CES 2023 Debriefing: insights, results, experiences

On the 2nd of February Ukrainian Startup Fund, Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA) together with USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine (USAID CEP), Western NIS Enterprise Fund, Global Innovation through Science and Technology, and Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine organized the CES 2023 debriefing – an event aimed at finalizing the results of the delegation to CES 2023 in Las Vegas.


Intro. Partners.

The introductory speeches were held by key organizing partners.

Yana Paladiieva, Head of Innovative voucher program, Ukrainian Startup Fund, expressed delight, that despite all the difficulties they have managed to organize trade missions this year.  

Valerii Dobrovolskyi, Future Industries Team Lead of the USAID Competitive Economy Program stressed on the importance of trade missions, and underlined that despite all the challenges in 2022 USAID CEP managed to help organize even more missions within one year than ever before. He also highlighted the cooperation of a bigger number of partners and general tendency towards more quality cooperation between various stakeholders from the ecosystem, resulting in amplification of results and the biggest delegation ever. 

Vitaliy Bigdai, Program Manager, Export Promotion Policy Program, Western NIS Enterprise Fund said that such events are very useful, since the debriefing of this year will be useful for the participants of next batches of next years.  

Dmytro Kuzmenko, CEO of Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association expressed the gratitude to all participating partners, and highlighted the general success of the mission and events around it. 

This year CES was attended by 120000 attendees, from 173 countries and 188 leading media, while Ukraine was presented by 12 startups that showcased their innovations within the Ukrainian national booth. 

Startups. Insights, results, experiences

At the event, the startups shared their results, achievements and insights to help the participants of the next conferences make the most of their visits. 

  • Releaf PAPER & BAGS – the world’s first manufacturer of paper packaging made from fallen leaves.

They expected to test the market, increase exposure, get feedback to their product and onboard new partners. 

Results: 150+ product presentations, 12 interviews for world’s media, 50 potential leads, the LVMH challenge invitation, a chance to participate in Amazon.com onboarding program and I’ll-de-France business opportunities. 

  • Rekava – the Ukrainian sustainable brand of biodegradable products made from recycled coffee grounds. The startup’s products include disposable  cups, seedling pots, and decorative aroma candles.

They had both more general aims, to promote circular economy as the main global economic model, make a contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals achievement, let the world know that Ukraine is an innovative country, even in times of war as well as more business-focused: get leads and new markets for existing products, find opportunities for further development of existing products ideas, attract investments for serial production of equipment. 

Results: over 15 interviews and other media communication, 8 pitches to potential investors,  over 30 new B2C clients, 10 B2B requests, over 100 useful contacts in the business environment and fully lived experience of participation in international exhibitions. 

  • Melt Water Club – the technical solution for obtaining premium drinking water, thanks to the innovative Freezing Process technology.

Unfortunately they couldn’t be present at the event physically and did the pitching remotely, but despite these complications they got a lot of value from the new network and media presence and from joining the community of USF. 

  • OptySun filters – the technology of water purification and disinfection in any conditions.

The team has won the selection and became part of the Ukrainian delegation to CES 2023. For their startup it was an incredible opportunity to demonstrate our technology to thousands of potential partners and buyers. Unfortunately, the founders were not able to physically attend the exhibition due to a visa delay. They took part online and now give thanks to their colleagues, Startup Knopka, for the opportunity to have a virtual presence. After the exhibition, the main result is 20+ requests for partnerships and pre-orders, and they are still processing.

  • i3 Engineering – the complete solution for Smart Home projects and business’s automation, which consists of controllers mounted on a DIN-rail, software and mobile application.

The team was expecting to explore the US wired automation market, collect feedback on the solution and do onsite market research. Also to find first partners with whom they can go to market and work on investment opportunities.

Results: very valuable feedback on the solution, its strong sides and areas of improvement. 50 plus potential partners and client contacts.

  • Nanit Robot – the STEM Robotics education solution with a high engineering perspective and a creative learning process for kids and adults.

The team expected to get investment for 300 KITS manufacture, 100 preorders from private clients, find 10 new partners in distribution, and find a partner for Kickstarter. 

Results: 50/100 pre-orders from private clients, up to 10 new partners In distribution and 3 partners for Kickstarter, and are currently choosing the best proposition.

  • Corner – the modern, frictionless, and entirely-online way to set up a renovation with a pre-designed kitchen.

The team expected to get a few mentions in the press and organize customer Interviews.

Results: 500+ people visited the counter, 100 customer interviews, 50 potential customers/partners/investors, 4 mentions in the press, 1 paid customer started the project, launched b2b sales in the US

  • Knopka – the advanced nurse call system for patient care automation on hospital beds.

They expected to get media coverage, do market validation and attract new investors. 

Results: more than 150 presentations during the show, 30 potential clients, 5 distributors, more than 15 mentions in top US media, 5 potential investors.  

  • WheelKeep – the invisible security system (a smart hardware device and a mobile application) that helps cycling enthusiasts to protect their bikes from thefts and enjoy the freedom of everyday cycling.

They expected to meet investors, distributors, B2B/B2C Clients, manufacturers, and get media coverage.

Results: over 100 contacts, where there are ~5 Investors, ~8 Distributors, ~20 B2B/B2C Clients, ~7 Manufacturers, ~3 Interviews to media and over 50 other potential partners (telecommunication, marketing & sales, electronic component suppliers etc)

  • Solar Plex – the service for upgrading new and already installed conventional solar (PV) panels into hybrid (PVT) ones.

They were expected to open the Golden Gate to Hollywood because California is their beachhead market.

Results: dozens of potential partners and customers all over the world – the network of supermarkets in Mexico, farmers from Kazakhstan and a solar station in Romania are among others.

  • Еfarm.pro – the IOT navigation field assistant for agricultural work that allows you to save resources and work more accurately.

The team expected to present the efarm.pro to a broader audience, find resale partners in the USA and other countries, gain awareness for our Demining project in the press and the agricultural industry and start the fundraising process.

Results: Efarm.pro was presented at the CES to more than 500 visitors from all over the world, received a couple of requests for resale in Europe and the USA; were mentioned in 5 publications, 1 podcast and continue to receive requests. They have also connected to influential people in the USA who deeply care about the situation in Ukraine and especially the challenges the farmers are facing every day due to land mines.

  • G-Mak – the innovative security device equipped with a number of unique technological solutions that can physically stop or disorient an intruder.

They expected to get to know potential customer’s feedback, to find potential customers and partners, to attract investment, to find out if the US market is ready for their active DEFENSE and to represent the country worthily

Results: over 200 respondents, over 500 visitors, new strategic partners, understanding the direction of the company’s development, finding new ways to position the device in the market, got feedback and understanding of the client’s needs, were showcased in BBC, Nikkei, Ukrainian media and YouTube channels.

Apart from this statistics of results the participants got some extra leverage. For example, Rekava was almost forced to speed up the opening of the shop in English, which helped them get new orders from Canada and Japan, whereas WheelKeep got introduced to the prince of the Netherlands, the country, known for its bike culture, and started negotiations about entering their market. Other startups also have new unexpected bonuses of this kind. 

Overall all participants were very satisfied with the event and were thankful for such an opportunity, provided by the organizers. Now it is the time to follow up, make the best use of all the created opportunities and inspire the next batch of startups for CES 2024!

You can watch the full video below: