San Diego’s HardTech Labs Connects Hardware Startups to Mexico Manufacturing Factories

May 22, 2014

HardTech Labs is a hardware accelerator looking to build the future of San Diego and Baja entrepreneurship by utilizing the development talent of San Diego with the implementation experience of Tijuana. HardTech Labs announced Class Zero, featuring 4 startups. These new startups are based in San Diego and Tijuana. HardTech Labs selected the companies based on geographic location, hoping to benefit quick and effective hardware development. HardTech Labs plans to build an unparalleled hardware echo system by combining the intellectual and manufacturing talents available in the San Diego and Tijuana regions.

Co-founders of HardTech Labs believe that American entrepreneurs never considered manufacturing in Tijuana as a hot spot. The labor costs in Tijuana are now similar to that of China and the transfer costs are much cheaper, as well. HardTech Labs also emphasizes that it is easy and cost effective for entrepreneurs to visit the manufacturing locations and help build prototypes. Business owners can come to San Diego and stay for few weeks for a fraction of the cost and time of visiting a Chinese city.

HardTech Labs also believes that the manufacturing talents have improved significantly in the Baja region over the past decade. Today, the region boasts a highly skilled work force for manufacturing hardware units in Mexico. Many experts believe that the potential for building manufacturing operations in Tijuana and surrounding areas in Mexico is real and exciting. The role of Mexico as an alternative to China is promising, especially when a company’s product is in the early stages. The startup company can build prototypes quickly in a nearby Mexican city, such as Tijuana.

HardTech also attempts to build and foster relationships between start-up companies and hardware manufacturers. The company hopes to reduce the initial start-up costs in connecting entrepreneurs directly with talented designers and engineers. HardTech believes that nurturing the process of collaboration between start-ups on the U.S. side and hardware engineers in Mexico will lead to a productive relationship between all stakeholders. This theme is also part of the curriculum designed for start-ups interested in leveraging engineering talents with partners in Mexico. Typically, start-up companies work with HardTech for approximately 12 months, and selected startups will also receive funding from HardTech.
There are several benefits with manufacturing in Mexico, especially in cities such as Tijuana, Mexicali, Juarez and Guanajuato:

• Setup operations within a short time frame of 8 -12 weeks.
• Provide cost savings without impacting the quality of the deliverables.
• Gain the same quality that is available in U.S. manufacturing centers.
• Gain benefits from the favorable trade agreements between Mexico and U.S.
• Utilize a workforce that is less expensive compared to the labor force in the U.S.
• Use English and Spanish as the medium of communication between both sides.
• Close proximity to U.S. allows personnel to travel back and forth between U.S. and Mexico.

The benefits of choosing a partner for manufacturing in Mexico are obvious, and accelerators such as HardTech Labs are trying the bridge the gap in leveraging engineering talent from south of the border.