Dragon Innovation launches crowdfunding platform to lure hardware hopefuls away from Kickstarter

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Venture Beat  |  Ricardo Bilton    |  September 5, 2013 4:30 AM

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For Dragon Innovation, helping hardware makers become legit hardware companies is a bit like teaching them how to walk: It requires a whole lot of hand-holding.

The company, which counts companies like Pebble and MakerBot as its previous tutees, is built on the realization that, while thinking up products is easy, actually building and shipping them rarely is.

“With hardware, if you don’t get everything right up front, a lot of bad stuff will happen,” Dragon Innovation CEO (and ten-year iRobot vet) Scott Miller told VentureBeat on Wednesday. ‘

Recognizing the constant hurdles new hardware companies face, Dragon Innovation has made a business of helping companies learn how to optimize their go-to-market strategies and teaching them the virtues decreasing their production costs.

Now, the company is filling out the other half of the equation with its own crowdfunding platform, which it’s been testing in beta since August. The site, which is launching with eight products, is all about giving hardware startups the money they need to get their products off the ground.

While such a project might draw some obvious comparisons to popular sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, what Dragon Innovation is doing here is a bit different. If things go right, when Dragon Innovation launches a product, it’s also launching a company.

Or, to use Miller’s scarily apt analogy: If Kickstarter is like a butterfly, Dragon Innovation is closer to a Kangaroo. It actually helps its babies grow up.

“What we offer startups is something you can’t google. You really have to have the experience,” Miller says.

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