The application deadline for the new Cambridge based Springboard IoT accelerator has just been extended to January 13th. While Springboard is known as a leading web and mobile accelerator, this will be their first IoT program. We caught up with Springboard founder Jon Bradford to learn more about this exciting development.
What is IoT (Internet of Things)?
The term Internet of Things (“IoT”) refers to internet-enabled devices that can network and communicate with each other and with other web-enabled gadgets and services. IoT devices also have a number of common attributes including low powered, embedded processors with mobile communications to connect to the Internet. These connected devices are typically powered by software delivered using a cloud computing technology. Fitbit, Lockitron, Nest and Withings are IoT devices.
Why do an IoT accelerator?
While Maker and hardware hacker communities are on the rise, it’s still a relatively immature entrepreneurial ecosystem. There are far more communities focused on hacking around as a pastime or for pleasure. Springboard IoT can expand on this high-energy culture by offering valuable mentorship and encouraging an entrepreneurial, commercial focus.
In addition, the technical complexities associated with hardware can be a barrier to entry for independent entrepreneurs. Through the accelerator program, we are able to provide access to tools, resources and experiences traditionally unavailable to early-stage hardware entrepreneurs.
How will you adapt current Springboard web and mobile methodologies to serve IoT startups?
Hardware development has specific resource requirements that include access to tools such as 2D laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC routers and so on as well as support from industrial designers and engineers. Through a partnership with Makespace, Springboard IoT will offer teams access to these important prototyping tools and kits for working with electronics, woodwork and textiles.
Second, we’ve assembled a team of hardware entrepreneurs with domain experience and expertise. Mentors who can provide firsthand knowledge in managing the complexities associated with designing, prototyping, building and the manufacturing of physical devices. Mentors committed to the program include Hermann Hauser (Amadeus), Sherry Coutu, Niall Murphy (Evrythng & The Cloud), Usman Haque (Cosm & Pachube), Pilgrim Beart (AlertMe) and Brad Feld (Foundry Group & FitBit).
Finally, hardware development can be a lonely road. By participating in Springboard IoT, these hardware entrepreneurs will be submerged in a group of their best and brightest entrepreneurial peers. The collaborative effect of these groups working in the same sector alongside each other cannot be underestimated, both during the program and in the future.
Springboard IoT will be based at ideaSpace, which sits within the prestigious, state of the art Hauser Forum created by The University of Cambridge. It’s one of the largest co-working spaces in Europe and was tailor made to foster technology transfer, research and the partnership between start-ups and mentors.
Just yesterday, Springboard IoT announced that on demo day all teams will launch their products on a Springboard curated Kickstarter forum to coincide with the traditional investor demo day. This will allow teams the chance to test their products in the real world, lowering the risks of failure and enhancing the opportunity to raise further finance.
More about Springboard IoT
Hardware is hard but accelerators can make it easier via Giga OM