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How to Build a Great Hardware Brand

Rob Coneybeer (Shasta Ventures)
Location: Festival Pavilion
Slides:   1-PPTX 

Branding a world-class hardware company is dramatically different than for software, Web, or mobile companies. Branding begins with storytelling, and crafting compelling stories for hardware requires a fresh perspective.

Why? What is the biggest difference between hardware and software products? Touch. The tactile interaction with a physical object generates an ongoing emotional connection with hardware that is uniquely suited to great branding opportunities. When you pick up a product, manipulate it, examine it, and hand it to friends, you connect with that product at a much deeper level than with software. The product is not confined to a screen — it takes shape and form in the three dimensions of the real world. Getting that real-world interaction right is a huge opportunity for hardware startups to increase engagement, increase the prices they can charge, and radically lower the cost of new customer acquisition.

Photo of Rob Coneybeer

Rob Coneybeer

Shasta Ventures

Rob Coneybeer is a veteran venture capitalist who approaches start-up investing from a product perspective. At Shasta Ventures, the Sand Hill Road firm he co-founded in 2004, Rob focuses on hardware and mobile startups. Rob is particularly interested in startups that have discovered creative new approaches to connecting the “real world” to the Internet, whether via smart phones, low-cost sensors or other innovative, new devices.

Rob started his career working in the Astro Space division of Martin Marietta, where he helped build the first EchoStar spacecraft. Some of Rob’s notable investments include smart-thermostat company Nest; Relay Rides, the leading peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace; and Mocana, which provides security for smart devices. Rob earned a master of science in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia. He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.