PCH to bring hardware start-ups’ tech to 2,000 RadioShack stores in US

5 Jun 2014

Pictured: PCH International chief executive Liam Casey

In what could be a major coup for hardware start-ups in its accelerator ecosystem Cork-headquartered PCH has secured a major deal to bring PCH Access companies’ products to 2,000 RadioShack stores on special terms.

The move comes as part of the launch of RadioShack Labs, a collaboration to support inventors and start-ups who want to bring their inventions from the lab or garage direct to the store.

PCH, headed by Corkman Liam Casey, works with major technology companies including Apple and Beats, to organise the design, supply chain and logistics of consumer electronics products.

Increasingly the company has been focusing on working with start-ups, including Dublin-based wearable technology company Lumafit and modular electronic kit start-up LittleBits, through its accelerator arm.

As part of the deal with RadioShack, PCH Access companies will be granted special terms to create a direct path for their goods to 2,000 RadioShack stores as well as preferred positioning on RadioShack.com.

“It’s long been our belief that innovation and collaboration go hand-in-hand. As we transform RadioShack, it’s important that we simplify and streamline the channels that encourage inventors and entrepreneurs to join us in the retail environment,” said Joe Magnacca, chief executive officer of RadioShack.

“We see so many exciting consumer products coming from startups and we want these differentiated products in our stores. Traditionally, big retailing requires big inventory, but we can improve our supply chain and be a more nimble partner.”

“PCH has a proven track record of bringing unique ideas and products to market.  We have been closely collaborating with them since January of this year. With the combination of new retail terms that support innovative startups, and PCH’s experience in manufacturing, packaging and delivering product direct to stores, we believe we can rejuvenate our retail offerings.”

There is detail in retail


Pictured: PCH chief executive Liam Casey

Founded in 1996, Casey has built up his company, PCH International, to be one of the most crucial supply chain and delivery providers for some of the major global tech brands. For example, it is the only non-Taiwanese final assembly company to be listed on Apple’s global supplier list.

Working across the entire technology spectrum, the company completes the design and delivery of products from Beats’ Dr Dre headphones to cutting-edge smartphones arising out of emerging Chinese phone maker Xiaomi.

“Every day we talk to startups and see new products,” said Liam Casey, founder and chief executive officer of PCH.  “But the retail model, which demands large capital in the channel, doesn’t typically work for startups and this hurts innovation.

“Together with Joe and the RadioShack team, we looked at removing the barriers that prevent unique products from getting on to shelves, and as a result created a partnership that supports product innovation, while freeing up capital that would otherwise be tied up in the inventory channel.”

Through its established program, PCH Access, PCH has brought unique products to market such as LittleBits, the popular modular electronics kits, which will be in select RadioShack stores in late summer.

“This announcement is a big deal for hardware startups,” Ayah Bdeir, founder and chief executive officer of LittleBits explained.

“Ever since we launched LittleBits, we’ve received calls from big box retailers wanting to carry our products, and we’ve said no because we didn’t want to deal with the inventory burden, the return policies and the financial exposure.

“Plus, I’ve been wary about the amount of time agreements take to put in place. I think a startup friendly retail partner has the potential to transform brick and mortar by bringing in new talent and a much needed breath of fresh air.”

Radioshack image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years