By Samata Joshi
BU News Service
LAS VEGAS – Velco, a French startup, was the winner of the ShowStoppers LaunchIt event at CES 2018. Velco designs and sells solutions for smarter and personalized urban mobility. They pitched the Wink Bar, the first connected bike handlebar, at the LaunchIt on Monday.
The connected handlebar was also an innovation award winner in the CES Smart Cities category, representing the best navigational aid for bikers. “The Wink Bar improves your daily bike ride,” said Johnny Smith, co-founder and CMO for Velco. GPS-assisted navigation, headlights, and geolocation of your bike in case of theft or loss are key features of the handlebar along with data collection, accident detection and fleet management, he added. In 2017, Velco sold over 450 handlebars and projects to sell around 74,000 by 2021 globally.
ShowStoppers LaunchIt, now in its sixth year, opens the floor every year for startups to exhibit at Eureka Park and pitch their products in front of potential investors and retailers. This year 12 startups were selected out of 110 to pitch in front of four judges — Nicholas Zaldastani, Zaldastani Ventures; Marita McGinn, manager of hardware products, Indiegogo; Sharona Justman, co-founder of STEP strategy advisors; Arthur Rubinfeld, founder of AIRVISION. The participants were given four minutes each to pitch their product, following a Q&A from the judges on their product’s business plans, demand, and challenges.
The selected finalists covered all kinds of technology—from smart home tech, interactive & active play for children, and smart shoes, to digital health with wearable tech and more. Some of them that stood out were:
- Homey, smart home tech that connects everything at home presented by Athom, a Netherlands-based startup.
- ThirdI camera by Big Boy System, an immersive camera & audio system that records in 3D & streams content to VR tech with a human-like experience. “You feel like you’re living inside someone else’s body, living their experiences,” said the co-founder Samuel Meirlaen about using ThirdI.
- Cardiomo, wearable tech that monitors your cardiac activity and shares analytics. The first batch of Cardiomo tech sold out for $59 each with a $10 subscription model that gives users and their loved ones access to their digital health data, thus potentially helping to save lives. “You’re going to put us in charge of our own bodies,” said Sharona Justman, after the pitch.
- Cinema snowglobes created a flurry of excitement among the crowd with their memorabilia tech product that won the CES Innovation Award for 2018. Sold at $250-$350, the snowglobe uses moving images with the help of 4D, 360 degree video and more to capture “cool memory repositories.”
- SolarGaps that block heat energy with the help of smart solar blinds. SolarGaps claims to reduce 70% of your energy costs and is much cheaper than rooftop solar installations.
The other startups that showcased their products included Cubomania, a startup that uses interactive cubes to help children develop motor skills, logic, mathematics, and financial literacy; Pebby Corp, a robotics company that’s billed as the next generation of pet entertainment; Picoo, a no-screen handheld device for children made with interactive technology and active play; Robomart, that manufactures on-demand, autonomous, self-driving stores for grocery retailers; We.Stream, a secure mobile WiFi hotspot with embedded Cloud-SIM technology to enable unlimited data in 100+ countries; and Zhor-Tech, which pioneers smart shoes.
As the ShowStopper LaunchIt winner, Velco gets exclusive access to present their product at the Showstoppers press-only event at CES 2018, held at the Wynn Hotel on Tuesday, Jan.9, 2018.