Too-Big CES Gets Small, Embraces Startups With Eureka Park

CES is all about big- it has 3,000 companies presenting 20,000 gadgets to 150,000 attendees, making it Las Vegas' biggest conference of the year. But CES has gotten so big, it's drawn some major criticism that it's too big to be relevant, and out of touch with the truly cutting edge. So this year it's trying to rebrand itself as a destination for startups and Venture Capital investors looking for the next big thing.

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The Consumer Electronics Show is partnering with Startup America for a "Eureka Park" exhibit with 140 booths for small companies as well as panels just for entrepreneurs. The idea is to give startups an opportunity to present to the masses here for CES -- as well as investors-- without the prohibitive overhead cost the conference usually brings.

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Andreessen Horowitz partner Jeff Jordan, who spoke on a panel about innovation, said that it makes sense for his companies to be here. "Our small startups want to be big companies, and they work with big companies, and a lot of them aim to disrupt big companies," Jordan says.

"They're aiming high."

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The CEO of one of Andreessen Horowitz's companies, Bump's David Lieb, who spoke on the panel with Jordan, says it makes sense for CES to feature startups, because "the innovation of the future is going to come from companies like ours."


Lieb's "Bump" app allows people to share their contact information without exchanging business cards-- all they have to do is physically "bump" their phones together.

This is his first year with Bump at CES-- looking around the show floor he says he hopes one day they'll have their own big booth. And he says it's a great thing for CES to have the companies like his at the conference, saying the real innovation is "coming from companies the size of ours rather than these big companies."