As a total cartophile, I figured I'd make a map of all the Hardware Startups that I know so people can see the movement spreading. It's pretty crazy how fast the Hardware Startup Movement has been growing - 2013 really looks like the Year of Hardware.
When I first moved to San Francisco back in 2011, I figured there'd already be a hardware meetup in such a booming tech city and was blown away when there wasn't . TechShop let us do our first meetup in their SOMA location, and after 70 people showed up, we quickly found out this this just the tip of the iceberg.
Things really didn't gather steam until after CloudFab was sold, and I was trying to figure out what to do. I started doing more community stuff to get connected - which included having monthly SF Hardware Startup Meetups. The group grew quickly with audiences of over 150 people filling the Jellyfish Art warehouse in the American Industrial Center in the DogPatch and with sponsors like FitBit and Sifteo giving us free beer and food. Soon there was another meetup started in the East Bay run by the guys at Stupid Fun Club.
During the 2012 MakerFaire in San Mateo, I met someone from Shapeways who said there was a guy in New York looking to work with hardware startups: Haytham Elhawary. After we talked, Haytham started the NY meetup, and this got me started thinking about how to grow these meetups to start catalyzing the hardware movement beyond San Francisco. When I noticed other cities were already starting up too, like the DC Meetup, I started asking everyone I knew across the country to start setting them up.
My talk at Sketching 2012 was made last-minute with me starting r/HWStartups the day before, seeding it with hardware news and promotig it through my network. The next day I gave this talk about the hardware startup movement, and Zak from Upverter setup the Toronto meetup during my talk - haha. Also, I posted to the r/HWStartups sub-Reddit asking for volunteers - which yielded the Detroit, Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin hardware meetups.
At this point, it looks like we've got over 3000 members of Hardware Meetups across North America, Haytham is leading the Zahn Center for Hardware Startups at City College, and we're having multiple hardware events at SXSW this year. Pretty amazing stuff - I'm excited to see where this all ends up.
If you're interested in getting involved - please contact me!
 Solid State Startups pre-dates my first meetup by a month or so, but I hadn't heard of it since it was so new and under-promoted at the time, so we (Justin Mares with me) plowed forward.