Best Hardware Startups in SAN FRANCISCO

Hardware startups have steadily increased in number over the past few years, and San Francisco has been at the heart of this particular tech revolution. The city’s rising hardware pioneers are creating products that are designed to impact people’s daily lives through simplicity and innovation. As people continue to opt for speed and efficiency when it comes to almost everything, hardware startups are gaining in popularity. 

Throughout San Francisco, there are numerous hardware startups redefining various aspects of everyday life. While some are developing affordable WiFi and high-tech air purifiers, others are crafting smart security systems and advanced neurotechnology. Through reinvention and ingenuity, these 15 hardware startups in San Francisco are making people’s lives simpler, healthier and safer.  


  • Eero
  • Ouster
  • Molekule
  • Density
  • Loopd
  • Orion Labs
  • Particle

 Tempo Automation

Location: Mission District

Founded: 2013

Focus: Electronics

What they do: Tempo Automation is a low-volume electronics manufacturer powered by proprietary automation software. The company merges data, analytics and automation to deliver new levels of speed, quality and insights necessary for rapid prototyping. Tempo makes it possible for engineers to explore and realize ideas faster, whether they’re building rockets or autonomous cars. 


Location: The East Cut

Founded: 2012

Focus: IoT

What they do: Particle creates tools for engineers and designers to develop new experiences through IoT hardware. The company provides a suite of hardware and software tools to help clients prototype, scale and manage their IoT products. Particle’s hardware is designed to connect devices in minutes, while their Device Cloud offers a secure, scalable and reliable gateway between devices and the web. 


Location: SoMa

Founded: 2014

Focus: Air Filtration

What they do: Molekule has created its own patented technology, Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO), to eliminate indoor air pollution. Providing air purifiers for both large and small spaces, the company’s app allows customers to track filter usage and control fan speeds as they set up and manage multiple devices.


Location: SoMa

Founded: 2009

Focus: Payments

What they do: Square develops various types of hardware to help sellers of all sizes start, run and grow their businesses. The company’s collection of hardware includes a fully integrated point-of-sale terminal, an all-in-one credit card machine for payments and receipts and a simple reader for contactless payment and chip cards. Square also enables customers to sync their data and manage apps from their Square Dashboard. 


Location: South Park

Founded: 2015

Focus: Internet

What they do: Eero provides fast, reliable home WiFi. Accompanied by an app, Eero walks customers through the installation process and allows users to check device usage and diagnose and fix issues. Using TrueMesh software, Eero optimizes for a customer’s space, devices and network usage, providing a seamless, reliable connection for all devices. The WiFi also automatically updates its encryption and security protocols, so customers don’t have to worry about installing security patches. 


Location: Mission District

Founded: 2015

Focus: Sensor Hardware

What they do: Backed by a team of hardware, software, business and manufacturing experts, Ouster develops advanced sensor hardware and vision algorithms for autonomous vehicles, trucks, robots and drones. The company has transformed lidar from an analog device with thousands of components to a digital device powered by one-chip scale laser array and one CMOS sensor, resulting in lidar sensors that offer superior imaging at a lower price. Ouster’s lidar is designed for a wide range of long, short and mid-range applications. 


Location: Chinatown

Founded: 2014

Focus: Computer Vision

What they do: Density has developed a sensor platform that accurately and anonymously counts people in real-time using proprietary depth sensors and deep learning algorithms. The company helps organizations improve efficiency and enhance the occupant experience in buildings, workplaces and real estate. For privacy reasons, Density’s platform doesn’t capture personally identifiable information as a camera would and is built to accurately measure how people use space.


Location: Financial District

Founded: 2013

Focus: Electronics

What they do: Loopd provides physical intelligence to corporate events, helping corporate marketers learn how people interact with each other, with the company and with their products. The company enables event attendees to exchange contact information by pressing a button on the Loopd Badge, which monitors the sessions they attend and the contacts they meet. Loopd’s Analytics Platform gauges the value of networking, reveals an event’s success in real-time and identifies which attendees are key opinion leaders. 

Orion Labs

Location: Mission District

Founded: 2013

Focus: IoT + Wearables

What they do: Orion Labs provides cloud-based enterprise services like alert workflows, indoor positioning, language translation, geofencing and compliance checklists. The Orion Voice Platform enables real-time communication and voice-activated business automations. Orion’s connected devices are compatible with AI workflows and bots, Orion Dispatch Console and other solutions. 


Location: Palo Alto, Greater San Francisco Bay Area

Founded: 2015

Focus: Internet

What they do: Plume has created an intelligent WiFi services platform for smart homes, enabling ISPs to provide their customers with unparalleled WiFi performance, personalization and security. In addition to offering self-optimizing, whole-home WiFi, the company provides AI security for smart homes and personalized guest access with HomePass. 


Location: Potrero Hill

Founded: 2015

Focus: IoT

What they do: Samsara offers a suite of IoT solutions that combine hardware, software and cloud to bring real-time visibility, AI and analytics to operations. The company’s IoT gateways securely connect sensor data to the Samsara cloud and include WiFi and built-in cellular connectivity, storage and flexible interfaces. Samsara also sells camera modules designed to help businesses reduce vehicle accident rates and lower costs, as well as environmental monitors ideal for quality control, loss prevention and compliance monitoring. 


Location: Mountain View, Greater San Francisco Bay Area

Founded: 2019

Focus: Digital Interaction

What they do: Formed out of Leap Motion and Ultrahaptics, Ultraleap has united advanced hand tracking with haptic technology to create the sensation of touch mid-air. The company’s hand tracking software captures the complexity of natural hand movements and works on almost any computer.


Location: Jackson Square / Embarcadero

Founded: 2016

Focus: Air Filtration

What they do: Vitesy builds IoT-powered air purifiers intended for use in homes, schools and offices. The company’s Natede purifier analyzes indoor air quality and removes air pollution, amplifying plants’ phytoremediation to eliminate toxic pollutants. Vitesy will also soon be launching Eteria, a compact diffused indoor air purifier that can connect to smart home devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, providing indoor air quality updates in real-time.


Location: Lower Nob Hill

Founded: 2011

Focus: Bioinformatics

What they do: Emotiv is a bioinformatics company using electroencephalography to advance understanding of the human brain. The company provides a complete neurotechnology ecosystem to measure and leverage brain data at scale, powered by portable, affordable and accessible hardware and cloud-based technology. Emotiv’s technology and interface are applied to a wide range of industries including gaming, market research, psychology, robotics, medicine and transportation safety. 


Location: SoMa

Founded: 2014

Focus: Home Security

What they do: Latch is a fully integrative system of both hardware and software that provides smart access through thoughtful and intuitive design. Their devices are designed to work with every door in a building, enabling users to open doors seamlessly, gain access securely and manage doors digitally. Latch has partnered with companies like UPS and Walmart’s to offer smart deliveries directly inside apartment building lobbies. 


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