Shasta Ventures’ Rob Coneybeer On Why He’s Betting Big On Hardware Startups

Shasta Ventures’ managing director Rob Coneybeer likes the opportunity in hardware startups. A lot. And he’s putting his money where his mouth is — over the past year or so he’s made investments in companies like Nest and Ouya, and is actively on the hunt for more that are building physical products. So what’s he find so interesting about today’s hardware startups?

“With hardware, I think there’s just a huge opportunity to build great companies there. The world has changed a lot,” Coneybeer said.

He said he thinks about hardware along two dimensions — the first is the business opportunity, and the second is personal interest. Trained as a mechanical engineer, Coneybeer is interested in providing not just money but experience for companies that he’s making investments in.

Moore’s Law has gotten to the point where companies can put supercomputers in almost anything, leading to immense computing power behind many of the newest hardware products. Not just that, but improvements in supply chain and lower cost of materials has made it easier than ever to design, prototype, and ultimately produce hardware.

In the consumer market, Coneybeer sees opportunities with smart locks, lighting, and home automation. A growing number of web services are emerging to help manage those devices. On the enterprise side there are opportunities for surveillance and delivery.

Check out the interview above and see what the future of hardware holds.