CES 2017: First Impressions of Central Hall & Eureka Park
Hi! Ben @ HAX here! The world’s most active investors in hardware startups. Are you at CES yet? I walked the Central Hall and Eureka Park of CES during set-up so you don’t have to 😉
Here are my first impressions:
1. EUREKA PARK
A MIX OF OLD NEW & NEW NEW
As IoT exploded over the past few years, Eureka Park, the CES “Startup Zone”, has become sort of big deal, with over 600 startups exhibiting this year.
Notable presences were:
- 🇫🇷 French Tech: the gallic banner claims a total of 172 startups (36% of Eureka Park!). That’s an enormous number. Definitely worth checking a second time once they are on display (only posters today).
- 🎪 HAX: that’s us. We counted 78 HAX startups around the show (74 + 4 we did not expect!).
- 🇮🇱 Israel and 🇳🇿 New Zealand had a nice showing.
- 🇨🇳 A flurry of Chinese companies (mostly from Shenzhen and Dongguan) whom I would not consider “startups”: those are OEMs trying to build a brand or to find white label customers. They mostly show how quickly the “bottom” bar is raising in hardware. This is also why we invest mostly in “deep tech” hardware.
- 🔮 TechCrunch booths are likely to be interesting. I’ll check tomorrow again.
If you’d like to see some cool products like:
- a bionic exoskeleton for back pain (Japet)
- an “underwearable” for 🍆 erectile dysfunction (Hisense)
- a serious competitor to the ⚡️ Tesla Powerwall (VoltStorage)
- an autonomous froyo 🍦 machine (Frobot)
and many more… then stop by the HAX booths!
Eureka Park, Sands Lvl 1 Hall G
Booths 51248–51253 & 51639–51645
(Near the TechCrunch booth)
Email email@example.com to book your tour!
Themes: Lifestyle / Health / Robotics / Your choice
2. CENTRAL HALL
ONLY A FEW SURPRISING THINGS (SO FAR)
My two main surprises were:
- Notable presence of “non-tech brands” like UnderArmour and various watch brands.
- Several Chinese companies don’t look Chinese and have pretty slick products. For instance, UBTECH and its robot toys, Makeblock STEM kits (a HAX company selling over 70% outside China), and Ecovacs home robots. Segway — now owned by China’s Ninebot — arguably qualifies as Chinese global company too.
What was less surprising was the even larger number of companies that don’t have a “Shenzhen” name but are betrayed by their average product design, average branding and by products that were innovative 2 years ago. This contingent was already visible last year. Can they break into global markets?
I did not notice other outstanding innovations but let’s remember that:
+ This was a first impression and many booths are still quite empty
+ I am looking for early stage startups. The Central Hall is for more mature companies that typically show “older innovations”.
Notable HAX startups on this floor:
+ Makeblock (Sands 44760) has a nice booth with many products.
+ PetCube (Sands 40750) making tech for your pets — has ahuge booth.
Obviously those two companies are doing VERY well.
Last, if the 🚽 WC line is too long, TOTO — the Japanese high-tech washlet company — has some futuristic toilet with “premist”, “electrolized water” and UV light. Not sure how open-minded they are but it’s worth a try 💩.
Note: Applications to the HAX program starting March 1st are open until January 8th. Apply here!