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The New York City Hardware Startup Map, Holiday 2014 Edition

A dozen hardware startups that you should know about in New York City, just in time for last-minute holiday gifts.

The New York City Hardware Startup Map, Holiday 2014 Edition
[Photo: courtesy of Adafruit]

An update for the holidays: Last-minute gift-givers, fret not. The future of gadgets is near, and even if not all of the stuff you want now is available, half of the startups on this list are doing presales right now for the stuff they plan to release next year. And we made way for three new startups on this list–one that’s nurturing the digital art community, another that’s making parents feel okay about letting their kids play with the iPad, and one that made Indiegogo’s $1 million club.

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New York City is no Shenzhen when it comes to electronics manufacturing. But the city has seen a number of impressive hardware startups take root and grow. And it’s a diverse set of companies, like veterans MakerBot and Adafruit Industries, which exist to help other makers realize their own hardware dreams, or organizations like the New York Hardware Start-up Meetup and the R/GA Accelerator, that are like support groups for tinkerers. But why here?

“They’re starting their companies here because of the ancillary connections with some of the areas that New York has been very strong in, whether that’s commerce, advertising, fashion, et cetera,” says Jenny Fielding, managing director of Techstars.

This is our map of some of the most notable hardware startups in New York City. Since October, we’ve updated it twice with some suggestions via email and comments. Who have we missed that should be on the list? Drop a line and let us know.


  1. Electric Objects

    URL: http://www.electricobjects.com
    Address: 356 Bowery New York, NY 10012
    Digital art lovers may have once only admired artwork on their laptop’s desktop. But this startup’s digital art poster lets them keep their other gadgets stowed away when all they want to do is admire the pieces of work on the wall–and helps digital artists reach new audiences, and sell their hard-to-sell work in new ways. Electric Objects’ tech is ever-evolving to support high-octane graphics and newer visual forms, like JavaScript files that change in response to data streams. As of this year, it has amassed $1.7 million from a slew of investors, among whom are RRE Ventures, Betaworks, and Dennis Crowley of Foursquare. Beta testers will receive the revamped product this January, and it is now taking orders for its first shipment in May 2015.


  2. Tiggly

    URL: http://tiggly.com
    Address: 222 Broadway, Level 19, New York, NY 10038
    The littlest ones on your Christmas list might appreciate the super functional toys from Tiggly. The Tiggly team made sure its iPad-connected toys let toddlers actively handle physical objects with their hands, instead of zoning out on the device. The company’s latest product, Tiggly Counts, showed up in Apples Stores around the world in November. The Bavarian toy manufacturer Habermaaß led a Series A round that brought in $4 million this year, topping the already $1 million it had in its pocket.


  3. Bluesmart

    URL: http://bluesmart.com
    Address: 25 Broadway, 5th floor, New York, NY 10004
    Your travel system is the next thing in line to get connected, after everything in your home and pockets. Bluesmart has redesigned the carry-on suitcase to connect to your mobile device. It is running a pre-sale through Indiegogo, temporarily selling the Bluesmart carry-on at $260 from $450. An Indiegogo favorite, the company recently raised $1.6 million in crowdfunding through the site and is set to deliver at the end of next summer. There’s even a printable Christmas card on the site that you can pair with your order.


  4. Ringly

    URL: https://ringly.com
    Address: 200 Park Avenue, Suite 1501, New York, NY 10166
    Ringly knows that wearables have big potential for female consumers. So it’s little wonder that its presale for its first product, a ring that lights up and vibrates to alerts you to phone calls, text messages, and emails from your mobile device, reached its first-day goal in under eight hours (and that was after raising over $100,000 on Kickstarter). The Ringly team, which fetched $1 million in seed funding from First Round Capital and Andreessen Horowitz among others, is doing a pre-sale on its $195 electronic jewelry right now.


  5. GoTenna

    URL: http://www.gotenna.com
    Address: 102 S. 6th St. Brooklyn, NY 11249
    In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, sibling cofounders Daniela and Jorge Perdomo found themselves without cell service, making their startup a product of necessity. GoTenna lets you text off the grid when your phone doesn’t have service. Your mobile device transmits your text to the goTenna device via Bluetooth, which then sends it to a receiving goTenna device over radio waves. It has raised $1.8 million in seed funding and is doing pre-sales this month.


  6. Canary

    URL: http://canary.is
    Address: 101 6th Avenue, New York, New York 10013
    This plug-and-play device, which is currently in under pre-sale, alerts you on your mobile device when there are changes in movement, temperature, air quality–you name it–in a room. Canary is working on a $249 home security device that raised $2 million on Indiegogo. The company recently received $10 million in Series A funding from Khosla Ventures as well as Dropbox investor Bobby Yazdani.


  7. LittleBits

    URL: http://littlebits.cc
    Address: 601 West 26th St, #410 New York, NY 10001
    LittleBits, led by MIT Media Labber Ayah Bdier, is Legos for electronics. Their kits turn gadget prototyping into easy-to understand modules that snap together magnetically, with blocks that dole out power, let you connect an input, and spit out actions. The company has over $15 million in funding, the bulk of which came from a Series B round last November that included O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Nicholas Negroponte, Khosla Ventures, and Lerer Ventures.


  8. BotFactory

    URL: https://www.botfactory.co
    Address: 20 Jay St #312 Brooklyn, NY 11201
    The founders of BotFactory, two NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering grad students and one of their professors, found a way for makers to design and print their own circuit boards faster and cheaper than had been possible before. Makers can even watch their boards being printed from home, via BotFactory’s web interface. After raising a little over $100,000 from a Kickstarter campaign, the company is gearing up to begin selling its Squink printers for around $2,500 apiece, so you can brew your own boards in your bedroom.


  9. Adafruit Industries

    URL: http://www.adafruit.com
    Address: 150 Varick Street New York, NY 10013
    Adafruit Industries connects makers with open-source hardware, like the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino controller, to use in their own creations. The company keeps adding new electronics to their roster, while cultivating a community of DIY hardware enthusiasts. With over $22 million in revenue for 2013, Inc. recently named it one of the fastest growing private companies in manufacturing.


  10. MakerBot

    URL: http://www.makerbot.com
    Address: 87 3rd Ave Brooklyn, NY 11217
    MakerBot brought 3-D printing to the masses. The company was acquired by Stratasys in a $403 million transaction last year, and it’s not yet clear whether the headquarters will remain in the city. Meanwhile, founder Bre Pettis stepped down from his role as CEO and announced his new project Bold Machines, which is headquartered in a Brooklyn and will use Stratasys, MakerBot, and Solidscape 3-D printers to create, among other things, a feature film that will offer fans the ability to 3-D print every character.


  11. SOLS

    URL: http://www.sols.co
    Address: 1201 Broadway Suite 301 New York, NY 10001
    SOLS draws on NYC’s fashion tradition to make their 3-D-printed insoles appealing to wearers. The company, founded by the former director of operations and industrial engineering at Shapeways, attracted $6.4 million in Series A funding this year led by Lux Capital.


  12. R/GA Accelerator

    URL: http://rgaaccelerator.com/connecteddevices
    Address: 350 W 39th Street, New York, NY 10018
    Although technically not a startup, this tech accelerator started giving makeovers to ten worthy startups in the connected devices and IoT space last year and is getting started with its [url=https://www.fastcompany.com/3037262/internet-of-things/not-your-typical-hardware-the-r-ga-accelerators-class-of-2015]second class[\url] this month. With R/GA’s marketing know-how and Techstars’ funding force, these temporary NYC-transplants take advantage of business advice from local business leaders and a $120,000 check in seed funding to prepare for VC pitches. Last year’s [url=https://www.fastcompany.com/3035330/as-its-first-grads-go-to-market-r-ga-accelerator-shifts-focus-from-hardware-to-software-and-]inaugural class[\url] attracted millions of dollars in outside funding by the end of the three-month program.

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About the author

I write about science and technology in the global marketplace, with a bent towards women in STEM. My work has appeared elsewhere in Quartz, Fortune, and Science, among others. I'm based in Amsterdam. Follow me on Twitter @tinamirtha.

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