Startup companies have transformed the way innovative science is
conducted worldwide. The timeline of a startup is mainly established
by a group of engineers or practitioners, who identify a market need
and develop an innovative product or service to meet that need.
Funding is typically the next step, and depends on the prospects
and potential popularity of the product. Such prospects imply the
decisions about design and product implementation are the sole
responsibility of engineers, while investors (whose background might
have nothing to do with the market need the startup aims to address)
choose whether or not to invest in the product.
In the past, most engineering products would be designed and
produced almost exclusively within an industrial organization.
Engineers would be hired to innovate within the limits of the
organization employing them. One key moment changing this trend
in the semiconductors industry was in 1957. Eight engineers at
Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory (SSL) of Palo Alto, CA decided to
leave SSL and seek out funding for their own project. These eight (also
called the “Traitorous Eight” by William Shockley, then the company’s
director) managed to reach a funding agreement with Sherman
Fairchild, a U.S. businessman and inventor, to create Fairchild
Semiconductor in Sunnyvale, CA. Fairchild Semiconductor quickly
became the leader in the emerging semiconductor industry and a
driving force in creating Silicon Valley. Fairchild’s semiconductors
and its engineers also represented the seed for the creation of other
semiconductor companies, including AMD and Intel.
Our everyday lives have benefited enormously from tech-oriented
startups; examples include Uber, Dropbox, and Snapchat, as well as
Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft. The startup model favors
private and group initiatives, and will continue to be a source of
innovation for years to come as more and more people gain access to
higher education and the Internet.
How Startups Changed
the Way We Do Science
with clients from around the world.
Wyliodrin helps users program embedded devices through a browser
on any computer. The platform offers
remote programming in multiple
languages, as well as a language for
visual programming, accompanied
by a series of tutorials for beginners.
It supports many mainstream processors, including Intel Edison, Intel
Galileo, Intel IoT Devkit, Raspberry
Pi, BeagleBoneBlack, Arduino, chip-KIT, BrickPi, Rapiro, Grove, GrovePi,
and Uni Pi.
The Wyliodrin concept emerged
from Innovation Labs mentoring sessions. It was where we decided to abandon a tourism-related idea in favor of
a platform to facilitate programming
for makers from all walks of life. Given
our engineering background and passion for technology, the team, the idea,
and its implementation still represent
a thrilling adventure. Our greatest
challenge was the ambitious business-development plan we created with help
from Innovation Labs mentors.
Networking and visibility through
Innovation Labs opened the door to
success for Wyliodrin; as a first step,
we were accepted and ultimately won
the How To Web 2013 contest in Bucharest, then followed with a week of
mentorship in the U.S. Going to the
U.S. was an unexpected turning point
for the team, an achievement that motivated us toward startup-building
and software-development work. Wyliodrin is proof that innovation is more
than a big idea, but also a road from
concept to product that teams travel
with perseverance and an attentive eye
to user experience.
Răzvan Rughiniș is a professor in the Department
of Computer Science at the University Politehnica
of Bucharest and a co-founder of the Tech Lounge
Association. Since 2013, he has coordinated the
Innovation Labs prototype-development program,
empowering tech founders to realize their vision and
connecting Romanian universities to the world wide digital
innovation ecosystem. The “Traitorous Eight.”
Solar-sector startups attract the greatest
investment in Africa, with $61.1 million.