CES — 160,000 opportunities for your Hardware Startup

Vegas is calling!!! #CES2016

Things are pretty hectic these days at NUA Robotics;

We have finalized our 2.0 prototype in China, pitched in the HAX Demo at San Francisco, came back to Israel and now we head back to the U.S — this time in order t0 present our innovation; world’s first robotic luggage at #CES2016!

The NUA vibe in Shenzhen!!!

CES, the world’s biggest trade show, stands for “Consumer Electronic Show”, and it takes place in Las Vegas. It hosted previews of products and new product announcements and has over 160,000 participants! Over 10,000 companies presenting, 7,000 journalist and endless visitors from VC’s and corporates are traveling to Vegas, alongside many excited hackers and early adopters that are eager to see what’s new in the world of tech!

CES holds many opportunities for early stage hardware ventures like us and in this piece I’ll explore them and give several tips for better utilization of this event.

Market Validation:

Unlike software, hardware product are hard to validate; It is expansive to spread them around, and you cant just send a new version if you want to change it! During a trade show on CES’s scale, the startups’ booths get a lot of traction from potential customers, and that is great opportunity to let many people try the product without leaving the booth!

TIP: Customers feedback are awesome and very important, but observation while they interact with the product is much more important! You can’t get everyone exactly what they want, but you can create a better user experience by diagnosing the customers actions while they try your product!

Meet Potential Partners:

Anyone that is anyone is going to participate is CES — VC’s, Angel , corporates, universities, and other “Eco System Feeder” that can take your company to the next level. It is a great opportunity to get them hooked for your vision !

TIP: In order to get the desired meetings you have to get in touch with any potential partner in advance. The best way is to create a list of the desired stake holders and approach them a few weeks prior to the conference. Personal references are the best way to convert an email into a meeting, but if you lack the network, use cold-emails, LinkedIn , and social media. Use short personal message, with a link to your landing page and the details of your location in the conference, and hope for the best!

A short break from emailing to press, investors, and potential partners!

Learn Your Market and Understand the Competition:

All the players in your market understand the value of participating CES and all of them will be there to present their innovation. It’s a great opportunity to examine your competitors in the real world!

TIP: Search the interesting company’s location in advance, and dedicate some designated time to visit them. Try their products, learn their value proposition and core marketing strategy. If it is an indirect competitors (95% of the time) feel free to present yourself and your company and don’t hesitate to ask questions! You might find that a competitor is a potential partner!

Map of Eureka Park; CES’s startup section

Media coverage:

CES publishes a media list with thousands of journalist from all over the world that arrive in order to cover new technologies that will be launched during the conference. There are different journalists and bloggers from different fields and agendas — Your story will fit many of them!

TIP: Due to the incredible “noise” created by 160,000 people and numerous new technologies that are being launched it might be hard to get an exclusive cover in the conference. Try to use your network, a PR agency, and CES’s media list and approach media prior to the event in order to present your venture before the noise begins! And most important — Don’t forget that every person that approach your booth is a potential blogger so choose your words carefully!

Alex presents our platform to ABC news

Get noticed:

It is hard to stand out in such a crowd, so be different. Your booth, your shirts, your giveaways — try to be memorable, and not by punching your visitors in the face…

TIP: You don’t have to wait for them to come — bring them to you! Prepare some guerilla initiative that will be noticed in different places in the conference, and will lead people to your booth. Besides that — there are many interesting pitching events where you can get noticed just by pitching your awesome idea!

Alex pitch NUA to potantial partners

Pre Sale:

CES prohibits direct transaction during the conference, but if you already have a product or you are in a post-Kickstarter stage you should definitely use CES to collect emails in order to monazite on them later on!

TIP: Use tablets and easy registration tools such as ‘Signupanywhere’ or ‘Unbounce’ for quick conversion of visitors to customers! If you take business card, document them with a reference regarding the conversation!

Additional important tips:

(1) Engage each person with full attention and don’t forget to collect emails from people that are intrigued — this is the community that will support you, and buy your product. Personal treatment can make the difference between and advocate and a denouncer!

(2) There is no “off the record” in such conference — everyone you talk with can be VC, press, or your next partner; keep it in mind and be polite, patient and excited!

You can never know who will visit your booth — in this case; Eric Migicovsky, the founder of Pebble!

(3) The most important thing is to enjoy it! It’s Vegas!

Wish us luck!

Join us at CES and give us some feedback!!

(1) If you are attending #CES2016, come visit us at Sands G -Eureka Park - Booth #80949!

(2) We would also love to get your feedback on our landing page — what do you think of our product? Do you understand it’s value proposition? Be in touch with me @guycherni or @nuarobotics !!!

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