While the mission behind Kickstarter is great for “small guy” entrepreneurs with a good idea and enough chutzpah to launch it into the world via the internet, the ending result isn’t always so great for some project backers.

Although the company doesn’t report an official number (nor would they), one only needs to do a quick Google search to see how many Kickstarter projects were DOA — most swallowing up early backer funds with them.

To better communicate development progress with backers, the Brooklyn-based crowdfunding company has debuted a new badge system under their Hardware Studio Connection to help standardize the process of bringing a hardware product to market. The system is an extension of the company’s Hardware Studio initiative launched last year to assist hardware creators in bringing their products to market in partnership with Avnet and Dragon Innovation. All participants in Connection will have a “Hardware Studio” badge under their project video. One of the first Kickstarter projects to take advantage of this new service is the Syphon Wine Preserver:

“Hardware is a long journey: design, prototyping, supply-chain management, manufacturing, and delivery,” explains the company. “That’s a lot to prepare for. Many creators run into challenges and need help along the way. Avnet and Dragon Innovation are experts at solving these kinds of problems. That’s why we’ve teamed up to offer Hardware Studio Connection.”


New Kickstarter Hardware Studio Badge Levels:


  • Industry experts in consumer electronics, supply chain, and manufacturing at Avnet and Dragon Innovation have reviewed the design, cost, and build viability of the project
  • Received advice and coaching from Avnet and Dragon Innovation
  • Has a working proof-of-concept prototype, at minimum
  • Understands challenges and is realistic about project timelines and costs

READY (Level 1)

  • Based on a review prior to launch, the product is on track but still in the prototype phase
  • Some user testing has been completed on a functioning prototype
  • Current prototype demonstrates most of the intended features
  • Successful campaign will fund additional work with third-party manufacturing/design resources, certifications, tooling, and/or product material costs prior to fulfillment
  • Product can be produced in low volumes (~100 pieces) at approximate target cost
  • Additional funds may be needed to fund production depending on final volumes

READY (Level 2)

  • Product is able to be manufactured at expected volumes and production plans are in place
  • Funding via Kickstarter is needed to purchase production tools and materials, and to certify the product
  • Product has undergone several design iterations based on feedback from user trials and demonstrates refined functionality

READY (Level 3)

  • This product is ready for manufacturing and delivery risks are relatively low
  • Product is fully developed, just needs Kickstarter campaign to fund manufacturing

While few things could ever replace having a dedicated supply chain manager and manufacturing experts, the Hardware Studio and accompanying badge system is a brilliant solution for everyday Joes and Josephines.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.