When ShopLocket was undergoing its transformation from an ecommerce provider to a platform designed to support hardware startups from concept to consumer launch, it had a lot of learning to do. Key to making that transition was gathering resources and talking to industry experts to find out best practices and find examples of hardware startups that have successfully made the journey themselves. Naturally, they felt codifying that experience would be in the best interest of the industry they serve, and make it easier for others who come after to do the same.
Hence Blueprint, a new web- and email newsletter-based media entity focused exclusively on the trials, tribulations and success faced by anyone who wants to get in the business of hardware entrepreneurship. At launch, the site already features extensive databases of resources including reading lists for different categories and business components, directories of hacker spaces, existing hardware startups and service providers, and upcoming event listings. During launch month, there will also be a new interview posted daily with a luminary in the hardware startup world.
This content push is one part marketing, since it drives traffic to ShopLocket’s hardware startup platform, but it’s more than that according to ShopLocket co-founder Katherine Hague.
“It’s the first step to creating a destination for early stage consumer hardware,” she said in an interview. “We see it starting very much with founders and early adopters and eventually growing into something that anyone that is interested in consumer hardware and the next big thing can actually come to to find some of those best products, so it’ll actually probably start emerging more as a consumer destination as well to learn about what’s happening in hardware.”
Arguably, that makes Blueprint a potential competitor to TechCrunch and other sites that cover early stage hardware, but this project by Shoplocket and PCH will be very much an evangelist publication, judging by the ultimate aims of its operator companies. Shoplocket staff will be penning much of the content for now, too, Hague says, so in the interim at least the focus is going to be heavily on service content for those getting started in the hardware world.
“We just thought there was such a gap in the way people were getting information that it seemed unscalable,” Hague said. Blueprint kicks off today, but it’s already got a lot of material to go back through for those new to or interested in the hardware startup scene. Hunger for new gadgets, both from investors and consumers, likely isn’t going away anytime soon, so it’s nice to see something like a shortcut starting point emerge for the space, and hopefully Blueprint continues to grow and evolve right alongside the maker movement.