Lock8 Scores Major Coup with Foxconn Manufacturing Deal

By David Knight |

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The past 12 months have seen a definite upswing in the creation of, and interest in, hardware startups. Such startups, of course, present a rather different set of challenges to their more prevalent software equivalents – chief among which is large-scale manufacturing.

Up till that point, the two types run along a reasonably similar path: Pre-product work and creating a prototype. With software, the next step is simple: release it to the public. But with hardware, you need to find the resources and expertise to build a large number of (high-quality) units before you can start earning any revenue.

It represents a serious obstacle, then, to a hardware startup’s success. An obvious solution is to team up with existing large-scale manufacturers, and they don’t come much larger-scale than Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics.

So it’s no wonder that the Lock8 team is delighted about inking a deal with Foxconn to mass produce their smart bike locks.

The startup won the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield contest in Berlin last year and has since seen interest in its product soar. The lock essentially works as a docking station and can be controlled via smartphone, alerting the user if someone tries to interfere with it, including emitting a piercing alarm.

As well as the obvious usecase for individual bike owners, especially in Western Europe’s bike-friendly cities, there has been plenty of interest form bike-sharing communities around the world. With Lock8 far from the only product in the smart bike lock space, getting onto the market early and in a big way is vital to whoever is going to dominate. That makes securing a partnership with Foxconn a notable success for Daniel Zajarias and Franz Salzmann, the two co-founders of Lock8 parent company VeloLock which is based in London and Berlin.

It’s a point emphasized by Zajarias: “This is unique, as Foxconn never usually partners with young companies. The reason for their decision was mainly due to that Lock8 has experienced an avalanche of requests.”

“We are proud that our manufacturing partners will invest time and resources into us,” added Salzmann. “They share our belief that Lock8 will create a global and unique bike sharing network.”

Foxconn is probably best known for manufacturing Apple products – as well as a suicide scandal which has repeatedly hit the headlines since 2010 – but it also works with Google, Microsoft, Dell, Cisco and Blackberry.

The partnership announcement comes after the Lock8 team appeared on stage at Berlin’s Apple Store on Friday alongside their angel investor Christophe Maire.