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Crowdfunding Hardware With a Helping Hand From GE

The Mimo Baby Suit is one of eight products raising money on Dragon Innovation's new crowdfunding site.
The Mimo Baby Suit is one of eight products raising money on Dragon Innovation's new crowdfunding site.Photograph courtesy of Rest Devices Inc

One of the biggest headaches on crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo is vaporware: hardware projects that never materialize or arrive much later than their creators promised. It happens when creators don’t have a grip on the cost or complexity of manufacturing. CNNMoney found last year that 42 of the 50 Kickstarter projects that raised the most money didn’t ship on time.

Dragon Innovation today is opening its own crowdfunding site to fund more products and less vaporware. The four-year-old company, with a staff of 20 split between Lexington, Mass., and China, helps hardware makers turn their prototypes into products, including by connecting them to factories overseas. Now it will help them raise money online, too—and potentially introduce them to such companies as General Electric and Qualcomm, says Scott Miller, Dragon’s chief executive. He’s a veteran of iRobot who led the team that made the Roomba vacuum.