Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things
June 23–25, 2015 • San Francisco, CA

Launch Academy: Your guide to launching a hardware company

Katherine Hague (The Blueprint/ShopLocket)
2:55pm–3:35pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Tutorial, Startups
Location: C 210 (Bldg C)
Average rating: **...
(2.55, 11 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

All levels.

Materials or downloads needed in advance

A laptop would be helpful to take notes, but not necessary.


The Launch Academy workshop will teach you everything you need to know about starting, launching, and building your hardware business. The workshop is specifically designed for entrepreneurs, and would-be entrepreneurs, who are looking to fill in a few knowledge gaps in the complex process of going from prototype to manufacturing to retail.

The workshop will be hosted by Katherine Hague, CEO and co-founder of ShopLocket/The Blueprint, and Gwen Elliot, community manager at The Blueprint. The Blueprint and ShopLocket are now part of PCH International, after being acquired in January 2014. Together Katherine and Gwen have conducted more than 120 interviews with today’s top founders and influencers in hardware, IoT, and wearable tech.

PART 1: Prototype
- Before you start: Prototyping, design, and manufacturing
- Does your hardware product solve a problem? Get clear before you start.
- Tools available to you to build your prototype
- Hardware incubators and accelerators

PART 2: Manufacturing
- How to choose your factory in China
- Shenzhen Survival Guide (how to navigate the city)
- How to negotiate with incubators/accelerators for equity in your company
- Learn about VC firms currently investing in hardware and the best ways to connect.

PART 3: Launch
- Is crowdfunding right for you?
- Preparing for your campaign
- During your campaign
- After your campaign ends
- The ultimate campaign checklist
- How to get media attention for your startup

PART 4: Retail
- Fulfillment: How to get your product into backers’ hands
- Growing your business (from project to company)
- Different distribution channels to consider
- How to get your product into the Apple Store (The Holy Grail of Hardware)

Katherine Hague

The Blueprint/ShopLocket

Katherine is the Co-Founder of ShopLocket and The Blueprint, recently acquired by PCH International. The Blueprint provides resources for the next generation of hardware innovation. Katherine is one of the creators of Launch Academy. Katherine has been featured in the New York Times, WIRED and TechCrunch. Connect with Katherine, @KatherineHague.