The electronics industry has thoroughly embraced the maker movement. Although inventors and hobbyists typically start out with only a few components and a bright idea, the potential that one of these projects will become the next iPhone is one the electronics industry cannot ignore.
Arrow Electronics Inc., one of the world’s largest electronics distributors, is diving into the maker movement through an agreement with crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The strategic alliance – which the companies refer to as a “crowdfund-to-production platform” -- aims to accelerate the pace of innovation for technology and Internet of Things (IoT) entrepreneurs.
Arrow is integrating its comprehensive design and production platform into Indiegogo’s crowdfunding engine, creating a program that will provide qualifying Indiegogo entrepreneurs with direct online access to Arrow’s design tools, engineering experts, prototype services, manufacturing support and even supply chain management—a total package of benefits worth up to $500,000.
In addition to technical and design support, Arrow will also provide qualifying Indiegogo entrepreneurs with discounts on bills of materials and technology-design software, as well as access to dedicated design engineers via Arrow.com’s live video collaboration platform.
“This is a completely new model of social funding, innovation and production in the technology and IoT space. Crowdfunding has never before been integrated into a fully scaled innovation platform like this that spans collaborative online design, prototype support, production and supply chain management,” said Matt Anderson, Arrow’s chief digital officer. “The Arrow-Indiegogo collaboration will enable successfully crowdfunded companies to scale faster than ever before to bring their products to market.”
Anderson is the architect of Arrow’s digital transformation that is bringing more Arrow products and services online. The effort is also connecting Arrow’s various business units – including components, computer and software and reclamation/recycling – to provide cradle-to-gave support for product manufacturers and their customers.
The new agreement makes Arrow a key component of Indiegogo’s efforts to support the entire product lifecycle for entrepreneurs on the platform—from idea and funding to design, production and sales. Arrow’s unique investment in digital tools, e-collaboration, and e-commerce has enabled the company to scale across a much larger customer base than a traditional brick and mortar model would allow.
Indiegogo and Arrow formalized an alliance after Indiegogo entrepreneurs increasingly turned to Arrow and the new Arrow.com to help transition innovative ideas into successful commercial products. Solar Roadways, the project to turn roads into renewable energy sources, launched on Indiegogo and raised more than $2.2 million in funding. With Arrow’s product support, the company is currently installing its first project in Idaho. JIBO, the world’s first social robot for home, raised over $3 million in funding on Indiegogo. With Arrow’s design engineering support and services, JIBO robots are currently making their way to homes across the globe.
The IoT is a particularly attractive market for electronics distributors as many fledgling IoT companies have little more than an idea to start with. Semiconductor designs can now be fulfilled by independent foundries. Other components in an IoT design – sensors, connectors, capacitors, power etc. – can be sourced through electronics distribution. Distributors are helping IoT companies set up supply chains that could yield high-volume orders once a product takes off.
Arrow will assess individual Indiegogo campaigns for their technical feasibility, manufacturability and overall impact; Arrow-supported campaigns will be denoted on the Indiegogo site with a special Arrow badge.
“We have transformed Arrow.com into a comprehensive source of electronic components, datasheets, design tools, online engineering collaboration, reference designs and how-to content on the Internet,” said Anderson. “We are excited to unleash the resources of Arrow.com together with our industry-leading, global, field teams, technical experts and project consulting services to a vast new audience.”
“We’re very excited for this collaboration with Arrow, as it strengthens our commitment to helping entrepreneurs through every step of their journey,” said Indiegogo CEO David Mandelbrot. “We’ve seen an incredible amount of growth among tech and IoT projects on Indiegogo due in part because our team is constantly developing new ways to help entrepreneurs with support beyond funding. Collaborating with Arrow is a superb example of how Indiegogo partners with entrepreneurs through every phase of the entrepreneur’s lifecycle.”
Indiegogo technology campaigns interested in participating in the new Arrow program should visit www.arrow.com/indiegogo.