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The New York City Hardware Startup Heat Map: October 2014 Edition

A dozen hardware startups that you should know about in New York City.

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

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, from 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?

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“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. Our aim is to update it over time as the scene changes. Who have we missed that should be on the list? Leave a note in the comments.


  1. 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 alert 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 set to deliver its $195 electronic jewelry this fall.


  2. GoTenna

    URL: http://www.gotenna.com
    Address: 102 S. 6th St. Brooklyn, NY 11249
    In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, 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.


  3. LittleBits

    URL: http://littlebits.cc
    Address: 601 West 26th St, #M274, New York, NY 10001
    LittleBits, led by MIT Media Labber Ayah Bdeir, 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.


  4. Shapeways

    URL: http://www.shapeways.com
    Address: Shapeways HQ 419 Park Ave South Suite 900, Floor 9 New York, NY 10016
    Although it was founded in the Netherlands, Shapeways now occupies a 25,000-square-foot factory in Long Island City that produces thousands of 3-D-printed objects every day. Any designer can upload their digital creation onto the site and have the Shapeways team 3-D print the object using their industrial printers. Once prototyped, they can use Shapeways’ online marketplace to sell the physical wares to the public. Investors including Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz have pumped more than $48 million into Shapeways so far.


  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. Canary

    URL: http://canary.is
    Address: 96 Spring St 7th Floor New York, NY 10012
    This plug-and-play device 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 smoke detector that measures overall air quality as well as a $199 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.


  8. 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 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.


  9. 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.


  10. AdhereTech

    URL: http://adheretech.com
    Address: 11 Broadway, Suite 518, New York, NY 10004
    Ever pick up your medicine from the pharmacy and then realize you’d need a secretary to remind you when to take it? Coming to the rescue, AdhereTech has come up with smart pill bottles that can send you a text, call you, or even alert you right on the bottle when you miss a dose. This company, which has pharm companies knocking on its door to try out its product, graduated from three NYC-based accelerators and received $1.75 million in Series A funding earlier this year for a bottle redesign.


  11. Brightbox

    URL: https://brightboxcharge.com
    Address: 250 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001
    After Hurricane Sandy hit, Brightbox set up its cell phone charging stations in the Flatiron district for New Yorkers to re-juice their phones free of charge. Although this convenience is a paying service for the rest of us–outside of natural disasters–these kiosks let you securely leave your phone at the station while you browse the Internet on its touch screen. Last year, these do-gooders got $1 million in seed funding.


  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 10 worthy startups in the connected devices and IoT space last year and is getting started with its second class 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 inaugural class attracted millions of dollars in outside funding by the end of the three-month program.

10/21/14 Added: AdhereTech
10/21/14 Added: Brightbox
10/12/14 Added: R/GA Accelerator
10/21/14 Removed: Keen Home
10/21/14 Removed: Enertiv
10/21/14 Removed: EyeLock

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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.

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