Lowering regulatory barriers for startups in exchange for access to data?


Nick Grossmann posted this very interesting piece: “Here’s the solution to the Uber and Airbnb problems — and no one will like it” that’s full of points worth discussing. I don’t want to butcher his arguments or put words in his mouth, so please do read it. It isn’t long, and worth the read. And while you’re at it, I also recommend skimming Kim-Mai Cutler’s piece (also linked from Nick’s post) “Uber, Airbnb And The Conflict Between Policy’s Ratchet Effect And Tech’s Accelerating Speed“.

These are just two articles that tackle one of the huge, intricate, complex issues of our days: How regulation can keep up with the speed and scale of tech companies; How we can harness this speed without giving up hardwon freedoms and societal benefits; and a ton of other related, much more nuanced questions.


Joining the Open Data Incubator Europe (ODINE) as an external reviewer


The Open Data Incubator Europe (ODINE) is an EU-funded program to help startups as well as small and medium enterprises build things (and businesses) with open data:

Startups that join the program receive up to EUR100K in funding as well as access to peer-networking, technology, datasets, mentorship, VC investors and media coverage.

I was kindly invited to join the ODINE evaluation committee as one of about 20 independent members to regularly review the applications.


Highway1 application for fall 2015 is now open


One of the most interesting hardware accelerators Highway1 is currently taking on new applications for the fall of 2015. So if you got a prototype and are looking to get your hardware startup going for real, this is for you.

This call for applications is explicitly open for companies founded outside the US, too – as an ambassador for Highway1, I’m happy to help and talk to you if you’re based in Europe (personally, I’m based in Berlin).

For a quick first glance at the program:

Highway1 is a full-spectrum, hands-on educational program that helps entrepreneurs realize their retail distribution dreams. In exchange for 4-7% equity, Highway1 offers $50,000 in cash in addition to the benefits of our prototyping labs, mentor network, location, and global connections.

It’s a program that caters specifically to early-stage companies building hardware for the long term.

It’s a great team you’d be working with, I highly recommend it.

You can find details on highway.io, or just straight to the application details here.

Joining the Highway1 Ambassador Program


Highway1 is one of the best hardware accelerators out there. Part of global producat development and supply chain PCH, Highway1 is focused on early seed stage hardware startups helping them develop their idea from prototype to manufacturable, scalable product.

I’m happy to announce that the good folks over at Highway1 kindly asked me to join as an ambassador alongside an great group of inspiring people. Needless to say, I’ll be keeping my eyes open primarily for European startups that might stand to profit from working with Highway1. It’s a great way to help hardware startups get faster from idea to market.

Full disclosure: Highway1 has in the past sponsored and otherwise supported events of mine, like ThingsCon.

Meet the Makers! Berlin hardware meet-up with Formlabs, SolidCon and the ThingsCon crew.


Under the ThingsCon umbrella, we’re organizing a quick impromptu meetup for the Berlin hardware scene.

A whole lot of good folks are in town so let’s meet up! Have a chat about your adventures in hardware with Luke of Formlabs, Jon Bruner of O’Reilly SolidCon, the ThingsCon team and Polymer, and give our guests a glimpse into Berlin’s emerging hardware and IoT ecosystem.

Details: Tuesday, 18 Nov Starting 20:00 (8pm) At Betahaus Café (Prinzessinenstr. 19/20, 10969 Berlin)

Kudos to Formlabs, who kindly agreed to buy us drinks.

Spread the word and sign up here!

Cross-posted from the ThingsCon blog.

New hardware companies from Germany


A quick snapshot of some of the more recently founded hardware and IoT startups. I’m just starting to collect these more formally to make it easier to keep an overview, so this list starts out very small and will grow over time. Please do send me pointers and I’ll try to update this list accordingly.

  • Bragi. Based in Munich. Europe’s most successful Kickstarter campaign. Wireless in-ear headphones for sports that also measure vital signs. bragi.com
  • Basslet. Based in Berlin. An audio-haptic bracelet that transmits bass through the wristbone to give the listener a more intense music listening experience. rescuedideas.com
  • Headwave. Berlin-based. A motorcycle helmet add-on that turns the helmet into a resonance body so the driver can listen to music while driving. headwave.de
  • Kiwi.ki. Berlin-based. Smart lock system for residential buildings. kiwi.ki
  • BeaconInside. Berlin-based. A solar-powered indoor Bluetooth Low Energy beacon for indoor location based services. beaconinside.com
  • Airfy. Beacon & public wifi for small businesses and cafés. airfy.com
  • Polymer. Web platform for hardware makers to connect and collaborate. joinpolymer.com
  • Relayr. IoT dev kit and sensor platform. relayr.io
  • Skysense. Charging pad for commercial drones. Berlin-based. skysense.de
  • TobyRich. Smartphone controlled gadgets and toys. Bremen. tobyrich.com

Hardware.co Demo Day 2014



Christoph Fahle kicking off hardware.co demo day.


Pitch #1: Feel The Beat, a wearable metronome for learning to play music.

This is what the current Feel The Beat prototype looks like:


Pitch #2: BeaconInside, a solar-powered indoor Bluetooth Low Energy beacon for indoor location based services.


Pitch #3: Get Track ID, low cost music identification hardware for clubs.


Pitch #4: EasyCharge, a simple to install, ceiling mounted charging point for electric vehicles.


Pitch #5: Wotch, a strap to add smart watch functionality to your traditional watch.


Pitch #6: Scoutee, a device to measure the speed of your baseball pitch.


Pitch #7: The Basslet is a wristband that lets you feel the bass of music.


Pitch #8: Prepaid Power, open source, decentralized electricity supply.


Pitch #9: Superclock, a connected clock that displays when your subway will leave the station.


Pitch #10: Coolar, an add-on to fridges that turns heat into cold through evaporation and Silica gel to save energy


A complete list of all the teams: