On Monday I went along to Hardware Startups Soho Showcase. There were some great start ups showing their stuff, including Sam Labs and Mogees. It was interesting to have a chance to play with some of these things, as that can really bring them to life. I got a chance to talk to the guys from Sam Labs about their kickstarter which is currently running.
To date I’d sort of thought of Sam Labs product as quite close to littleBits. I think I can be forgiven for that. However, having had a chance to talk to them and to try out the hardware for myself, albeit briefly, I could see how Sam is different as (to use their words) Sam has code at its heart and littleBits has hardware at its heart. You could probably argue this a bit, but essentially that’s accurate enough.
It was interesting to play with the modules and see how the drag and drop style code is used to change how each module works with the other. It makes me quite tempted to jump in on this campaign.
It was also great to see Mogees there showing their stuff, and really good to catch up with them, as it’s been a while since we worked together at our SoundLab BOC event on the Southbank.
But the most useful thing was the Q&A panel where founders from a wide range of start ups answered questions and told their stories. But there was one person on the panel who wasn’t from a start up, but was from Indiegogo. She talked a lot about what they look for in hardware start ups and the kinds of problems they encountered.
So I thought I’d take the opportunity of talking to Indiegogo about the problems that app developers face when trying to crowdfund projects. I’d hoped that Indiegogo would want to engage and find a creative way around the problem. I couldn’t have been more wrong though. Essentially I just got fobbed off with some rather pathetic comments about how campaigns needed to tell a compelling story. Nothing actually useful at all. As far as I’m concerned Indiegogo have lost a big opportunity and crowdfunding is still a problem for app developers.
Anyway, enough of that disappointment. One good thing that happened was that I met Tom Whitwell who used to run the excellent blog “Music Thing” and now runs Music Thing Modular amongst other things, and was a great help and support in the early days of Palm Sounds. It was really good to chat to him after many years.
These kinds of events are all about the networking and getting to see things for real, which is incredibly useful and important. I think that Hardware Startup Lab are hoping to do more, and if they do I’m certainly going to try and go along.