Diamonds In The Sand: 5 Coolest Startups Found Off The CES Strip

While CES’ 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space is dominated by giant corporations making incremental advancements, the real magic of the convention happens off the main stage in private innovation gatherings and at Eureka Park where the upstart entrepreneurs can shine. I spent CES meeting with emerging media companies, attending start-up cocktail sessions and networking events to find “diamonds in the sand"– the companies that give advertisers a unique or better way to market. Here are five companies that will emerge and stir things up in the years ahead. Hopefully a few of the 170,000 people waiting in the taxi lines got to meet them.


This company understands exactly what people are watching on TV down to the channel, show and advertisement and then delivers these messages to the audience one-to-one on mobile in real-time. Through partnerships with mobile apps, gaming and living-room devices, set top box and TV OEMs, they can deliver over 40 million consumers ads on premium sites. Imagine that you are watching the Oscars and see a Pepsi ad on TV, look down to your device and the ad you see is the next ad in the story from Pepsi (or, perhaps more interestingly a conquesting ad from Coke). 


These stylish sunglasses have some of the most advanced technology features ever put into eyewear, enabling you to live stream your perspective. So you can have an almost bionic capability to share your visual and auditory real-time experiences around the world, with your clients, friends, family etc. Imagine sharing a live clip from The Weekend or Drake concert without being “that person” holding your phone up. Envision how this could help advertisers amplify live events.


Want to make banner ads as much as 17x more effective?  Linkstorm is a next-generation hyperlinking system that overlays cascading menus onto any kind of ad unit. By rolling over a Linkstorm-enabled ad, the customer unfurls a menu of links, thus previewing additional destinations even before having to click. Then a single click takes the customer directly to where they want to go. By rolling a mouse over a CBS banner ad, you can view videos for all five new Fall shows, making that banner come to life and providing depth on each of the shows. On mobile devices, Linkstorm allows consumers to find what they need without endlessly tapping through a website.


The company uses a patented and FDA approved Natural Light Labeling System to pioneer the process of printing marketing messages on citrus fruits. With amazing distribution channels, the lime wedge for your next vodka soda may have an ad on it or a hashtag. I love the idea of every lemon we see being printed to look like Minions (Universal Pictures, you can thank me later for that idea!)

The Void

This is going to flip Disneyland on its head – a Virtual Reality theme park! The Void provides fully immersive virtual reality experiences through location-based entertainment centers. It’s no longer just playing a game, but actually participating in a living virtual experience with your friends.

CES is still dominated by huge announcements from major brands and is a beast to navigate, but if you venture off the main stage there are plenty of emerging media and new tech opportunities to help drive innovation in advertising.

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