The problem with crowdfunding projects is that you can never know which ones to trust. They all look great on paper, but making new products with limited resources can be challenging for some startups — assuming they don’t plan to rip off excited buyers in the first place. But there are great projects coming out of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and retailers are starting to pay attention to them. Amazon already set up its own virtual shop for startups, and Best Buy is about to follow suit.
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The company on Monday announced its Best Buy Ignite initiative, which will let customers try out brand new crowdfunded products in its retail stores, as well as giving them the ability to order some of them online.
“Key features of the program include dedicated store space for products and services from startups; a new section on BestBuy.com where customers can browse, learn about, and purchase the newest products from startups; and a partnership with PCH, a product innovation company that works closely with startups to help get their products into consumers’ hands, faster and at a lower cost,” the company said in a press release.
The first Ignite space will open for business in the new Mountain View Best Buy store. It’ll include a selection of crowdfunded gadgets including the Tangram smart rope, Flic smart button, RoBo 3D printer, Zuli Smartplug, and Noke Bluetooth padlock.
The Ignite space will also feature Under Armour tech and music-related gadgets.
Buyers outside of the Bay Area will be able to find products from hot startups online at BestBuy.com, but also in hundreds of Best Buy stores nationwide.
The full press release follows:
Best Buy Brings Leading Startups, Innovators to Consumers Like Never Before
For more than 50 years, customers have relied on Best Buy to help them learn about and enjoy consumer electronics. Now Best Buy’s Ignite program gives customers access to even more of the latest technology from some of the world’s most inventive entrepreneurs and startups in consumer electronics.
Key features of the program include dedicated store space for products and services from startups; a new section on BestBuy.com where customers can browse, learn about, and purchase the newest products from startups; and a partnership with PCH, a product innovation company that works closely with startups to help get their products into consumers’ hands, faster and at a lower cost.
Revamped Silicon Valley Store
A new Ignite space in the new Mountain View Best Buy store (which opened September 16 after relocating from its previous location in Sunnyvale) is designed to give customers an opportunity to discover and learn about some of the newest tech products on the market.
The Best Buy Ignite space currently features three experiences:
• A selection of crowd-funded gadgets from startups, including the Tangram smart rope, Flic smart button, RoBo 3D printer, Zuli Smartplug and Noke Bluetooth padlock – all of which are also available on BestBuy.com
• Wearable technology showcasing the latest from Under Armour
• Audio showcasing Muzik, smart and connected headphones, and Bragi, wireless smart earphones
For customers outside of the Bay Area, other startup products can be found online and in hundreds of Best Buy stores nationwide. Examples include the Anova precision cooker and Fizzics draft beer system, Keen Home smart vent, Petcube pet camera and Luma Home Wi-Fi system. Many stores will also have the Mevo live event camera, SkyLab camera stabilizers and Prynt instant photo printer.
Best Buy’s partnership with PCH will make it easier and quicker for Best Buy customers to get their hands on startups’ innovative products, both in Best Buy stores and on BestBuy.com. Now, select startups will be able to take advantage of PCH’s services, including assistance with product development and manufacturing, to packaging and inventory management.
Later this fall, customers will be able to visit a new Best Buy Ignite page on BestBuy.com to browse, learn about, and shop for new products from some of the most innovative startups. The new section will include a variety of gadgets, including many of those currently featured in the Best Buy store in Silicon Valley.
Entrepreneurs and startups interested in participating in Best Buy’s Ignite program don’t need to wait; they can sign up now at https://www.bestbuy.com/ignite/vendors.