The CES has established itself as the place to be for innovative minds, and in particular for French start-ups, France having made the choice to go there en masse. The South region has announced its intention to inflate even more the presence of local young shoots, so it was particularly interesting to listen to Bertrand Bigay expose his return from Las Vegas at a meetup Tuesday night.
Bertrand Bigay is one of the leaders of P.Factory, a private and regional start-up accelerator that has carried 80 projects. In Las Vegas, his playground was Eureka Park, the huge basement of an exhibition hall, hosting nearly 900 start-ups. « Of the 900, there are nearly 300 French and among them 50 from the South. Forty was funded by the Region, three by Ubifrance and three (Qwant, 3DRudder and Vulog) had settled by their own means. There are also opportunities on corporate booths such as those from CEA, Crédit Agricole or La Poste, which also host start-ups « .
Only Two Years
But be careful not to settle too soon. A start-up can only exhibit in Eureka Park for two years, after which it will be necessary to take a stand in another and much more expensive exhibition hall. In the eyes of Bertrand Bigay, timing and purpose are two key factors for success in CES. He advises people interested to go there once before. And especially to define their goal, which can vary from one year to another.
It may be to sell, but in this case it is necessary for the product to be ready and to be ready to be sold internationally (certifications, …). This was not the case for a good half of the start-ups present. But it may also be a question of going there to measure the stakes and to know well its competition, so as to understand the gap to be crossed to succeed.
The only thing not to do in Las Vegas: work. « During this week, do not count on it. We can send a few mails a day and that’s it, otherwise you will do everything wrong, both your work and your presence on the show.”
The CES is a physical experience. For those who do not have stands, the mileage is very consistent. For those located at Eureka Park, it’s about spending your days in an overheated and crowded basement. Especially Wednesday or Thursday, where a particularly large wave of visitors tumbles down the corridors of the show.
Financially, the investment can be evaluated around 5,000 euros, mainly in travel and hotel costs. « The main cost is the time spent by the team. In particular, it is better not to be left alone, otherwise you will be stuck on your stand and you will not be able to go around the show « . He mentioned the example of Customer Labs, whose founder had the good idea to rely on an American trainee found locally (Las Vegas is also host to a big university).
A Few Seconds of Attention
The booth is only a modest investment if it is part of the Region’s program. In this case, it takes 80% to his account, with only 800 euros remaining to be paid. The same Region also supported 80% of a CES preparation coaching program, which was very useful for the start-ups that took part. Still, in a tradeshow that massively attended, visitors give only a few seconds of attention to a stand. Attracting attention is therefore particularly crucial. First of course with a good baseline and a good product but also, if possible, with a clever idea. Some smart examples: the soccer balls launched by the founders of Sportbak on the visitors, the intriguing green cushion of Hopen Project or the sofa borrowed from hisAirbnb by the creator of the Sonora Labs’s Lola.
[Version française: « Absorber la vague du mercredi» et autres conseils post-CES]