Return of Hardware
Hardware is getting sexy again.
While hardware companies were once considered too risky to invest in, advancements in technology have made the space much more appealing to investors.
(Read More: Software Out, Hardware Start-Ups In)
Here's a look at the some of the companies that venture capitalists are betting on.
_ By Cadie Thompson
Posted 10 May 2013
Nest Labs is a maker of high-tech thermostats that can be controlled remotely by mobile devices and that automatically adjust settings based on the users schedule and preferences. It was founded by two former Apple executives who helped develop the iPod.
Investors: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Google Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Generation_, Shasta Ventures, Intertrust and Venrock
Misift Wearables is a wearable computing start-up. It makes activity trackers that are about the size of a quarter that can be worn pretty much anywhere on the body.
(Read More: Goodbye Apple iPhone? Wearable Tech Is Coming)
Investors: Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, Norwest Venture Partners, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Max Levchin and incTank Ventures
Founded by Chris Anderson, the former editor and chief of Wired magazine, 3D Robotics focuses on building open source unmanned aerial vehicles, aka drones.
(Read More: Robot Reality: How Robots Will Change Our Lives)
Investors: True Ventures and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures
A motion-control software and hardware company, Leap Motion makes technology that enables users to control devices with gestures.
It's first product, the Leap Motion controller, allows users to navigate computer applications via hand and finger movements.
Investors: Highland Capital Partners, Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz and SOSventures International
FitBit makes products and online services that track users' activity. Some of its products include a smart scale—which tracks weight, body fat percentage and BMI—a wireless activity tracker and a sleep tracker.
Investors: Foundry Group, True Ventures and SoftTech VC
Focused on sustainability, Enlightened offers a device for lighting fixtures that enables lights to brighten and dim automatically. It does this by reacting to detected body movement and based on other lighting sources in the area.
(Read More: New Technologies That Could Change the World )
Investors: Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Intel Capital, RockPort Capital and DFJ JAIC Venture Partners
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based MakerBot produces desktop 3-D printers and also sells the plastic material used for printing off objects.
(Read More: 3-D Printers and the Cool Stuff They Make)
Investors: High Line Venture Partners, Foundry Group, Bezos Expeditions, True Ventures, RRE Ventures, Lerer Ventures and Thrive Capital
Romotive builds personal robots that are controlled via a user's smartphone. The company's first product, Romo, is a mobile robot that enables users to video chat with people. Users can also customize the robot's behavior via the app used to control the device.
Investors: PivotNorth Capital, Lerer Ventures, Stanford University Venture Fund, Sequoia Capital, SV Angel, CrunchFund and Felicis Ventures
Founded by two MIT grad students, Sifteo is a company focused on reinventing digital play. The company makes an interactive gaming system that comes in the form of cubes, which are electronic tiles equipped with sensors.
Investors: True Ventures and Foundry Group
RoboteX designs and builds robots that are used for security purposes and for defense operations.
Investors: Founders Fund