Snodgrass served as the vice president of innovation for Alcatel-Lucent from 2009-2012 before taking the entrepreneurial plunge. His passion for mobile technologies and innovation eventually led him to found Wearable IoT World in 2013 at the height of the Google Glass buzz.
As a serial entrepreneur, Snodgrass – who will speak at the Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin (20-22 March) – recently dedicated his attention to another industry: media and publishing. In early 2015, Wearable IoT World acquired the tech blog ReadWrite, formerly known as ReadWriteWeb.
If the pairing seems a bit odd, Snodgrass himself explained why he bought the 12 year old tech site: “Our vision is to be the innovation chain for entrepreneurs looking to bring their products to market, for corporations looking to partner with innovative startups, and for governments turning to technology to solve civic problems.”
Wearable IoT World evolves
In the first year after founding Wearable IoT World, it was mostly known for its event series covering Wearable Technology and the Internet of Things.
But Snodgrass had bigger plans and turned his own startup into a startup accelerator. Renting a coworking space at San Francisco’s abandoned Exploratorium location next to the Palace of Fine Arts, Wearable IoT World started investing in seed-stage startups building wearable products and helping them get off the ground.
As of early 2016, the accelerator has hosted 80 startups that spend 15 weeks in the programme. The success of not only his events but also his accelerator programme motivated Snodgrass to expand internationally. In early January 2016 he announced a new investment of US$4.5m to launch the so-called IoT Superhighway programme in Hong Kong, China this spring. Shenzhen, Singapore and Southeast Asia are also on the horizon, with programmes expected to launch later this year.
Searching for the appropriate ReadWrite model
Soon after the acquisition of ReadWrite, the owners took on board the challenge of finding an appropriate business model. As the site was struggling with revenue, Snodgrass and his team decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign to keep ReadWrite alive.
“BringReadWriteback.com” was launched in the summer of 2015, offering memberships to fund the type of tech journalism CEO Snodgrass is hoping to provide.
The site admitted it was struggling, but this move not surprising. It is not much different to the hardware startups in Snodgrass’ Wearable IoT World’s incubator: They often look at crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo for potential investments, so why not ReadWrite?
Snodgrass has developed Wearable IoT World into an ecosystem that not only provides a hub for Wearable Technology and connected devices, but also collaboration with corporates, mentorship and a media and event platform, now expanding globally. It’s these worlds that Snodgrass hopes to further connect in the future.
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