Taking hardware from concept to commercialisation

A program designed by hardware innovators for hardware innovators

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What is Elevate

Taking Hardware from concept to commercialization

Creating a hardware startup is easier than ever. The democratisation of hardware has made hardware accessible to non-technical people. Yet, scaling remains the single biggest challenge facing hardware startups and SMEs. Moving from design to mass production remains very challenging.

ELEVATE is an innovation education series, created by Western BACE and HardworX, funded by LaunchVic that consists of meetups, masterclasses, bootcamps and 1-1 expert support.

Elevate supports Victorian Founders who have a desire to design, create, bring to market and mass manufacture a hardware product. This is not business or growth coaching, but rather mentoring with a technical focus. It will help startups with hardware product development, including anticipating the risks of scaling up, establishing manufacturing and their supply chain, and reducing execution risk.

ELEVATE is not an Accelerator Program or Incubator.

ELEVATE is delivered as a not-for-profit, community-driven program with content created by hardware innovators experienced with the unique challenges of scaling a hardware company post prototyping and proof of concept stages.

Program Overview

Events Schedule

Past Events

Meetups

Meetup #1 – Panel: Challenges of scaling a hardware business

A candid conversation on why building a hardware-based product business is hard. Some of the topics discussed included the unique challenge in scaling hardware business vs software business, how being an industry disruptor impacts hardware product development and how to go about designing and manufacturing right here in Melbourne.
Speakers:

Meetup #2 – Q&A with Grant Petty of Blackmagic Design

A conversation with Grant Petty, founder and CEO of Blackmagic Design, one of the world’s leading innovators of creative video tech. Grant spoke about design and problem solving, manufacturing world-leading hardware, industrial design, interface design, manufacturing and marketing.

Meetup #3 – Panel: Engaging with manufacturers

Turning an idea into a scalable, commercial product is a challenge that many entrepreneurs, innovators and SMEs face. Developing a new product is always hard, but is especially so for hardware products where manufacturing partnerships and supply chain impact overall time to market, product cost and quality. Leading Melbourne-based manufacturers Planet Innovation and Dolphin Products shared their perspectives on how to engage early and effectively with manufacturers, tips on how to best navigate the design to manufacture journey and avoid common pitfalls.
Speakers:

Masterclasses

Masterclass #1 – How does a prototype become a product

Developing hardware products (electronics, mechanical, software) has challenges and complexities that don’t apply to other types of products. This masterclass covered the development process for hardware products, including details about each development stage, and how to maximise outcomes as well as reduce risks and costs.
Presenters:

Masterclass #2 – Faster, cheaper, better – Managing trade-offs

Product development is a constant trade-off between quality cost and time. In the early stages, it’s about failing fast so the focus is on low-quality production at high speed. At the later stages, reputation and revenue risk require a focus on high quality at the cost of speed. This masterclass focused on understanding the trade-offs when balancing quality, cost and speed, and the challenges this presents for hardware innovators.
Presenters:

Masterclass #3 – IP Protection for hardware startups

When it comes to intellectual property protection, the more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to get the maximum value out of what you’ve created. Specifically designed for hardware innovators, this masterclass provided essential knowledge, insights and practical advice that hardware innovators could action straight away in bringing their hardware product to market.
Presenters:

Masterclass #4 – Scaling up successfully

Going from startup to scale-up can get complicated very quickly. As volume ramps up, the capabilities of your supply chain are tested, quality issues become costly, and cash flow management is critical. This masterclass, specifically designed for hardware innovators facing these challenges, focused on mitigate risk by providing practical advice to successfully navigate the transition from startup to scale up.
Presenters:

Bootcamps

Bootcamp #1 – Manufacturing and supply chain strategies for hardware

Turning an idea into a scalable, commercial product is a challenge that many entrepreneurs, innovators and SMEs face. Developing a new product is always difficult. For hardware products, it’s especially challenging as manufacturing partnerships and supply chain play a vital part in the overall time to market, cost, and quality of the product. Whether manufacturing in house or outsourcing, using local or international manufacturers, this bootcamp focused on arming participants with the knowledge and tools to make the best decisions for their startup and product. Practical, hands-on with lots of tools, templates and resources this bootcamp covered four main themes: developing a manufacturing strategy, the supplier selection process, preparing a request for quote pack and quality control for mass production.
Lead Faciliator & Presenter:
Guest Industry Speakers:

1:1 Mentoring by Hardware Experts

An opportunity for founders to receive free one-on-one mentoring from hardware experts about anything related to bringing a hardware product to market. Experts will be matched based on how well they can address the pain points of the startup to ensure that high value, impactful mentoring occurs.


Why is this mentoring initiative different to other office hours/Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) offerings?
Our pool of mentors are hardware experts experienced with the unique challenges of scaling a hardware company post prototyping and proof of concept stages. This is not business or growth coaching, but rather mentoring with a technical focus. It will help startups with hardware product development, including anticipating the risks of scaling up, establishing manufacturing and their supply chain, and reducing execution risk. ELEVATE is not an Accelerator Program or Incubator.


What kind of startups and SMEs are we looking for?
We are looking for startups developing a physical hardware product, consisting of electronics and mechanicals, who are beyond the proof of concept stage / early prototyping stage.

Applications will first be screened for eligibility. ELEVATE is supported by LaunchVic funding, as such, first preference will be given to participants who are based in Victoria, but we do encourage those based in other states to apply. We will then evaluate applications based on the product and the challenges/pain points for which mentoring is being sought. Additionally, depending on the type of product and where the applicant is in the product development journey, we may look for evidence that there are potential customers for this product.


Cost
There is no cost to startups to access the ELEVATE Expert In Residence program. ELEVATE is delivered as a not-for-profit, community-driven program. We do not take equity or ownership of IP.


Who are the hardware experts?
The resident hardware expert for ELEVATE is Vela Georgiev from HardworX. In addition to Vela herself being available for one on one mentoring, part of HardworX’s role within ELEVATE is content curation, including sourcing of hardware experts. We have a pool of hardware experts in our network, previous ELEVATE events have featured experts from Blackmagic Design, LIFX, Outerspace Design, Tekt Industries and Pini IP; and will select experts based on how well they can address the pain points of the startup to ensure that high value, impactful mentoring occurs.


Logistics
Mentoring will be delivered one-on-one either via face to face sessions or via phone/video conference. There may be potential for mentoring to be conducted on-site at the startup premise.

Our Team

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A community driven business hub where people matter, feel a sense of belonging and are supported in striving for growth and excellence.

www.westernbace.com

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Demystifying manufacturing and the hardware supply chain to help startups and SMEs scale successfully and sustainably.

www.innovate.hardworx.io

Register your Interest

Full name*

Phone number*

Postcode of residence*

Email*

Gender*

Are you an entrepreneur working in a hardware startup?

YesNo

If no, what is your occupation?

Your company name
(your startup or employer business name)

What is your primary involvement with hardware?

How would you rate your knowledge of hardware product design processes

How would you rate your knowledge of hardware manufacturing processes

How would you rate your knowledge of supply chain management

Which of these best describes your current hardware development phase?