As the huge tech trade show International CES kicks off in Las Vegas tomorrow, startups will prove that they have a place among the globe’s gadget leaders.
Among the 1.8 million square feet of exhibits this year, CES has carved out a corner for startups called the Eureka Park TechZone at the Venetian. This is the second year of Eureka Park. Over 150 startups will have booths there, and Startup America will be presenting talks and panels on a stage.
“Many times when you’re at a big show like CES, you do feel a little bit like a small fish,” says Peppermint Energy COO Chris Maxwell, who is coming to CES for the second year in a row. He’s grateful to have Eureka Park as a place to meet other entrepreneurs.
Scott Annan of MyCubeSafe is exhibiting at Eureka Park, and hopes to find time to learn about innovations in home security, meet resellers, and connect with VCs.
The Consumer Electronics Association, the trade association behind CES, is also creating a new membership category especially for startups. Early-stage companies will be able to get the mentoring, networking, and promotion that big corporations pay $850 a year for, at a reduced rate of $95. To qualify, startups have to have launched in the past year or be launching in the coming year, and they can hold this special membership for two years.
But CES can still be overwhelming for entrepreneurs. Those 150 startup booths make up a mere 5 percent of the trade show’s 3,000 exhibitors. To make the most out of it, Annan suggests setting clear objectives before the madness starts. And Maxwell recommends getting in touch with people or organizations you know who are attending and setting up meetings in advance.
But others take a more relaxed approach.
“Like any big event, FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, can ruin what would otherwise be a fun experience,” says TroopID cofounder and CEO Blake Hall, who’s exhibiting at Eureka Park. “I’m going to enjoy the conference and focus on the moment. I’ll leave the rest to chance and hard work – the ingredients that make startup life so interesting and rewarding.”
For inquiries about startup membership to CEA, email membership@CE.org.