Hardware Club raises $28 million for its hardware seed fund

Hardware Club is not just a club — it’s now also a venture firm focused on hardware companies. The team has raised $28 million for the first closing of its inaugural fund from Bpifrance, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, Foxconn, Mistletoe and others.

At its core, the vision of the club hasn’t changed much. I’ve already covered the original idea, and everything is still true today except that all numbers are bigger.

280 hardware startups have joined the club so far. They share knowledge, tips and introductions with people in the hardware community. They also get access to Hardware Club’s recommendations when it comes to manufacturing and distributing gadgets.

While this number sounds quite high, the acceptance rate is around 7 percent. So plenty of startups still can’t get into the club. And those who get accepted have raised more than $700 million in traditional funding rounds and $80 million on crowdfunding platforms. They’ve shipped 3 million products in total.

So far, Hardware Club has negotiated 120 partnerships with supply chain and distribution partners, such as Foxconn, Flex, Pegatron, Amazon, Target, Harrods and Fnac. When you’re a new startup, it’s much easier to negotiate deals with these manufacturers and distributors as all members of the Hardware Club combined represent a bigger partner than startups individually.

And now, Hardware Club will invest in the most promising startups that are already part of the community. The community is a smart way to get a lot of deal flow. In exchange, startups also get perks even if they don’t receive money from the venture fund.

Hardware Club has three general partners (Alexis Houssou, Barbara Belvisi and Jerry Yang) and three offices in Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo. It has already invested in ten startups, such as Prynt, Keecker, Lima, Reach Robotics, Aryballe and ISKN. The plan is to invest in 10 to 15 companies per year.