From idea to prototype–Focus Embedded provides electronic design services to start ups

From idea to prototype–Focus Embedded provides electronic design services to start ups

Austin-based Focus Embedded started four years ago after a happy accident.

Back then, a major semiconductor vendor ceased certain operations to support a line of video chips, and its customers became Focus Embedded customers, and word spread.

Now the company, led by CEO Eric Overton, provides electronic design services for other startup companies aimed at getting them from idea to first prototype.

Unlike most entrepreneurs, Overton was lucky to have customers and revenue on day one, so outside funding wasn’t required.

But that doesn’t mean that growing a company is without challenges. Presently, the company is focused on how continue revenue growth and navigating raising its fees.

“We’ve taken too much work at cut rate just to get it, and we have a better value proposition, so we shouldn’t be doing that,”  Overton said. The company does not disclose revenue.

One of its early customers also defaulted on payment, which set the company back, and taught Overton that it is ok to turn down work.

“Keeping the quality of transactions high is critical, and we’re not inclined to get into any more situations that don’t work,” he said.

Focus Embedded has also adopted a “slow to hire quick to fire” policy, since one non-producer in a small company can do a whole lot of damage.

Overton said the Austin Chamber of Commerce has been hugely helpful in raising its profile, which translated to work.

“That’d be our one piece of advice for anybody starting out, ‘Join your local chamber,’” Overton said.

Despite the success of the company to date, Overton admits being an entrepreneur isn’t going to be for everyone, especially those discouraged easily.

“The only guaranteed outcome is the one you get if you quit,” he said.