Tag Archives: New York Times

3D Printing, Hardware Startups, and Hacks Invade Silicon Valley

Nest Thermostat 3D Printing Hacks

Is hardware making a comeback in Silicon Valley? It seems that way with hardware startups from Y Combinator, projects from Kickstarter, and legendary designers creating new devices like Tony Fadell at Nest.

Part of the formula for success in software has been rapid prototyping. Developers could build something quickly, test it with users and either iterate or abandon the feature. Now this is happening in hardware thanks to 3D printing.

The New York Times featured this growing trend of hardware startups and hacks.

“Something that once took three months to make now takes less than a month,” explained Andre Yousefi, co-founder of Lime Lab, a product development firm based in San Francisco that works with start-ups to create hardware products. “With 3D printers, you can now create almost disposable prototypes,” he said. “You queue it up at night, pick it up in the morning and can throw it away by 11 a.m.”

The rapidly falling cost of building computer-based gadgets has touched off a wave of innovation that is starting to eclipse the software-driven world that came to dominate the Valley in the dot-com boom of the late 1990s.

“If we look hard over the last 10 or 15 years, people don’t realize how different the world is now compared to 1996,” said Sean O’Sullivan, a venture capitalist who splits his time between the United States, Ireland and China. “Products like the iPhone have driven down the cost of components. You can now easily make connected devices that transform lives in the way we have only been able to do with software before.”


Read more at the New York Times.

Nest thermostat photo by Nest used under Creative Commons license.

Analyzing Funding Goals of 3D Printing Kickstarter Projects [Data]

3D Printing Kickstarter Projects

Why do some Kickstarter projects achieve their funding goals while others are unsuccessful?

The New York Times recently published an analysis of three years of Kickstarter projects.

Almost 50,000 projects have sought financing on Kickstarter since the site began on April 28, 2009. About half successfully reached their fund-raising goals.

We decided to run our own analysis of 3D printing Kickstarter projects. Here is what we found:

  • Of the 13 projects since October 2009, only 6 have successfully reached their funding goals, or 46%
  • The average funding goal of a successful project is $3,842 and the average funds raised is $11,039, or 287%
  • The average funding goal of an unsuccessful project is $16,874 and the average funds raised is $1,105, or 7%
  • The average number of backers for a successful project is 55 with each backer pledging $164
  • The average number of backers for an unsuccessful project is 21 with each backer pledging only $38
  • There was no geographic concentration of successful projects

Based on this analysis, we are seeing that unsuccessful projects are asking for too much money and also not finding enough individual backers to support their idea. Sometimes this is due to the production quality of the pitch, but overall it seems that crowdfunding backers are not ready to embrace 3D printing projects.

For example, PotteryPrint was an iPad app concept to teach kids about 3D printing. They raised $6,000 of their $12,000 funding goal. Another example on IndieGoGo is Anarkik3D, which has only raised $3,050 of its $120,000 funding goal with 55 days to go. Both of these projects have good ideas and great production quality, but have set targets above the average successful funding level of $3,842.

Below are some charts of our analysis and the raw data.

3D Printing Kickstarter Projects Funding Raised vs Goal

3D Printing Kickstarter Projects Funding by Location

3D Printing Kickstarter Projects Funding by Location



Kickstarter bookshelf photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid used under a Creative Commons license.