Hardware Engineering Track

"If you want to work on hardware, don't be deterred from doing it because you worry investors will discriminate against you. Physical things are great. Hackers love to build hardware, and customers love to buy it." - Paul Graham.

Have a product idea? New to the hardware space and looking to learn from those who have been there prior? It's time to learn from some of the best hardware engineering leaders so you can scale your hardware startup up.

Perfect for: hardware developers, engineering directors, CTOs and those aspiring

Brain Domain: Identifying and Protecting IP

Tues, Sept 21st: 2:00pm - 2:30pm EDT

Every company — from unicorns to failed start-ups — began as someone’s idea. So knowing how to protect your idea is vitally important. 


This primer in intellectual property law will help attendees understand the best practices and most common IP mistakes made. Get tips on negotiating license agreements with universities, learn more about what disclosure means for your IP rights, and hear from our speaker on how IP law can play into funding conversations with VCs.


Whether you’re a founder who is already building a company, or an engineer thinking of striking out on your own, this panel will arm you with the information you need to take the next step.

School's Out: Transitioning R&D from Academia to Your Startup

Tues, Sept 21st: 3:15pm - 4:15pm EDT

You’ve tinkered endlessly, spent long nights iterating, and leveraged institutional resources to get your prototype developed. You might be eager to transition to the startup world, but how can you successfully navigate the transition with an idea rooted in academic heritage?


Join this panel to learn from intrepid founders and thinkers who have made the leap. This session will help CTOs and the startup-curious evaluate the merit of crucial steps in the process:


  • Where should you set up shop?

  • How can you recruit researchers with the academic rigor you’re accustomed to out in the market?

  • How to stay-laser focused on your objectives, preventing the dreaded academic scope-creep

  • How to prioritize research, iteration, and prototyping, especially in sectors where generating these types of MVPs can come with a high price tag.

DIY or Don't Do It Yourself: Building Platforms, Infrastructure, and Strategic Partnerships as a Startup

Tues, Sept 21st: 4:30pm - 5:30pm EDT

The DIY and startup communities have a lot of shared techniques: scrappiness, self-starting, intense ownership. That punk-rock DIY spirit can introduce challenges when surmounting something as complex as infrastructure for your hardware or software. When considering establishing an ecosystem for your idea, there are a number of things to sift through.


Join this debate for opposing perspectives on pursuing an in-house infrastructure build or relying on existing systems/external resources. Hear from speakers considering the merits of:


  • Identifying and developing partnerships to support your infrastructure needs

  • Assessing whether your platform has legs outside of supporting your idea

  • The advantages and drawbacks of a platform approach versus slotting into the existing value chain

AI, Oh My: The Value & Limitations of Machine Learning for Your Startup

Tues, Sept 21st: 5:45pm - 6:45pm EDT

Machine learning: you’ve heard the hype, but how do you know if it’s right for you and your startup? And will it truly provide your company with a competitive advantage? 


If you are interested in using ML in your startup, but you don’t have a technical background in the field, then you should attend this event. 


During this panel, we’ll discuss:

  • How to gather the necessary data and expertise to build a useful ML architecture 

  • The types of insights you could (realistically) gain from ML

  • Limitations ML will have within your startup - a.k.a. what you can and cannot do with it