Austin’s software sector is booming, with healthtech, marketing, cybersecurity and data analytics companies making up some of the community’s largest digital tech employers. But local hardware startups are on the rise — and investors are waiting in the wings. Here are seven startups to keep an eye on as this area of tech continues to grow.
Samantha Snabes’s machine printing startup, re:3D, received national recognition this year after winning a million dollars from 2017’s WeWork Creator Awards. The company builds human-scale, industrial 3D printers called Gigabots. For every 100 Gigabot sold, re:3D donates one printer to an organization dedicated to improving local communities. In addition to a cash prize from the competition, re:3D has raised about $500,000 from investors and through Kickstarter campaigns.
Photo booths are a hit at corporate events, weddings and bars. Simple Booth launched in 2016 to tap into that popularity with an interactive approach, using an iPad and a dimmable light ring named HALO to augment the experience. The startup combines hardware with mobile technology to create a geotag-based photo experience that connects brands and consumers in a digital world. When we caught up with co-founder Mark Hennings in September, the startup was actively raising a seed round.
Briggo launched in 2008 to create a connected coffee experience. Users order from Briggo’s app to create a customized cup of joe, and then head to a sort-of coffee robot to pick it up. The company owns and operates these machines, called Coffee Hauses, on corporate campuses, hospitals, airports, universities and other places with large crowds on the go. Briggo has raised more than $14 million in funding since inception.
Like Peloton but for boxing, Nexersys developed a cardio boxing machine that connects to a Nexersys app on a tablet. The platform moves athletes through intense and instructional workouts personalized to profiles that track performance metrics. Since 2011, Nexersys has raised over $2 million from more than 20 investors, including Central Texas Angel Network.
Love fishing, but can’t seem to find where the fish like to hang? In 2014, brothers Brandon and Ryan Austin created an underwater fish cam to help locate populated areas and record action below the surface. Called GoFish Cam, the startup’s HD camera with built-in Wi-Fi and night vision sits on fishing lines and functions in both salt and freshwater habitats. The camera streams content to an app, where viewers can watch, edit and share footage — hopefully, of a big one that didn’t get away. According to Crunchbase, GoFish Cam has raised more than $700,000 from a Kickstarter campaign and angel investors.
Now voice-activated via Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, Plum’s lighting control system includes a dimmer pad and an app to make adjustments from anywhere. The app also helps users monitor energy consumption by tracking Plum-powered appliances. Since launching in 2012, Plum has raised about $8 million in seed funding.
A winner of IBM's SmartCamp pitch competition in Mexico in 2012, Nuve develops IoT sensors and applications for asset management in commercial trucking. The startup’s solutions offer fuel and cargo protection and asset and trailer tracking. Since 2014, Nuve has raised about $8 million from investors.