Arrow Teams Up With Indiegogo To Offer Financial, Technical Support To IoT Entrepreneurs

Arrow Electronics has joined forces with crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to offer up to $50,000 in prototyping and manufacturing benefits to Internet of Things-focused innovators.

The Englewood, Colo.-based distributor said its IT channel partners will be able to tap into this rapidly growing market by providing configuration, billing, subscription and application programming interface (API) support to the new IoT businesses, according to Matt Anderson, Arrow's chief digital officer.

"We're bringing our reseller network into the components space," Anderson told CRN. "A lot of people are using IoT as a buzzword. We're using it as a business model."

[RELATED: CRN Exclusive: Arrow Teams With StrataCloud to Simplify NetApp-Cisco Converged Infrastructure Setup]

Sponsored post

Arrow engineers will evaluate Indiegogo entrepreneurs applying for certification on the design and manufactureability of each IoT application, with those deemed ready for manufacturing receiving an "Arrow Certified" badge. In addition to the prototyping and manufacturing support, certified campaigns will complete for $1 million in flash-funding that Arrow plans to give away to the top 20 to 50 entrants.

Many of Arrow's new customers have either started companies or done crowdfunding through Indiegogo, and Anderson sees the partnership as a great opportunity to gain exclusive access to these entrepreneurs. Arrow will be Indiegogo's exclusive technology partner, Anderson said, meaning no other IT distributors, vendors or suppliers will be allowed to work directly with the crowdfunding website.

"This is a game-changer in the industry, and it's a game-changer in crowdfunding," Anderson said. "Nothing like this has ever been done before."

Many of the entrepreneurs building IoT products lack IT teams or infrastructure, Anderson said, meaning they'll need to lean on VARs and MSPs to build a sustainable technology platform. The reseller community will specifically be valuable in configuring, installing and getting the IoT offerings up and running on cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure and IBM Bluemix, Anderson said.

For instance, Noria built an IoT-enabled SmartHome AC product, but as a small company lacked the infrastructure stack or cloud system to monitor and manage the device on its own, meaning that a reseller could be valuable, Anderson said.

While the current phase of Arrow's efforts is focused around accelerating the design and manufacturing of IoT devices, Anderson said the next phase will focus on bringing in product and service resellers to support the entrepreneurs. Arrow's value proposition around IoT is intended to span the entire life cycle from manufacturing to cloud configuration to its media network, according to Anderson.

"I think this makes us unrivaled," he said.

Almost all of the technology entrepreneurs seeking funding on Indiegogo have an IoT-related initiative, Anderson said, focused primarily around either the business-to-consumer or business-to-industrial markets. Arrow and Indiegogo are operating together in 223 countries, although Anderson said roughly half of the campaigns are taking place inside the U.S.

Certified campaigns will have access to prototyping tools, technical reviews, product reviews, up to $1,000 in prototype materials, marketing and promotional support and 10 percent off Arrow products.

Truly exceptional campaigns will receive the "Arrow Innovator" designation, and will be eligible for supply chain and contract manufacturing support worth up to $500,000, up to $10,000 in prototype materials, a local Arrow technical concierge, rapid review from Arrow's in-house financing team, and a guarantee campaign backers will get their money returned if the product isn't manufactured.

The Arrow certification program on Indiegogo is open until Dec. 31, 2017.

ReelData co-founder Jeff Spalla has been working on security facial recognition and private cloud media projects, and he believes the projects would benefit from Arrow's support.

Spalla, who partners with Arrow, said he has the software design down pretty well, but told CRN he could use assistance around a go-to-market strategy, engineering support, marketing funding and reaching beyond his primary vertical of media and entertainment into industries such as health care, oil and gas and security.

Although Hollywood, Calif.-based ReelData is very adept at selling hardware and software, Spalla anticipates that selling its own product would prove more difficult. Spalla therefore said he's interested in exploring working more closely with Arrow around IoT.

"I think it's the next big potential thing," Spalla said. "IoT is our next big wave."