Portuguese Startups Mastering CES 2016

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2016's CES was a great success for many young companies. Why? Because they prepared. Here's how Portuguese startups made the most out of it.

It’s 2016 and CES arrived in as Vegas one more time, during January 6th to 9th of 2016.

For those of you who don’t know, CES is the place where all the global industry leaders appear to establish cross-market relationships. Why they are coming? Simply because they can see which technologies will shape how we’ll live in the future, most of the technologies available there are not needed right now, but in few years it will be, and our kids will wonder how we could live without it. Another detail is that CES is the right place to make new contacts, in C-level, so real and huge partnerships can quickly appear from attending CES.

Taking the last years of CES into account we can verify that it gets bigger and bigger every year, in this year’s edition they had more than 3800 exhibitors across 2.47 million net square feet (and this is just the exhibit space).

“At CES 2016 everyone saw that tech is about more than single products and services, it is about improving our world and providing hope for our future. It was awe-inspiring to see traditional and nontraditional ‘tech’ industries meet to brainstorm, partner and collaborate on ways to do business and address global issues,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) ® (formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) ®).

Big companies are still making the show but in this edition we saw startups taking over CES – founders of young startups appear to establish new partnerships with key partners. Lots of French startups were there but some Portuguese startups were there too, offering quite incredible products, two of them that partook this edition were, Aptoide and Muzzley, who agreed to share their experience with StartUs Magazine and it’s readers.


Aptoide offer an alternative Android app store that works in a decentralized mode, which is more focused on the user and their feedback. Imagine the most known appstore for Android, Google Play, the main difference comparing to Aptoide is that you’ll have your own app store, and this change of perspective can help the developer to create many different features not so easily done in other app stores. With Aptoide you can create thematic channels, this enhances a way of discovering apps more appealing and intuitive.

In relation to CES, Aptoide takes part since 2014, this time they decided on a different way and focused their visit on establishing contacts. In the last editions they had a booth but this time they divided the team in different halls where they knew the key partners were and scheduled meetings in an intensive routine as it has to be at CES, four days used in an intensive and stimulating way.

“All CES fairs are always very good because it’s where our potential clients are, and they are collaborators at C-level” – says Carolina Marçalo, Head of Partnerships at Aptoide, “because it’s good to establish contacts with the decision makers – a thing that doesn’t happen at other fairs are this top management collaborators.”

The preparation, for CES, starts several months previous to the arrival, because there are contacts to establish, schedule important meetings, and if some meetig wasn’t possible to set, find a key contact that can lead to the desired one. Also planning what to show and how is important to generate a good impression right from the start.

For this edition the major challenge was choosing whether to have a booth or not. Since the team targeted more contactss for business development, they decided to take the risk and aim for better results. They received more feedback, because they knew with whom to talk and what about, which now enables and inspires them to improve already existing products, and also creating new ones. Taking all into account, in terms of ROI, for Aptoide, CES turned out to be very positive, therefore a great investment of time and money.


Muzzley provides an IoT platform for the connected home. The problem they solve is a more lean and intuitive way of connecting users to smart devices. Right now, each device corresponds to an app, which clutters the smartphone with too many apps. What Muzzley does is an all-in-one solution – one app that gathers and allows interoperability between many devices, regardless of their brand. Apart from this, Muzzley sends personalized suggestions to the user according to the devices they own and their context (e.g. if a person leaves home, Muzzley reminds him that the door was not properly locked and the lights are still on).

Muzzley has been at CES for the last three editions with a booth, and did so “because it provides visibility” – says Inês Raimundo, Marketing & Partnerships Manager at Muzzley.

“Having a booth also allows us to show the product to a bigger audience. Because CES is split by many categories, the audience that shows up at our booth is very filtered – the majority of people is interested in IoT and knows what the smart home is all about. This is, undoubtedly, beneficial to establish partnerships.”

They start preparing for CES many months in advance, but it gets more intensive from October on, where there are plenty of things to prepare such as securing the booth, booking meetings, preparing the product messaging, managing the many suppliers before, during, and after installation, etc.

The presence at CES is crucial for the company because there are decision-making people attending it, whether that is investment companies, potential partners or people from the press. Feedback is also a very important part of CES, where passers-by comment on the product and companies can regroup after the show and discuss potential changes to the product.

In terms of ROI, CES is, for Muzzley, very positive, and it’s a great investment that a startup aiming to go global should undertake. Companies can show their products to top-level managers (gives a boost in networking that consequently can bring new partnerships and investments) but also expands their brand and gives it more exposure.

Concluding if you have a startup and want it to give the first step onward foreign markets, even with a booth or just by being a visitor, this can be seen as the main door. Also taking the example of French startups, that appeared enormously in this edition, this can be an area where governments and investors should support local startups. CES is the spot to be if you want to make real medium or long-term investments and if a country is home to healthy and wealthy companies, most likely the country will be too.



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