Noah Dentzel launched Nomad, which makes travel accessories and mobile devices, through aKickstarter campaign in 2012. “As total newbies to the industry, we were delighted to learn that not only was the industry’s big tradeshow coming up just as we were nearing production of our first product, but that CTA had just begun a new startup membership that made participating at CES much more accessible to early-stage companies like ourselves,” he recalls. Noah explains that establishing a voice and identity as a startup is critical for success, but quite challenging. “It can feel intimidating comparing yourself to the colossal industry heavyweights,” he says. “The startup opportunities that CTA provides, like discounted membership, the startup exhibitor zone and pitch contests, plus treating us like we belonged there, all helped us establish ourselves in the consumer electronics world in our early days.”
Most startups don’t have the resources to focus on government affairs, which makes membership in a trade association even more important. Todd Moore, founder of TMSoft, a mobile app software company, joined as a CTA startup member to network, collaborate and capitalize on opportunities at CES. However, he discovered the importance of CTA’s public policy efforts after receiving a threatening letter from a “patent troll.” “I had no idea this was such an issue for small businesses, startups and app developers,” says Todd. “Now I see that our country’s patent system can be exploited and used as a weapon, stifling innovation.” Todd joined CTA’s Michael Petricone to share his story with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “I testified before Congress about patent trolling. By giving us a seat at the table, CTA allowed me to make a difference for not only my company, but the industry.”
Formlabs, a 3D printer manufacturer, joined as a startup member soon after CTA began offering it. According to Moira Barry, Formlabs leveraged the benefits of CTA membership to gain maximum exposure in the early stages of launching their product. “We grew so much from starting in Eureka Park, to earning our CES Innovations Award, to growing our booth size and being one of the biggest 3D printing companies at CES,” she explains. Formlabs also relies on CTA membership to stay connected and establish itself as a leader within the industry. They also participate in CTA’s 3D Printing Working Group that brings companies together to raise awareness, conduct market research and address topics around policy, standards, and industry promotion. “Having a place at this table, among startups and established players, is a big deal for us,” says Moira.
i3, the flagship magazine from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, focuses on innovation in technology, policy and business as well as the entrepreneurs, industry leaders and startups that grow the consumer technology industry. Subscriptions to i3 are available free to qualified participants in the consumer electronics industry.