Jeff Taylor and John Blair had realistic expectations for the International Consumer Electronics Show in early January. Before the show, Taylor discussed his hope to make new business contacts and meet potential partners. But they were unprepared for what the show would bring them.
“There’s no way we could’ve anticipated what we experienced,” said Blair.
With hundreds of visitors, dozens of new contacts and a list of potential partners, the Event38 team is moving into 2015 with a new outlook.
As a part of the Blackstone LaunchPad and think[box] coalition to CES, Event38 exhibited in Eureka Park and drew in repeat visitors and industry professionals who were looking to find out more about the capabilities of the new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market.
As a manufacturer of UAVs primarily for commercial and agricultural purposes, Event38 had a unique product at a show where most of the UAVs were focused on consumers.
Their ability to differentiate themselves from the rest of the exhibitors allowed them to make powerful connections with new industries, including skywriting. They also were looking for ways they could learn from the consumer-focused companies.
“We made a point to look at the booths’ visual presentation to see what drew people in and how they approached it,” said Blair.
The entire experience of CES was more than the team had bargained for. The company had a team of four with the two partners as well as two employees who are currently in Case Western Reserve University’s Masters of Engineering Management program. This allowed them to both man the booth to meet visitors and get a good look at the competition.
That capability was essential to get the most out of the experience.
“They acted as scouts. They went out and saw the shoe and let us know what we needed to check out. By the third day, they were offering really key insights especially since they saw everything with new eyes,” said Blair.
The students also worked with Taylor and Blair to help them realize how the company could be better.
“We’re thinking now about getting out of the day-to-day and thinking more big picture. Being here put things in perspective,” said Taylor.
The company owes a lot to Blackstone and think[box], who have helped them through every step of this process. With a prototype built at the think[box] lab and hiring through the MEM program and now the opportunity to attend the largest trade show in the world, Taylor and Blair are grateful to the all the university has offered them. They also attribute some of their success during the show to the university.
“The credibility that Case Western gave us was really great. We wouldn’t have been given the presence that we had without the university,” Blair said.