The world’s largest trade show
Over 4,400 companies participated in CES 2019, which took place in Las Vegas from 7 to 10 January. More than 182,000 guests from around the world attended, and 50 Dutch startups were represented at Holland Tech Square, a pavilion for tech companies from the Netherlands.
Inspired by the theme ‘Dutch spirit,’ the pavilion was opened by HRH Prince Constantijn van Oranje and Mona Keijzer, state secretary for economic affairs and climate. The participating companies from the Netherlands represented an array of fields, including digital health, e-commerce, 3D printing, robotics and drones.
Awards and networking
CES provided an opportunity for Dutch startups to engage in valuable networking and receive recognition for their hard work. Mobility company Etergo showcased its electric AppScooter and received the IHS Markit Innovation Award, which honours innovative products. The company also won the Techstars Pitch Competition, which required participants to successfully pitch their products in one minute.
Amsterdam startups used creative means to meet new people and stir up publicity as well. Olisto, a Saas company providing smart connections between products, apps and services, lured potential clients and partners with stroopwafels. A LinkedIn post promoting the tasty giveaway was viewed over 12,000 times, and the sweet treats also made it easier to connect with passersby.
An amazing experience
SwipeGuide, an Amsterdam-based SaaS company that lets users create, publish, distribute and track visual work instructions, showcased its new instruction recommendation engine. This latest addition to its CMS uses machine learning to provide recommendations and feedback, helping users create better instruction guides. Annika Björkholm, head of marketing at SwipeGuide, said the company participated in an “astonishing number of valuable face-to-face meetings with both potential customers and partners during the fair,” and added that “CES is an extraordinary setting for discovering emerging technologies.”
SwipeGuide cofounder Willemijn Schneyder speaks with CES attendees in Las Vegas
Th3Rd, a 3D scanning company specialising in creating digital copies of people and products, also presented its newest offering: 3D scanning as a service. This allows clients to have a scanner installed on-site so they can produce high-quality 3D models that can be used for e-commerce. Esther Bisschop, co-founder of Th3rd, said they were able to meet with “people from big brands that would normally be out of reach for a startup,” including Adidas, Amazon and H&M. The company also connected with Canon USA. “We were in contact with Canon in the Netherlands before,” Esther said, “but Canon USA was far more enthusiastic about seeing if we could partner together. For us, this would be really big, as our 3D scanner uses approximately 120 cameras per set-up.”
Blockchain-powered product authentication and services platform Seal used CES as an opportunity to grow its business network by over 200 companies. Co-founder Bart Verschoor said, “The connections we made were very senior, and we spoke with the leadership of several Fortune 500 companies. The seniority of the people in the crowd surprised us, but in hindsight, that is also the attraction of Eureka Park (an area for startups at CES which housed Holland Tech Square), where the diamonds in the rough can be found.”
For email marketing company SlashLead, CES exceeded all expectations. “On the third day, we had an appointment with a big reseller from the East Coast,” said CEO and founder Fabian Stenger. “They spent almost an hour at our booth, and I showed them our platform, which is a customer attention tool for SMEs that want to increase sales in an easy way. Afterwards, we had additional conversations with them, and we’re now negotiating a contract and expect to have our first customers in the USA in two to four months.” SlashLead also received requests for French, Japanese and Spanish versions of their product, and gained new clients in Europe, Asia and South America.
BrainCreators, which specialises in data annotation, deep learning and machine learning, raised its profile at CES as well. According to co-founder and CEO Jasper Wognum, they signed an NDA with a large global tech company and officially launched BrainMatter, their data annotation platform. Elektor also named BrainCreators one of the event’s most promising startups.