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Finding the Next Generation of Tech at Eureka Park

Evan Cohen, Indiegogo
For five decades, one constant force in the industry has remained at the forefront of it all — CES, the annual trade show at the beginning of every year in Las Vegas.

Over the past four decades, the world has witnessed some of the most incredible shifts in the market for consumer technology. We’ve seen trends like portable audio come and go. We’ve seen major brands grow and fall, only to rise again in a different segment of the market. Innovation is happening so fast that the tech industry can barely keep up, and it’s undeniable that the consumer technology market is leading the way.

Yet for five decades, one constant force in the industry has remained at the forefront of it all — CES, the annual trade show at the beginning of every year in Las Vegas. It’s become the mecca for all things consumer technology, a place to see and be seen. Some even call it a magical place, where up-and-coming new players can rub elbows with established bigwigs like Samsung or Sony.

Photo from Indiegogo

Indiegogo at CES

When Indiegogo first joined the CES floor in 2014, we truthfully had no idea what to expect. We’d landed in Vegas with a small team of six, a few folding signs, and a bag full of branded pins and business cards. Emotions were running high, yet we had no idea what we were in for.

To preface, even though Indiegogo became the world’s first open crowdfunding platform back in 2008, the overall concept was still in its infancy three years ago. We were a small startup with just a handful of employees working out of a coworking space in San Francisco. We’d raised some money from our Series A, but we knew if we were going to try and go big, there was really only one place to start: CES.

Our cofounder, Slava Rubin, described it as “Christmas in January,” and it’s safe to say that CES 2014 was the show that truly put Indiegogo on the map.

Now, you may wonder how a small startup with little leverage could make such a big impact at a show highlighted by Fortune 100 companies like Sony and Samsung. Well, the answer is short and easy: Eureka Park™.

Photo from Indiegogo

How Eureka Park Became the Place to be at CES

Over the last half decade, one of the largest shifts in the consumer technology industry has been the growth of the hardware startup sector. Led by the popularization of maker devices, such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino, more people than ever are tinkering with consumer devices to build the next generation of connected devices.

Coupled with the rapid growth in crowdfunding, which has fueled the funding side of these startups, more companies than ever are now able to jump into a market that was once reserved only for big manufacturers like LG or Panasonic.

CES, taking a proactive approach to foster this new growing community of hardware companies, established Eureka Park in 2012 as a place on the CES floor where startups could join the ranks of major brands.  It was unprecedented, but for the first time ever, a company with just a few employees and one product could be featured in the same arena as some of the most recognized brands in the world.

Since its launch just five years ago, Eureka Park has become a runaway success. When we first joined the program in 2014, the Marketplace was just a small section of the top floor of the Sands Expo. Even at its small stage, the energy was amazing, with people traveling from all around the world to be a part of the greatest technology show on earth.

Three years later, the show now encompasses the entire bottom floor of the Sands Expo, drawing partners from all parts of the worlds, including TechStars and La French Tech.  Its companies in total have collectively raised more than $1 billion in follow-up funding, demonstrating the massive growth the ecosystem has experienced.

Having attended for three years in a row, we have been amazed to witness the growth firsthand. Our first year attending, we only had 10 Indiegogo alums join us on the floor. At CES 2015, we saw 75 Indiegogo alums at the show. This year, more than 120 Indiegogo-funded companies exhibited at CES 2016, and each year this number continues to grow exponentially.

The growth and excitement around Eureka Park is impossible to miss, with its companies often highlighting some of the coolest new innovations to come out of the entire show. It’s become the go-to destination for startup product launches, and as the park grows, so does its reputation for hosting the latest and greatest.

Although household brands will continue to dominate the main convention area, the value of Eureka Park is becoming more important each year it grows. Several friends in the media told me they spent a majority of their time covering the Sands, as "that's where all the cool stuff happens."

The future is undoubtedly bright for hardware startups at CES, and we look forward to continuing to help grow its impact on the overall CES show.

Do you have an idea for the next big hit at CES? Download the free Indiegogo Field Guide and check out the Indiegogo blog for tons of tips and resources about how to bring your idea from concept to market.