Consumer Products

Get 1:1 advice from founders and operators of top hardware startups.

Alexandra Zatarain

Alexandra Zatarain

VP of Branding - Eight Sleep
Consumer Product Expert

Eight Sleep
Y Combinator

Alexandra Zatarain is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand and Marketing at Eight Sleep, the world's first sleep fitness company. Eight Sleep solves sleep's most pressing issues through innovation and cutting-edge technology. The Pod, its best-selling product, has a cult-like following among business leaders, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and professional athletes. Among many others, the Pod is the preferred sleep accessory of CrossFit 2021 and 2022 champion Justin Medeiros and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team. The company has raised $160 million from investors such as General Catalyst, 8VC, Founders Fund, Craft Ventures, and Khosla Ventures among others. Alexandra was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 list in Consumer Tech in 2017, and to Inc.'s Top 100 Female Founder's list in 2020.

Raised $160m+
Forbes 30 Under 30
Formula 1
Inc. Top 100
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David Laubner

David Laubner

Ex-Head of Growth - Amazon
Growth Marketing Expert


David Laubner has a 20-year track record of driving business growth and leading brand strategies at companies from startups like Blink to large corporations like Amazon, Dassault, and Fuze. Talk to David about things like: Idea validation, business model, pricing models, market & sales channels, GTM & product launch program, marketing campaigns, ideas and budgeting, promotion ideas, marketing tech stack, management organization, growth Marketing, bootsrapping, and e-commerce.

Dassault Systèmes
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Bryan Wilcox

Bryan Wilcox

Co-Founder & CTO - Tovala
Hardware Expert

Y Combinator

Bryan Wilcox is a co-founder and the former CTO of Tovala, a food-tech company that saves people time with a smart oven and paired meal service. Tovala has raised $70M in venture funding from Y Combinator, Comcast Ventures, Interplay, Origin Ventures and Left Lane Capital. Prior to Tovala, Bryan worked with GE, John Deere, and Whirlpool before earning his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois. Bryan founded 2 other companies, including The Product Manufactory, where he still consults on product development. He advises startup founders on business leadership, company culture, and developing great technology products.

Raised $70 m+ in funding
Building hardware
Y Combinator alum
PhD Mechanical Engineering
Product-driven growth
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Charlie Depman

Charlie Depman

Co-Founder & CTO - RidePanda
Climate Tech Expert

Ride Panda
General Catalyst

Charlie Depman is the co-founder and CTO of Ridepanda, a climate-tech mobility benefits platform that helps employers like Amazon reduce Scope 3 CO2 emissions, meet clean air mandates, offer their employees flexible commute options, reduce costs, and retain talent. He has over 8 years of experience in the mobility and sustainability space as an engineer, having pioneered some of the world's most cutting-edge mobility technologies at Bird, Scoot Networks, and now Ridepanda, which has raised venture capital from Porche Ventures, Yahama Motor Ventures, and General Catalyst. Charlie has extensive experience establishing technical infrastructure for startups, leading product development, and working with hardware-focused tech.

General Catalyst
Porsche Ventures
Green mobility
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Lauren Gallo

Lauren Gallo

Brand Marketing - Nike
Branding Expert


Lauren Gallo is an award-winning, industry-leading marketing executive with expertise in global brand marketing and creative development. She has grown, defined and redefined some of the world’s most iconic brands, from Soho House to Apple to Snapchat to Nike. A proven leader, one of Lauren’s greatest skills—and greatest professional joys—is building and guiding high-performing, complex, multi-discipline teams. As a Forbes 30 under 30 Marketing & Advertising honoree, Ad Age 40 Under 40 and AdWeek Executive Mentor, Lauren is looked to as an industry thought leader.

AdAge 40 Under 40
Soho House
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Mercedes Bankston

Mercedes Bankston

Director - The Founder Institute
Business Development Expert

The Founder Institute
Loyal VC

Mercedes Bankston a LinkedIn Top Voice and a dynamic leader serving as Director at the Founder Institute, the world's premier idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program. In this role, she has helped over 1000 start-ups launch, raise capital, and exit. Mercedes is instrumental in helping participants refine their ideas, build strong teams, secure initial customers, and raise the necessary funding. Under her guidance, Founder Institute maintains an impressive portfolio valued at an estimated $20 Billion, a 80% graduate survival rate after five years, and has successfully launched over 3500 companies.

The Founder Institute
Loyal VC
McGraw Hill
NEC Corporation
Funderstar LTD
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Fredrik Syversen

Fredrik Syversen

Sales Consultant - Vinnsikt
Field Sales Expert


Fredrik Syversen is a renowned leadership and performance coach, with a proven track record of creating demonstrable results for both startups and global companies. His focus is on actionable sales and leadership training for both B2C and B2B clients. Fredrik is also a renowned public speaker and is frequently engaged by some of the top B2C businesses in the Nordic region for leadership training and motivational talks. His clients and experience include Falck Alarm, the Varner Group, and NextGentel to name a few.

Field sales
Sales leadership
Sales coaching
Sales strategy
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Tobias Bengtsdahl

Tobias Bengtsdahl

Founder -
Growth Expert

Tobias is a sales-focused founder who launched and localized, an app for personalized video messages from celebrities, in 15+ markets. During his time with memmo, Tobias helped creators earn millions and reached $10m+ in revenue in year 2. He recruited 150+ employees in the first 20 months and experienced hypergrowth firsthand. During his time with memmo, he raised $25m in funding from top tier investors like FJ Labs and Left Lane Capital. Tobias started his career as an Account Executive and held various sales and operations leadership roles before launching his own company. He uses these learnings to work with fast scaling direct-to-consumer growth leaders – supercharging and scaling their sales and operations.

Scaled to $10m+ revenue
Built 150+ person team
Sales & operations
Recruiting for growth
Consumer sales
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What Does a Hardware Mentor Do?

A hardware mentor is someone who has mastered the hardware ecosystem through earned experience with their own hardware company. These industry experts can provide invaluable advice to new hardware founders, helping them navigate the many challenges unique to the hardware industry.

What Is a Hardware Startup?

A hardware startup is a company that focuses on developing and manufacturing physical electronic devices (like consumer electronics or industrial equipment). These startups sometimes serve consumer needs but also frequently operate in sectors where tech innovation intersects with physical manufacturing processes.

How Do You Start a Hardware Startup?

Starting a hardware startup involves several key steps, which a hardware startup advisor can help you navigate. 

Once you have a hardware product to sell, you’ll need to establish a comprehensive supply chain management system in order to source the necessary components for manufacturing. You’ll also need to account for regulatory standards and required hardware certifications in whichever markets your startup is targeting.

Y Combinator for Hardware Startups

One of the best resources for anyone who wants to launch a hardware startup is Y Combinator. YC is a renowned startup accelerator program that has supported numerous early-stage startups by providing mentorship and access to a robust founder network.

What Hardware Startups Are in Y Combinator?

Y Combinator has invested in countless successful hardware startups, including Flock Safety, Fight Camp, Eight Sleep, Athelas, and Matterport.

By participating in Y Combinator, hardware startups can gain access to a vast network of experienced mentors and potential investors and gain a significant head start.

How Long Does it Take to Make a Hardware Product?

The timeline for developing a hardware product can vary widely. For most founders, it takes anywhere from a few months to a few years to bring a hardware product from conception to market. In general, hardware startups should anticipate a longer development cycle than software startups, mainly due to the complexity of physical manufacturing processes.

The product development timeline typically includes:

1. R&D (Research and Development)

During this stage, you’ll conduct extensive research to align your ideas with market needs and develop a clear direction for your hardware product.

2. Hardware design

The next step will involve designing your hardware device itself, including:

3. Prototyping

Once you have a solid design in place, you’ll create the first physical, functional version of the product — this version won’t look pretty, but it will allow you to start collecting real data you can use to make improvements.

4. Testing

You’ll need to continue testing your prototype and making iterative adjustments to the design until you feel confident in your product’s ability to meet the typical customer’s expectations.

5. Manufacturing 

Once you have a product to sell, the mass production process begins. Mass production involves tasks like:

What Can a Hardware Mentor Do for You?

A seasoned hardware mentor can provide critical guidance for hardware startup founders throughout every part of their entrepreneurial journey. Here are some examples:

A hardware startup expert from Mentorcam can play a vital role in the success of early-stage hardware startups. Equipped with the knowledge and experience of a hardware mentor, founders can navigate the complex landscape of the hardware industry more effectively, increasing their chances of building a thriving hardware business.

Related areas of interest: Growth Marketing, Branding, Sales