How Early-Stage Startups Can Prepare for Their Big Break

January 29, 2018

4:00 pm

Whether you’re an athlete or early-stage startup founder, getting your big break is a dream for any rookie. But getting noticed by the right people is the just the beginning when it comes to launching your business. And we know just the place.

One of the best places for startups to expand their playbook is to participate in CES 2018 Eureka Park. This is the startup epicenter of CES 2018, where over 900 startups from around the world showcase their latest innovation to over 170,000 people including distributors, investors, leaders, analysts, media and potential partners looking for the next big thing.

Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the producers of CES and Eureka Park, are the brains and brawn behind the Park and are potent partners to get startups in the spotlight. CTA also has a massive global network and startup programs that help their 2,000+ members navigate through everything from daily challenges to government regulations, and create opportunities for founders thrive.

I talked with three founders on how they benefited from having CTA on their roster and reached new heights by tapping into CTA’s network.

Prepare for the Big Leagues

Robbie Cabral, CEO and founder of Benjilock, the first biometric and rechargeable smart lock, is a veteran to Eureka Park and recipient of the 2017 CES Innovation Award. Following the unveiling of his company at Eureka Park 2017, they have been a TechCo Startup of the Year semifinalist, nominated for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, featured on CBS Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, landed a deal from Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, and more.

“From participating in Eureka Park 2017, I learned that the show can become a bit overwhelming, but if you are able to keep it positive and have perseverance, it is a great platform not only to network, but to create great working relationships,” Cabral said.

Get Your Playbook Together

The quote “knowledge is power,” often attributed to Francis Bacon from his writings Meditationes Sacrae in 1597, definitely resonates with founders, Most because gaining knowledge about your market, landscape, and competitors, is a key way to gain strength and momentum. With the help of CTA, startup teams have access to insight information in their respective verticals that could guide critical decisions.

Sunil Koduri, cofounder and Chief Listener of Zsolutionz, a software company developing a computer vision and machine learning product for the health and wellness space called Zofie based on fuzzy logic, said gaining information from the industries has helped him realize opportunities.

“[Through] CTA, you have access to wealth of consumer research reports, discounts for seminars and conferences such as CES, and networking opportunities with industry professionals through the CTA Mentor program,” Koduri said.

Add Mentors to Your Roster

Regardless of one’s stage, mentors are a must have for any founder. Through the CTA Mentor program, these individuals can help founders foresee roadblocks and challenges, work through regulations, offer perspectives, help one fine tune pitches and asks, introduce them to the right people, and more.

Jeff Gindin, President of Cycling Designs, a retrofit cycling helmet kit that allows cyclists to view what’s happening in front and behind them on the road, benefited from the Mentor program by helping him navigate through product distribution challenges.

“I am a big proponent of the mentorship program. I needed to resolve how I was going to distribute my product. I met with five or six ‘high powered, knowledgeable people.’ You will get answers and they might not be what you expected. The answers might not even be consistent from one mentor to another,” Gindin said.

 

“I [received] very good advice. I am still in contact with some of the mentors three years later. I found that I not only had to hone my question, but I had to give the background information (i.e. who am I, what have I created, why it will work in the market place, etc.) in as brief a time as possible to spend the bulk of the time discussing the specific issue.”

Cabral mirrors this sentiment, as mentors have been instrumental in helping him learn new aspects of the tech industry.

“Mentorship, it’s one of the keys to my success,” Cabral said. “Having mentors and advisors from other industries is very valuable as I am able to learn about the economy and other business sectors. It is great to have someone I can contact that is on my side, especially in a sea of sharks. After all, it is uncharted territory for me, so to have a mentor that has traveled a similar journey to support mine is very valuable.”

Build Your Team of Advocates

Founders can’t do it alone, they need support systems and know they aren’t ones dealing with daily struggles. Founders have benefited from participating in the CTA Startup Working Group,  specifically designed to help startups get over the challenges during the journey, share information and expand their global network.

Having a group of people who have been there, done that, and share that experience can be another tool for success.

“By participating in CTA Startup Working Group monthly discussions, I’ve been able to learn about various programs around marketing, media opportunities, market research, and legislative activity that impacts small business and startups,” Koduri said.

Making it in the big leagues takes a strong team and experienced people that are willing to roll up their sleeves, dust you off when you fall and get you back in the game.

“Invest in your company’s future by joining CTA. You won’t regret it,” Koduri said.

Read more about startups showcased from CES Eureka Park 2018 here.

Learn more about becoming a CTA Member here

CTA is offering a phenomenal discount on membership for startup companies. For a flat rate of $95/year, companies have access to free consumer research and sales forecasts, mentoring, media support, networking opportunities with industry giants, and more. To qualify, companies must have a North America business presence, annual revenue under $1M, and be in development of a product or service that has launched in the past year or plans to launch in the upcoming twelve months.

The article was brought to you in partnership with Consumer Technology Association, the producers of CES. 

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.

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