Startups

A new hardware tech meetup is coming to Philly this October

The group aims to meet monthly and talk practical advice for building, product development and fundraising for hardtech.

Makers at NextFab. (Courtesy photo)

After a few years of virtual networking, Philly’s IRL meetup scene has been ramping up lately. Last month, Technical.ly heard about a new software group called the Philadelphia JavaScript Club, and now, folks in the hardware technology space can add a new reoccurring event to their calendars, too.

Organizers behind a hardware meetup that already has roots in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco are setting up shop here: The Philly Hardware Meetup will gather for the first time on Thursday, Oct. 20, at NextFab’s South Philly location.

Nate Padgett, who runs the Bay Area meetup, worked with Philly-based Don Pancoe and Chris Fortunato to get this Philly chapter off the ground. Pancoe is a designer and engineer behind Kapsul, a smart air brand that he’s worked on at NextFab for some time.

The trio knew a community of hardware professionals and hobbyists existed in the Philadelphia area. Coming out of lockdown era of the pandemic, they were looking for a regular event to gather folks in the space and work through practical problems like fundraising for hardtech, and working through product development.

The first meetup, on the 20th, will be a mix of mingling with food and drinks, and talks from hardtech founders such as Julia Anthony, the president and CSO of SOLUtion Medical, and James Brodovsky, cofounder and CEO of robotics company Tergeo Technologies. The night will allow room for community announcements, networking and socializing, which is how Padgett says future events will probably go, too.

A recent San Francisco Hardware Meetup. (Photo courtesy of Nate Padgett)

Though healthcare technologies and software sometimes dominate the tech scenes in local communities (like Philly’s), each new chapter brings their own “unique flair” to what the hardware scene looks like, Padgett said. For Philly and Pennsylvania, that’s often medical devices, some manufacturing of consumer goods and robotics out in Pittsburgh.

The 2022 Maker Faire slated for Saturday, Oct. 15, is also a testament that the maker and hardtech community in Philly is strong, the co-organizer said. The national Maker Faire organization shut down in 2019, but Philly organizers kept the regional event going.

“The fact that Philly is still organizing it is a testament to it in the city. It’s dried up a lot of places,” he said. “That’s representative of the community picking up slack and continuing to meet.”

The goal of the Philly Hardware Meetup is to gather monthly or at least every other month, organizers said. While they’re starting at NextFab in October, they plan to move around the city to different locations, venues and company offices in the scene.

“We are going for a very casual vibe, sort of the opposite of the super corporate meetups and events you see sometimes,” Padgett said. “We’re really excited to get this started.”

Register here
Companies: NextFab
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