We make. That’s the new tagline announced by (also freshly rebranded) PCH, the company that gets physical products manufactured for both startups and Fortune 500 enterprises, and it’s as simple as it is accurate.
I caught up with PCH founder and CEO Liam Casey, born and raised in Cork, Ireland where the company is still headquartered today, at the recent Web Summit in Dublin to talk about what he calls the “renaissance of hardware”, in turn driven by the renaissance of prototyping.
Casey refers to PCH a ‘product innovation company’ that helps take a physical product from idea all the way through manufacturing and ultimately in the hands of consumers.
PCH has historically worked with many of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies, and Casey says it remains the growing core of its business, but in recent times a lot of the focus of the company has shifted to catering for the new generation of ‘lean hardware’ startups.
Casey tells me he foresaw a huge change in the industry coming back in 2008, in particular the rise of the ‘maker’ movement and smart engineers increasingly opting to build their own products rather than work at one of the big conglomerates – using new tools and processes to boot.
PCH’s big customers were traditionally not interested as such in the burgeoning hardware startup scene, but nowadays that has changed, Casey says, as evidenced by the interest of big tech companies in attending the demo days of PCH’s hardware startup accelerator, Highway1.
Casey also notes in the interview the growing interest of pure-play software companies in designing and producing accompanying hardware products as they increasingly realise just how closely connected those are in terms of consumer experience and quality control.
Europe is very strong in lean hardware, Casey also said during the interview. Startups from all over the globe apply to Highway1, he notes, but European startups are typically further along in the conceptualisation and prototyping stages when they apply, raising the bar for other applicants.
P.S.: My apologies for the subpar sound – we really need to invest in an external mic.