A Conversation on Hard Tech with Eric Migicovsky

YC Partner Adora Cheung talks to Pebble founder and YC Partner Eric Migicovsky about hard tech.

Learn more at https://startupschool.org

Chapters (Powered by https://bit.ly/chapterme-yc) –
00:00:00 Introduction
00:00:37 How did you end up with the name Pebble?
00:01:52 Quick story of when you came to YC? How big were you? What did you do in YC?
00:03:29 So $15,000 thousand dollars let you manufacture, was it the first 100 units?
00:05:38 How many units had you sold before you actually went through the entire manufacturing process? 700 to 800 units
00:05:58 What happens if I have to move my business to Mountain View? Its gonna interrupt my production process
00:06:44 Hardest part in the whole journey with Pebble?
00:08:28 But now that you’ve done it do you think it’s possible now?
00:10:50 It’s often people get really creative with no money but forget once raised money
00:12:14 Advise on right time to do crowdfunding campaign, is a real product required and should it align with the campaign?
00:16:00 In the first route, delivery of product within six months is unknown. Should I use crowdfunding platform only if I know I can deliver?
00:16:53 Sometimes there’s a group (Facebook, Subreddits) before the early adopters on Kickstarter
00:17:27 What’s the right call in terms of outsourcing the various components?
00:19:46 Belief in “hardware without software (subscription instead of one off)” and thoughts on people who say that?
00:23:11 How do you define hard tech, deep tech? What does that really involve?
00:24:35 Crazy rocket idea but have no money, where do I even start? What do I do?
00:24:53 What will be an MVP in this case?
00:26:51 What do you encourage startups accomplish by demo day?
00:27:45 Sales and talking to users gives more confidence that your on the right track
00:29:58 Advice to scientist in Ph.Ds. at school who want to make the jump and commercialize their product. What should they consider?
00:32:15 Users interested in your product but need lot of money. What do you need to show to investors?
00:33:59 What’s an idea that sounded so crazy when you heard but when you met the founder you were like this is totally possible?
00:37:17 Q1 – How do you get your first customers? How do you get 1-50?
00:39:40 Q2 – Bunch of software engineers, we have an idea that includes software and hardware, how do we get started on the hardware?
00:42:55 Q3 – Pre product market fit, do you recommend move closer to suppliers?
00:44:12 Q4 – Do we have to protect (IP/Trademark) our products or how can we protect?
00:47:02 Q5 – Building Hard-Tech and solving a long term problem but first problem looks too small? Marginal markets are great
00:48:58 Q6 – Should I pick a recurring business model or just sell the product?
00:50:48 Q7 – How do you do hiring, especially when you’re scaling?
00:54:23 Q8 – For some project problems, they can be solved exclusively by software, how do you know when to involve hardware in it?
00:56:05 Q9 – How do we demo really complex product or how do we convey it to people?
00:57:21 Q10 – Why hardware companies need financing?

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