Some Suggestions for Bootstrapping Consumer Products

We had someone come to the Milpitas breakfast yesterday who was interested in bootstrapping a consumer products startup. They had an electrical engineering background and several ideas for different innovative products, here are a few of the suggestions they got that may be of use to other entrepreneurs

  • The Inventor’s Alliance has meetings in Menlo Park and Sacramento, you can also attend over the Internet. They invite speakers that focus on various aspects of the invention process, including protecting your invention and getting it manufactured. The typical speakers at their events are successful inventors, prototype experts, manufacturing experts, and patent attorneys. You can get an idea from the the website of past meeting topics and speakers, as well as a list of local inventor groups. I personally attended an event in February 2006 where Doug Hall spoke and it was outstanding and very well attended.
  • TechShop in Menlo Park: “TechShop is a 15,000 square-foot membership-based workshop that provides members with access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a creative and supportive community of like-minded people so you can build the things you have always wanted to make.” Memberships are $125/month or $1200 a year. In addition to their Menlo Park location they have facilities in Durham, North Carolina) and Beaverton, Oregon
  • Considering finding a mechanical engineer or product design engineer as a partner as hiring a consultant to do this will be a significant part of your prototype development expense.
  • A good group to network with electrical engineers in Silicon Valley is the IEEE Consulting Network of Silicon Valley.

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