“Hardware is hard” has been a mantra in Silicon Valley over the past few years. Creating a successful hardware company isn't impossible, but it provides many challenges that software companies don't have to deal with: establishing a supply chain, sourcing rare metals for components, dealing with international tariffs, building prototypes, etc. And on top of all that, hardware companies also have to integrate all the software that makes their product operational.
Startup Mason wants to make it easier for companies to build out their hardware product and bring it to market. On Wednesday, Mason announced it raised a $25 million Series A funding round.
For well-known companies like Peloton, Square and Nest, part of their business relies on the idea they've brought into the world. But another part relies on how well their physical product actually works. In each case, a company could have a great idea, but if the hardware is shoddy (let's say that it has trouble connecting to the internet or the system keeps crashing), the entire business takes a hit.
So Mason helps companies build and scale smart hardware products by providing the mobile infrastructure (which includes hardware, software and related services). It can help take an idea and turn it into a prototype in just a few days. Mason CEO Jim Xiao told Built In that it can launch and ship a product twelve times faster than Apple can, so hardware doesn't have to be a bottleneck for companies creating a smart product.
“Our advantage is speed,” Xiao said, “We're not trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we're in the business of making chariots.”
Additionally, Mason places an emphasis on sustainability and making its products eco-friendly. That's a big deal given the fact that a significant portion of electronic hardware ends up in landfills, harming the neighboring areas. Mason's products can be recycled and refurbished, and transparency in sourcing is paramount to the company.
Mason was founded in 2015. It grew 4.5x its first year, and then 6x its second year. While the company is able to stay profitable, Xiao figured that now was a good time to raise funding. He told Built In that the $25M Series A will be the fuel Mason needs to grow exponentially.
The company has already partnered with businesses in healthcare, retail, restaurants and logistics, but Xiao wants to extend Mason's reach deeper into those industries, as well as new ones.
“We’ve seen the incredible impact dedicated devices can have across every major industry, but there have always been major roadblocks going to market,” Xiao said in a statement. “Our goal is to remove those barriers and make delivering game-changing software on dedicated hardware easy and affordable.”