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

Alexandra Zatarain

Alexandra Zatarain

Co-founder – Eight Sleep, Y Combinator Alum
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 followi...read more

$350 / 30 mins

Available on Friday

Bryan Wilcox

Bryan Wilcox

Co-founder & CTO – Tovala, Y Combinator Alum
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,...read more

$125 / 30 mins

Available tomorrow

Panos Papadiamantis

Panos Papadiamantis

Co-founder & CPO – PNOĒ, Hardware & Medtech Expert
Y Combinator

Panos Papadiamantis is the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of PNOĒ, a medical equipment manufacturing which enables health professionals to provide science-backed nutrition and training through breath analysis. PNOĒ has raised over $10M in venture capital from Y Combinator, Fifty Year...read more

$125 / 30 mins

Available tomorrow

Charlie Depman

Charlie Depman

Co-founder & CTO – RidePanda, Mobility 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 e...read more

$100 / 30 mins

Available tomorrow

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 Laure...read more

$350 / 30 mins

Available on Thursday

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