Avnet Acquires Boston Hardware Consultant Dragon Innovation

Dragon Innovation, the Boston-area hardware consulting firm, has been acquired by one of its partners, Avnet, for an undisclosed price.

Phoenix-based global distributor Avnet (NYSE: AVT) says it offers a mix of product design and supply chain services. Prior to the deal, Avnet owned a portfolio of seven subsidiaries, and it has been on an acquisition kick over the past year or so. Last year, it bought Premier Farnell, a U.K.-based global distributor of technology products for electronic system design, maintenance, and repair; and San Francisco-based Hackster.io, an online community that helps people learn how to design, make, and program Internet-connected devices.

The Dragon Innovation purchase is aimed at bolstering Avnet’s ability to help customers simplify the manufacturing process, especially for connected devices, Avnet said in a press release.

“Dragon Innovation’s hardware manufacturing expertise augments Avnet’s design and supply chain capabilities beyond electronic components to encompass the entire finished product,” said Avnet CEO Bill Amelio in a prepared statement. “Equally important, Dragon Innovation complements our digital strategy by delivering their services through a combination of software and access to subject matter experts matched to the customers’ needs as they move swiftly through the stages of product development.”

Dragon Innovation and Avnet were already partners. In May, they announced—along with Kickstarter—an initiative called Hardware Studio, which offers product developers access to expertise and resources to design, build, and commercialize their ideas.

Miller

“We are thrilled to be joining Avnet, an established market leader who shares our values and has significant resources and reach to enable us to help companies build hardware better than ever before,” said Dragon Innovation CEO Scott Miller in a prepared statement.

Miller co-founded Cambridge, MA-based Dragon Innovation in 2009. He previously was an executive at Roomba vacuum maker iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT), where he got experience commercializing consumer devices and understanding the global manufacturing and supply process. In 2013, Miller became one of the founding partners of Bolt, the hardware investor and manufacturing consultant. He’s now a Bolt venture partner.

Over the years, Dragon Innovation has helped some well-known hardware companies with their products, including 3D printing firm MakerBot and smartwatch maker Pebble.

Dragon Innovation raised at least $2.5 million from investors, according to SEC filings. Its backers include Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Flybridge Capital Partners, and the Foundry Group.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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