Startup Dialogue
Is it harder to set up hardware startups in India?
Be it the low maturity in the manufacturing sector, the use of cheap development kits for building “manufacturable” prototypes, the absence of good mentors, or the dearth of investors, hardware startups have to struggle that much harder than their IT/tech counterparts.

There are some success stories: GreyOrange—the creators of India’s first humanoid robot, AcYut; Goqii, the fitness band company, and Absentia, the makers of Tesseract, a virtual reality head gear, among others. But the environment for hardware startups needs to improve significantly before the country can boast more such successful ventures.

Satish Mugulavalli, Revvx, an accelerator, and Sunder Rajan, a mentor and angel investor, talk about how entrepreneurs aiming to set up hardware startups should prepare themselves for the long haul.
Excerpts from their interviews with the CII Startups Coalition
Satish Mugulavalli
CEO. Revvx
“An engineering prototype is not meaningful to investors. You need a manufacturable prototype”

Key points from Satish’s perspective

•  Setting up a hardware startup is an ecosystem play

•  Look for opportunities in mature manufacturing sectors such as mobile phones so you can reap cost economies

•  It’s critical to choose the right factory for producing your manufacturable prototype

Sunder Rajan
Business mentor/ Angel investor
“There is lack of complete understanding about what it takes to develop a hardware startup.”

Key points from Sunder’s perspective

•  Government and institutional support is vital for developing the hardware ecosystem

•  Investors need to understand and support the longer lead times needed to startup a hardware startup

•  Support for hardware startups will lead for development of core manufacturing capabilities that could reduce imports of components