Makerhub: Manufacturing Outsourcing Platform for Hardware Startups


For hardware and IoT (Internet of Things) startups, finding a good manufacturer is everything. Even with a good business idea, about 50% of hardware startups fail during prototype development and/or manufacturing production. Institutions and startup accelerators also struggle to help hardware startups due to delays in development, product quality that falls short of expectations, and defects after production.

To that end, WinnersLab launched Makerhub, a prototype development and manufacturing outsourcing platform for hardware and IoT startups. WinnersLab has been working as a startup consultant since 2012.

Makerhub offers consulting and matching services to startups. According to case studies of failed startups, there are potential risks from the planning phase such as choice of technology and cost estimation in manufacturing. To tackle this, subject-matter experts will be accompanied from the product planning phase.

For those with no prior experience in manufacturing, Makerhub recommends a match on a prototype developer, manufacturer, and product manager. It prevents potential mistakes in early production, reduces lead time, and cuts costs. About 1,600 manufacturer contacts, 50 partner manufacturers, and 20 PMs (product manager) with over 10 years of experience have been secured to work closely with startups. These partnerships benefit prototype developers and manufacturers with new, credible contracting opportunities as Makerhub aims to create a consistent revenue stream for mid-sized manufacturers as well.

Makerhub takes a step further and provides resources for distribution channels and funding. For startups with a highly marketable product, it also offers opportunities for international crowdfunding, investments, and government funding. Currently, WinnersLab partnered with Korea Securities Depository, Chungbuk Creative Korea Center, and Korea Core Industrial Technology Investment Association.

Makerhub has successfully developed a number of hardware prototypes. In 2016, Makerhub produced prototypes for Caramella, PartiM, and Modu&modu in 2-3 months. PartiM’s product received the Grand Prix in Korea International Women’s Invention Exposition.

WinnersLab CEO Dong Woo Sang said, “There is an increase in the number of hardware startups. Many of those, however, failed in the early production phase and mid-sized manufacturing companies were struggling to find clients. I wanted to solve this problem for both parties and ultimately create the manufacturing industry’s version of AirBnB, which led to the birth of Makerhub.”

Makerhub is holding a information session on November 2nd.

Inspired by Platum

Image source: Platum

Jean is a Master’s student at the University of Washington in Seattle studying Information Systems. Having lived in Hong Kong, Korea, Alaska, and Seattle, she is a firm believer in the power of words and sharing of information for all people across borders.


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