is Making a Comeback

Greg Fisher, founder, HardwareCon, co-founder and CEO, Berkeley Sourcing Group

Greg Fisher has spent his career working in hardware. As the Co-Founder and CEO of Berkeley Sourcing Group, Greg has consulted with more than 900 hardware startups to develop market-ready products and achieve scale. When Greg started in the business a handful of big companies controlled the industry. “I’ve seen the industry go from one that was dominated by large, established companies to the burgeoning hardware revolution that has already brought thousands of startup products to market.” After thirteen years of working in the hardware industry, Greg is more bullish than ever.

After Fisher launched Berkeley Sourcing Group, he noticed that something was missing. There was a need for more excitement and to bring people together from the hardware industry to one singular forum. Four years ago he launched HardwareCon, which has grown each year since its inception. After last year’s event, it became clear to Fisher that to keep growing, HardwareCon was going to need a bigger venue. That’s when someone in his network suggested he look toward San José.

“Hosting this year’s event in San José gives us the opportunity to take HardwareCon to the next level. The San José Convention Center provides the right capacity, and the central location helps us pull from all over the Bay Area. Having all the hotels and the airport nearby is a bonus.”

This year’s HardwareCon—taking place April 19 and 20 at the McEnery Convention Center—is focused on highlighting some of the latest technologies and business trends in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, IoT, and appropriately for 2018—blockchain. This year’s keynote speaker is someone who Fisher refers to as one of the “godfathers” of Silicon Valley’s hardware scene: Allan Alcorn, founding engineer of Atari and inventor of the world’s first popular video game, Pong. He was also Steve Job’s last boss.

While there is a lot of buzz about exciting new technologies and industry trends, this year’s HardwareCon has a slightly clouded backdrop: 2017 was a year that many promising hardware startups shuttered their doors. Fisher has a theory for what happened and where the industry is moving. “I believe we’ve entered what I call a ‘slope of enlightenment.’ The prior model for launching a business is broken, and people are realizing that it’s almost impossible for startups to learn all the aspects of a hardware startup business while simultaneously developing and launching an innovative technology in the two-to-three-year window of opportunity.”

With only three percent of hardware startups seeing successful exits, Fisher believes the path forward for successful hardware innovations will come from startups that create business models with value-driven solutions (i.e. solve real problems instead of adding complexity). To do this, hardware startups will need to pick the right partners to take their ideas to market.

“At this year’s HardwareCon, we’re bringing together the world’s thought leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and key decision makers across the hardware ecosystem to ‘Get Deals Done’—our theme of the year,” says Fisher. The event will also do a deep dive into the Internet of Things with an IoT Summit presented by Parks Associates that will focus on the development, design, and monetization of consumer products.

HardwareCon 2018 joins a great list of major technology conferences happening in San José, including Apple’s WWDC, Facebook’s F8, and Nvidia’s GTC. To purchase tickets or get more information about this exciting event, please visit HardwareCon’s website.