Hardware, the Ugly Stepchild of Venture Capital, Is Having a Glamour Moment

The old saw in Silicon Valley is that venture capitalists won’t touch hardware investments. It’s not because they hate gadgets and machines, it’s that the cost to launch a hardware startup is much higher compared to the price to code a new piece of software. Not only do you have to build it, you’ve got to find the shelf space (virtual or otherwise) to sell it. All that adds up to a risk most investors don’t want to touch.

If you ask Jeremy Conrad, co-founder of hardware incubator Lemnos Labs, he’ll tell you that those notions are outdated. “Venture capitalists are starting to look at radically different companies than they used to because the cost to launch a hardware startup has gone down,” he says. Conrad hosted the Hardware 2.0 conference in San Francisco, where investors, startup founders, and others in the hardware space challenged the notion that hardware startups are impossible to fund.

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