Wink Bar smart connected bicycle handlebar

Smart mobility firm Velco crowned winner of Showstoppers LaunchIt at CES

French company Velco, which designs solutions for smarter, more personalised urban mobility, was today declared the winner of the Showstoppers LaunchIt start-up competition at CES 2018 for its Wink Bar, the first connected bicycle handlebar.

Velco will now be invited to demonstrate its products at the Showstoppers press-only event at CES 2018, held at the Wynn Hotel, which is expected to be attended by over 1,300 journalists from around the world. Velco will be there alongside hundreds of established companies and household names, presenting the latest innovations of their own.

Velco's Wink Bar is a smart and connected handlebar that can be controlled from your smartphone. It can be easily fitted to any existing bike and enables GPS-assisted navigation, geolocation of your bike in case of theft or loss and integrated headlights.

The 12 finalists were shortlisted by angel investors and venture capitalists from the 110 companies that applied to take part in the live pitch event. In the style of entrepreneur challenge TV shows such as Dragon's Den or Shark Tank, in today's final four judges listened to a strict four-minute presentation from each participant before grilling them over the minutae of their business plan.

The runnning order for the 12 companies was presented in alphabetical order, with the winner ultimately decided according to the final tabulated scores from all four judges.

The other 11 finalists - whose products addressed a wide range of issues and challenges with innovative and advanced technical solutions - were:

  • Athom, from Enschede, Netherlands: makers of Homey, the heart of the smart home.
  • Big Boy Systems, from Wavre, Belgium: developed and patented a camera and audio system made to see and hear like a human, recording in 3D and streaming content to VR headsets, already used for surgery, psychology, technical training, education and entertainment.
  • Cardiomo Care Inc., from New York City: maker of wearable technology and an analytics platform for the monitoring, detection and prevention of heart disease.
  • Cinema Snowglobes, from San Francisco, USA: the beloved nostalgic snowglobe, reinvented for the 21st century with moving images.
  • Cubomania, from Mykolaiv, Ukraine: interactive cubes to help children develop motor skills, logic, mathematics, financial literacy. Cubo is also compatible with Lego bricks, which can be attached to several surfaces, enabling e.g. a motor for an existing Lego car, although as yet there has been no official discussions with the Danish toy company.  
  • Pebby Corp., from Sunnyvale, California, USA: a robotics company that strengthen the bonds between pet parents and pets, anytime, anywhere, with connected and remote-controlled balls and toys for cats and dogs.
  • Picoo, from Eindhoven, Netherlands: developers of a robust, no-screen handheld group-play toy that combines what kids love - interactive technology and active play.
  • Robomart, from Santa Clara, California, USA: a fleet of on-demand, autonomous, self-driving mobile food stores for grocery retailers, enabling customers to self-pick their fresh produce without having to drive to a supermarket.
  • SolarGaps, from San Francisco, USA: aiming to solve the world’s energy crisis with a network of distributed-energy solutions for smart cities.
  • Stream, from Amsterdam, Netherlands: provides secure mobile WiFi hotspots with embedded Cloud Sim technology to enable unlimited data in over 100 countries.
  • Zhor-Tech, from Nancy, France: pioneering smart shoes, for monitoring foot activity, as well as offering controllable, heated soles using embedded sensors either placed in an insole or within the sole of the shoe itself.

The four judges this year were Nicholas Zaldastani, managing director, Zaldastani Ventures; Marita McGinn, manager of hardware products, Indiegogo; Sharona Justman, co-founder of Step Strategy Advisors, an advisory firm focused on technology and consumer products; Arthur Rubinfeld, former chief creative officer and president, global innovation and operational lead of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries for Starbucks Coffee.

Working with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which owns and produces CES, ShowStoppers LaunchIt - now in its sixth year - helps entrepreneurs and startups raise early seed capital by selecting from the more than 900 young, innovative, transformative and entrepreneurial startups that exhibit in Eureka Park, the CES marketplace where retailers, venture capitalists and manufacturers meet entrepreneurs launching new products, services, apps and ideas.

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