Come see August, Electric Imp and more at our SXSW Hardware House

No matter what you think about South by Southwest Interactive, tens of thousands of people still head to Austin, Texas in the Spring to partake of tacos, barbecue and some decidedly weird tech culture when the second and third weeks in March collide. So this year Gigaom and Stage Two have teamed up to throw a celebratory happy hour to honor those who love and build gadgets and connected devices.


On Friday March 13th we’ll have an evening event — The SXSW Hardware House — featuring interviews with Jason Johnson, CEO of August Locks; Hugo Fiennes, CEO of Electric Imp; Sam deBrouwer, Co-founder of Scanadu; and Nick Yulman community manager for hardware and design at Kickstarter, all prepared to share their insights and tips about getting your products off the ground and into consumers hands. They’ll have stories to share about manufacturing, crowdfunding, government regulations and finding the right retail partners.

Between each of these interviews we’ll also have demonstrations from some of the most exciting products out on the market, and some that haven’t even launched yet from companies like Leeo, OMsignal, MetaWear and more. We’re still looking for some demos, so if you are interested fill out this form by the end of this week and we’ll evaluate the applications and let you know if we have room for your demo.

The event kicks off at 6 pm at the WeWork space at Sixth and Congress Ave. at the heart of the SXSW action. We’ll have some space set aside for tables and demos on the first floor for smaller startups and then an elevator ride up we’ll have the main event with tacos, beer, the presentations themselves and even live music for the full South by experience. If you’re into hardware and the internet of things, I hope to see you there.

Kickstarter dumps Amazon Payments in favor of Stripe

Crowdfunding powerhouse Kickstarter is taking its $529 million in annual pledges and moving them to a different payment processor. In a blog post Tuesday, Kickstarter revealed it is ditching Amazon Payments and has selected online and mobile payments specialist Stripe to handle its global credit card payments.

The move means that both making a Kickstarter pledge and running a crowdfunding campaign will be easier since Stripe’s tools will be integrated directly into the Kickstarter site. Project creators will no longer have to create an Amazon Payments business account or wait several days to register. Instead they’ll just enter their bank account details into their Kickstarter profiles, and payments will be deposited directly into their accounts once a project is successfully funded.

Project backers, meanwhile, won’t be redirected to Amazon’s portal or required to log into or create an Amazon account. They’ll just enter their payment details on the project pledge page or call up saved credit card information from their Kickstarter accounts.

Amazon processed U.S. projects only, while Kickstarter relied on other payment processors ] to handle its international traffic. Stripe, however, will become Kickstarter’s global processor. The U.S. card transaction fees will stay the same – between 3 and 5 percent – though international Kickstarter users may see their fee structures change when Stripe’s payments engine goes live for all new projects.

Kickstarter said in the blog post that Amazon has discontinued the version of its Payments platform that it used (Amazon has moved to a new payments system and Kickstarter didn’t make the transition) so it began looking for a new partner. It’s a blow for Amazon because Kickstarter was one of its most high-profile payments customers.

This is a big deal for Stripe, which has been on a tear lately as its easy-to-implement payment tools become the platform of choice for developers and established web brands wanting to get paid. It’s recently landed some high profile-integration work with Twitter, Facebook and Apple Pay as well as a deal to process online transactions for the controversial film The Interview for Sony.

Kickstarter’s founder launches crowdfunding site for charities

Kickstarter’s creator, Perry Chen, wants to tackle a new problem: Fundraising for nonprofits. He’s doing what he does best and is starting a crowdfunding service called Dollar a Day. A new organization is featured on an email newsletter daily, and people who become donors give — spoiler alert — a dollar a day to each program. The purpose is to educate people about the wide range of charities and the issues they support, while simultaneously raising money for said charities.