5 consumer hardware VCs share their 2021 investment strategies – TechCrunch

Consumer hardware is There has always been a difficult market to crack, but the COVID-19 crisis made it even harder.

TechCrunch surveyed five major investors, who touch on various aspects of the consumer electronics industry based on us Techcrunch list Top VCs recommended by the founders along with other sources.

We asked these investors the same six questions, and each provided similar views, but different perspectives:

Despite the epidemic, each identified bright spots in the consumer electronic world. One thing is clear, investors generally grow faster at home fitness startups. Multiple respondents cited peloton, tonal, and mirrors as recent highlights in consumer electronics.

Rob Conniber of Shasta Venture said, “With due respect to my friends at Nest (where Shasta was a Series A investor), Tonal is the most exciting consumer connected hardware company I’ve ever been involved in.”

In addition to asking about the trends and opportunities they are pursuing in 2021, the investors we spoke to also identified other investors, founders and companies who are leaders in consumer hardware and share how the epidemic He has remodeled his investment strategies. His responses have been edited for location and clarity.


Hans Tung, GGV Capital

Which consumer hardware sector shows the most promise for explosive growth?

For consumer hardware, providing a different experience to end users is extremely important. Social interaction, simplification and development with high quality PGC (commercially generated content) such as peloton, xiaomi and tonal are essential to speed up development. It is also easy to see how the acceleration of the digital economy created by COVID-19 will accelerate development for hardware.

First, improvements in the speed and reliability of 5G such as live streaming, gaming, cloud computing, etc. will create opportunities for new mobile devices in services and global mass market consumers will continue to demand high quality, low cost hardware. Arevo, for example, is using “a service as hardware” with a 3D printing facility in Vietnam.

For enterprise hardware, security, reliability, and fast updates are major competitive advantages. As a result of 5G … building automation and industrial applications. Finally, IoT can be found in its sweet spot for health and safety thanks to COVID-19 which includes new wearables to track sleep, fitness and overall wellness.

How did COVID-19 change consumer hardware and your investment strategy?

An opportunity for consumer hardware companies to consider the result of COVID-19 is how they engage with their customers. They should think of themselves more like e-commerce companies, where user experience, ongoing preoccupation with the consumer and running based on market feedback rule the day. While Peloton had this vision before COVID, it has created a $ 46 billion company to think about its products in this way.

For example, some consumers felt the bike was too expensive so instead of responding with a lower-priced product, the company partnered with Affirm to make its hardware more affordable with a pay-as-you-go plan Of. Peloton bikes are not one-of-a-kind purchases; There is constant interaction between users, and a company providing greater satisfaction in hardware adds more value to the business.

Entering 2021, how hardware is still hard?

The hardware is still hard because it takes longer to iterate faster. The result of competitors relative to speed-to-market can be dramatic. For example, every year I see a future generation of EVs with a lot of innovations and cool features from existing OEMs, but very few of them are making it to the market compared to Tesla and other pure players who crank out vehicles Have been. His execution speed is impressive.

Who are some leaders in consumer hardware – founders, companies, investors?

  • John Foley, founder and CEO peloton. John and the peloton team have cracked the code on community experience and hardware integration.
  • Sunny Wu, Founder and Founder / CEO of Misfit Arevo, Manufacturer of ultrastrong, lightweight continuous carbon fiber products on demand. The founders and team experienced with 3D printing manufacturing know that are now able to offer successful consumer and industrial products at competitive prices.
  • Manu Jain, Head of XiaomiThere is business in India where Xiaomi is the # 1-selling smart phone. He built the Indian operation from the ground up; There was a zero-dollar marketing budget for the first three years; And localized manufacturing for all Xiaomi phones sold in India.
  • Jim Xiao, founder and CEO Mason, A rising star who is building “mobile infrastructure as a service”
  • Irving Fenn, founder and CEO of Bowery farming. Irving and his team are on a mission to redo modern farming.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with TechCrunch readers?

Worrying less about trends and creating products that resonate with customers.

Dayna Grayson, Construct Capital