Back in 2013, bothered by impossibly high minimum order quantities for bleeding-edge parts, Ron Justin convinced a friend to help launch GroupGets. Today, the company is facilitating group buys for electronics engineers, innovators, and manufacturers around the globe.
C. J. Abate (Elektor Business): You are an electrical engineer and inventor. Tell us more.
Ron Justin: I’m an EE whose career has ranged from high-end R&D to low-cost consumer devices. Having some involvement with TrackR, Inc. when it first started gave me the confidence to start and bootstrap GroupGets.
C. J.: What is GroupGets?
Ron: GroupGets is a two-sided group buying platform. Anyone is free to initiate group buys for existing products. Businesses are free to sell products to group buyers. Since our core team consists of product developers and hardware enthusiasts, it was inevitably built in our image and those are the type of users that it attracts.
C. J.: What was the impetus for launching the company?
Ron: I wanted to buy some ASICs that were only sold by the wafer back in 2013. Since I couldn’t afford a full wafer, which was over $100,000, I wanted to crowdfund it, but couldn’t find an existing platform to let me do it. It was frustrating because there were many platforms that would let you crowdfund a new product idea, but not for anything already on the shelf. So, our base use case is to crowdfund access to things with really high minimum order quantities like bleeding-edge ICs. Now people use it to fund production runs of boards and in other ways we never foreseen.
C. J.: Tell us about your current team. Are you hiring?
Ron: We are lean and mean and still in the single digits. We are planning a small hiring round soon though. We have a network of US-based contractors that we’ve worked with in our other jobs for over a decade, so we rotate them in when a surge is needed. GroupGets is mostly just a network of friends making things happen.
C. J.: What differentiates GroupGets from competitors?
Ron: We’re not just another KickStarter clone. We insist that products in our campaigns exist, and we vet them and the manufacturer. We create custom products in-house when we see opportunities to lower technology gaps for campaign products for our backers. We also help some of our campaign initiators get their PCB produced more efficiently by leveraging our components buying volume to get their parts cheaper. We also introduce them to our contract manufacturing network if desired.