(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 10--The Portland State University Business Accelerator, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, said Monday that it's adding mentorship for hardware companies to help them learn how to design and manufacture their products, and to build a supply chain for production.
The startup incubator will partner with RelianceCM, a Corvallis-based contract manufacturing lab known until recently as Mega Tech.
The Business Accelerator said close to a half-dozen of its 30 current participants could take advantage of the new program, which will help young companies break into wearable computing and other emerging technologies.
Possible beneficiaries of the accelerator's new partnership include a startup called Smart Mocha, whose technology affixes monitoring technology to everyday appliances to make them "smart;" and APDM, which already makes wearable sensors for health and fitness.
A business partner like Reliance is key for younger hardware companies, according to APDM's Andrew Greenberg, who said he plans to take advantage of the business accelerator's new relationship for design help for APDM's next generation of technology.
"But, their real value is in the guidance to get from back-of-the-napkin to product, especially for those who have never done hardware manufacturing before," he said.
A software company that suffers a setback mainly wastes time. A hardware company loses that, Greenberg said, plus tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the manufacturing process.
"It's easy to fail with real devices in the real world," he said.
-- Mike Rogoway; twitter: @rogoway; phone: 503-294-7699
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