Bologna, Italy

Design for Hardware Startups

blended course
when 25 April 2022 - 25 September 2022
language English
duration 22 weeks
fee EUR 3800

Tobia Repossi guides you to work with startups or to build your own consumer product.

Intensive course 50% VR - 50% classroom learning.

5 x 1 hour online lessons (5 days)

5 x 1 hour in Bologna (6 days with 2 full field trip days).

3 field trips to Bologna, Milan, Florence.

Minimum attendance of 7 students.

Course leader

Tobia Repossi is a designer with twenty years of experience in product design for furniture, electronic appliances, and accessories. He has worked for major Chinese market-leading companies as well as European and American brands and for dozen of startups

Target group

Dedicated to Industrial and Product Designers who want to familiarise themselves with the booming world of electronic appliance startups.

Basic conceptual sketch knowledge.
Basic knowledge of what is inside everyday things and a passion for dismantling them.
Basic knowledge of the world of crowdfunding.
Basic knowledge of parametric 3D software such as Rhino, Solidworks, Onshape.
Basic knowledge of materials and techniques.
A passion for making and experimenting.
Attitude for learning by doing.

Course aim

VR part


Presentation of the lecturer and guest speakers.

Hardware is Hard

No cliché has ever been truer than this: “Hardware is Hard.” 

Too many hardware startups fail to deliver on their promises by spending too much time on the technical aspects of their product rather than their business as a whole. 

There’s a bit of disagreement on just how tough the startup world really is. So how many business dreams die quickly on the vine? 

Forbes Magazine says it’s 90 percent. The Wall Street Journal says it’s 75 percent.
The actual numbers don’t matter. What does matter is realizing that founding a hardware company with a great product idea is only the start. You’ve got to finance it, manufacture it, market it and sell it. Not keeping a close eye on any of these aspects can make the difference between success and failure.

Case Histories.

Planet Centred Design

Values and issues about the responsibility of a designer towards the planet.

Shifting from Human-Centered Design to Planet Centered Design.

Sustainability and different points of view on innovative design for a better world.

Design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA) and for Disassembly.

Make a successful product 

Your 3D product design model might look stunning enough to be in an art museum, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to make a great product. 

Simple design questions and methodologies that can make or break a new consumer product.

A “Hall of Shame” of epic product design failures executed by extremely talented and well-funded teams. 

Intellectual Property

The value of the intellectual property (IP) today in the hardware startup space is critical, especially when dealing with suppliers all over the planet. If they were to share your IP with your competitors, they could get an equivalent product to market before you on the back of your hard work and innovation.


A chat with Yoann Boudou, Product Developer from Supernova Innovation China.

Ship today rather than refining and ship tomorrow.

Common startup mistakes versus success stories in 10 years of product managing experience in China.

Crowd Funding

A chat with Bojan Smiljanic, Designer and Crowd Funding expert about his products on Kickstarter and how to work with hardware startups.

Build a Successful Startup

A chat with Andrea Carbone, Strategy Consultant from Clientfinder Italy

Classroom learning

Materials for Hardware Products

An overview of the most used materials in hardware products:


Ceramic and Glasses

Metals and alloys


Technologies for Hardware Products

Injection and gas-moulding

Rotational moulding

Sheet metal bending and shaping

CNC and soft tooling

Finishing tools and technologies

Digital Fabrication

An overview of the most used technologies used in digital fabrication.

Modern CAD for Product Design

How to use modern cloud and connected CAD machines to improve and speed up the production process.

A Chat with a PTC tutor about Onshape®

Collaboration and Data Management

86% of companies say they need to reduce errors resulting from working on the wrong version of a design or receiving important project information too late. 

An overview of the critical role that data management plays at every stage of the product design and manufacturing process.

Mechanical Analysis

An overview of the most useful cloud-based services for FEM and how to verify your product before delivery.


How to apply agile prototyping taking advantage of multiple modern technologies and services.

Generative Design

An overview of the software and methodologies involved in Generative Design and Topological Optimization with Paramatters®

Design Management

An overview of the most used communication and management tools used by startups with Trello® and Slack®.

Visualisation Tools

An overview of the most used render engines with Keyshot® and Reality Server®.

Case History 1 Audio Products

A chat with James Bertuzzi, entrepreneur and owner of Status Audio USA.

Case History 2 Video Products

A chat with Durlabh Jain, entrepreneur from Coolr Group USA.


Fee info

EUR 3800: What's Included:

Oculus Quest® 2 VR headset.

Accommodation in Bed & Breakfast or guesthouse with breakfast included for 7 nights (rated 'Excellent')

Lunches during lesson days.

Assistance in Italy and booking management with qualified English speaker.

Weekly travel insurance.

Certificate of attendance.

Invitation letter.

PCR Test.

Consumable material for classes.

Tickets for museums and venues.

Breakfast is included in the accommodation.

Dinners and lunches during field trips will be at your expenses.

Please let us know if you any special requirements/allergies.

Transportation to and from the accommodation and field trips.