From growing pains to growing up, the startup hardware industry gets real in 2017

Last month, the international Sino-US hardware technology accelerator and investment firm HAX released its state of the union address on trends in the hardware industry to a select group in San Francisco.

The massive 243 slide-long deck and accompanying over-an-hour presentation included a few nuggets that we were able to comb through today.

Primarily for the folks at HAX, these are the days when hardware is coming of age, driven by more sophisticated software development. As the company says, “software is eating the world, and the world is hardware.”

I wrote about their report last year around this time and thought it’d be worthwhile to revisit the group’s assessments, prognostications, and provocations as one of the most prolific investors in hardware startups around.

The most important takeaway is perhaps that tech-enabled everything is our future (at least according to HAX). Businesses from insurance companies to healthcare companies have reasons for getting more tech-enabled sensors into homes and onto bodies, while logistics businesses, farms, manufacturers, retailers, and real estate businesses will look to automate and embed “intelligence” into every corner of their operations.
Beyond those observations, HAX’s new state of the industry presentation emphasizes the importance of thinking internationally as a hardware startup. Australia and France offer incentives for new business and China’s manufacturing expertise, free-flowing capital, and government support are making it the dominant locale for hardware startups and investing. Of the 18 hardware startups that are currently worth more than $1 billion, 11 of them are from China.