Five years ago if you came up to me and said I’m going to raise $500,000 for my cool new idea from the average person out on the streets and not give them any equity in my business I would have probably said “You’re crazy!” Well I must admit I would have been short sighted. It’s hard these days to not hear about the latest and greatest crown funded device. Twine is one of famous projects that raised a significant amount of money, over $500,000, on Kickstarter.
Cloud computing is often credited with “democratizing IT”. It reduces the cost for entrepreneurs to get an idea up and running. I used to manage a new web based product development team in the past and being able to go in with a relatively low budget request that didn’t require the capital expense of my own servers … I’d say if I hadn’t been able to do that we wouldn’t have been able to get our project and team off the ground.
But what does all this cloud stuff have to do with embedded devices? I could go on about the Internet of Things and how devices are all connected but that’s the point of this blog. Just like cloud computing democratized IT there are forces at play that are turning more and more people into device manufacturers. I wish I could come up with a cool term like democratizing IT but I’m just not all that creative on a Friday morning. Things like crowd funding, 3D printing, ability to get prototypes manufactured locally or in China are really enabling people to experiment with new ideas and produce some cool devices. Will all of these be successful? Probably not. But that’s what entrepreneurship and innovation is all about. You have to believe in your idea and move forward and just when we all think our latest gadget purchase is all we need somebody will come up with something new.
I’m really excited about Mentor Embedded being able to support this entrepreneurial community of device makers with a new program called Nucleus Innovate. The program provides entrepreneurs making use of the latest 32-bit micro-controllers with free software. Free software? Yes. More specifically source code to the Nucleus RTOS (deployed on over 3 Billion devices), free development tools and wait for it, royalty free distribution. Is there fine print? Yes, a little, but you can read it all here.