Despite its name that stands for Pacific Coast Highway, PCH International is not all that well known in the Bay Area. That could be about to change as this China-centric company opens a new base in San Francisco’s trendy design district to help startups go from product concept to production and delivery.
The visionary behind PCH, Liam Casey, was in the Bay Area this week from Shenzhen to launch an accelerator to work with hardware startups on getting their products commercially ready. Several entrepreneurs with projects that have sprung from the incubator and are still in stealth mode were on display. They ranged from a New York-based startup that designs jewelry to connect to smartphones and notify users of calls with a subtle light to a San Jose-based young business that has designed an electronics solution for more efficient solar setups.
What’s different about this accelerator from so many others in San Francisco’s bustling tech scene is that the concentration is on hardware startups. That may sound boring compared with mobile gaming, but hardware takes in such nifty areas as the Internet of things, 3D printing, smartphone-connected gadgets and wearable devices for monitoring sleep, weight and exercise.
Hardware startups have a tough time ramping up for a couple of reasons. They aren’t the focus of venture capitalists who regard them as riskier investments than software businesses. Less than 8 percent of investments are in hardware compared with nearly …