Open hardware and crowdfunding

Open Hardware – Crowdfunding

© Lead Image © lightwise,

© Lead Image © lightwise,

Article from Issue 227/2019

Open hardware and crowdfunding are a natural fit. While their relationship has evolved over time, crowdfunding continues to play a big role in open hardware development.

Open hardware and crowdfunding became popular at about the same time and have been associated ever since. In fact, in the absence of major investment, open hardware would not be where it is today. Crowdfunding has helped to launch several open hardware small businesses like Purism and Keyboardio and has helped existing small businesses to launch new businesses. But how else do the two trends reinforce each other? Today, the answers are different from what they were five years ago.

The close connection between open hardware and crowdfunding should not be surprising. As Josh Lifton (Figure 1), the founder of Crowd Supply [1] notes, the two "go hand in hand, because they both rely on their community of users. Participating in crowdfunding requires a certain amount of risk. A product being open source mitigates some of that risk and builds trust with the end user." Consequently, those involved in one of these trends have little trouble accepting the other.

Figure 1: Josh Lifton, the founder of Crowd Supply.


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