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Five stand-out start-ups from CES 2012

Monday, 16 January 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show have wrapped up with start-ups given a new bespoke exhibition area in which to stand out from the crowd.

 

Spanning two large rooms, Eureka Park was quite far away from the main convention centre and most of the exhibitors so that start-ups weren’t overshadowed by major industry players.

 

“Eureka Park will be the premier destination at the show where retailers, venture capitalists, manufacturers and other key attendee groups can find the budding entrepreneurs, fledgling start-ups and homegrown innovation,” the Consumer Electronics Association said in a statement.

 

“CES attracts the world’s top electronics manufacturers and retailers, so you’ll reach a key, global business audience all in one place.”

 

StartupSmart identifies some of the start-ups that stood out at CES this year:

 

Roamz

 

After launching the Roamz app at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last year, Sydney entrepreneur Jonathon Barouch attended CES to show off version two of the app.

 

Roamz is a location-based app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, providing users with personalised and relevant recommendations of nearby attractions, restaurants, etc. by using the social web.

 

“There are very few intelligent apps that curate data and learn from a user’s interaction. There are even less apps that do this in real-time and with real-time social data,” Barouch says.

 

“With Roamz, we make sense of the noise and point out relevant data to each individual based on their interests, social graph and activity history.”

 

According to Barouch, attending events such as CES, and being able to demonstrate the Roamz technology, enables the start-up to meet “the right people” and build global awareness.

 

Opena Case, Quad Lock

 

Melbourne entrepreneurs Rob Ward and Chris Peters also attended CES in the hope of making a name for themselves and their iPhone-inspired products.

 

“Based on our online sales, the US is already our biggest market,” Ward told StartupSmart last week.

 

“While in the US at CES and MacWorld, we are hoping to raise the profile of our existing product, the Opena Case, and introduce the Quad Lock.”

 

The Opena Case is an iPhone case that doubles as a bottle opener, while the Quad Lock is an iPhone mount that attaches to prams, bicycles, etc.

 

“Another aim is to secure distribution deals with the big US retailers,” Ward says.

 

Modular Robotics

 

Based in the United States, Modular Robotics has created a robot construction kit, which proved to be a popular attraction at Eureka Park.

 

Users build their robot by snapping together powerful cubes, referred to as Cubelets.

 

Each Cubelet has a different function. Black ones, for example, are sensors, and the colorful ones are “thinking” Cubelets that react to the sensors. The user controls their robot with hand gestures.

 

“We had an investor offer us $10 million,” Modular Robotics’ Mark Gross told CNET.

 

Blippar

 

Based in the United Kingdom, Blippar is a smartphone app that uses the phone’s inbuilt camera to recognise things in the real world and provide the user with digital connections, information or interactive entertainment.

 

After winning a competition in November, the Blippar team was sponsored by UK Trade and Investment to attend CES, receiving free accommodation and a prime-site stand.

 

“Perhaps the easiest way to sum up the whole CES experience from the Blippar perspective is to quote one visitor… who proclaimed us ‘the most blipping awesome thing’ he’d seen at CES this year,” Blippar wrote in a blog.

 

“So as yet another CES finishes for the many established consumer global brands, here’s hoping that with continued hard work, this will hopefully have been the first of many more for our company.”

 

Flotsam

 

Flotsam, a Hong Kong-based company that makes stands for iPads and other tablets, was less than impressed with its location, as Eureka Park is separate to the main convention centre.

 

“They said, ‘Are you selling in America?’ I said no and they said, ‘Then you can go to Eureka Park’. I wanted to pay more not to be here,” Flotsam’s Tim Abbott told CNET.