Like many other tech leaders and innovators, I headed to Las Vegas for CES to kickstart the new year. With the privilege to use this opportunity to get some much-needed “innovation inspiration”(or ‘innspo‘) and face time with TechNexus portfolio founders, innovation partners, and technologists building crazy intelligent tools and solutions.
My teammates and I went into the trip with an open mind, and a (fairly) open daily agenda — making sure to leave room for impromptu meetings and demos, plus networking events and celebrations with the best and brightest.
It’s CES, so there was a lot going on that I expected, including:
- A renewed energy and eagerness from attendees (this was basically our first year fully back since January 2020)
- Buzzy consumer product launches
- Big entertainment brands like LG and Samsung wowing with crystal clear graphics and metaverse-style experiences
- And, of course, tech on tech on tech on tech
To my surprise and delight, though, there was much more than that!
CES 2023 focused on specific topics and pathfinding innovation arenas that matter to core investment themes at TechNexus Venture Collaborative. And when I say ‘investment themes,’ I mean areas that we care about deeply and holistically — beyond just deploying capital towards.
TechNexus invests in exclusive relationships between large corporations and entrepreneurs. Investing capital, time, resources, incubation services, business support, and corporate-startup collaboration that lead to commercial opportunities.
CES topics this year that caught my attention and related to the work that my team and I spend day after day immersed in include: Vehicle Tech, Smart Home, and Artificial Intelligence.
Or, more simply put…
- How We Move
- How We Live
- How We Work
- How We Thrive
How We Move: Vehicle Tech (& Advanced Mobility)
This year, thousands of square footage were dedicated to vehicle technology at CES — and the entire West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Stellantis, Brunswick, ZF Group, John Deere, Caterpillar, Bosch, and even the United States Post Office all showed up to show off.
WHY IT MATTERS: This is now and what’s next – rethinking mobility and travel through land, air, and water. Past and current transportation alternatives aren’t sustainable for our shared future and the rapidly evolving needs, behaviors, and motivations of today’s global society.
Current solutions quickly shaping the future of mobility include advancements and customer adoption in Autonomy, Electrification, Connectivity, and Shared Access. (“Shared Access” is a new way of approaching mobility, shifting the use of an asset from its sole owner to shared use through rentals, subscriptions, and other pay-per-use models.)
Select TechNexus Mobility Venture Portfolio Spotlights
- AmpUp – the leading electric vehicle (EV) charging operating system that enables drivers, hosts, and fleets to charge stress-free. The technology makes it easy for businesses and property owners to manage multiple charge stations and locations in one platform.
- SixWheel – an electric add-on to for the commercial trucking industry. Connects to an existing truck and converts it into a hybrid. Unlike others, it does this with no upfront costs and no downtime. It simply hitches to the truck via its fifth wheel hitch.
- HAAS Alert – creators of an award-winning digital alerting solution Safety Cloud. A breakthrough evolution in emergency alerting, bringing critical real-time connectivity to roads and transforming emergency alerting for a new century.
- RVezy – book the perfect RV for your adventure. Explore the best motorhomes, camper vans, and trailers near you. RVezy improves the RV rental experience by leveraging people and technology so that everyone can have a chance to connect with nature and explore the best of the U.S. and Canada in a safe and affordable way.
How We Live: Smart Home
What makes this topic interesting is the many unique takes — from Kohler’s Future of Showering display to Vessel Homes’ modern pre-fab tiny home, the Model E and all the smart refrigerators, autonomous baby strollers, security systems, and alternative energy sources and storage.
WHY IT MATTERS: At TechNexus, I tend to think about Smart Home a little differently because many of our corporate partners manufacture equipment that acts a little like a Home + …
- Home + …Aircraft: Brunswick Corporation, the leader in marine recreation. With technologies like autopilot and on-water navigation more comparable to air travel than highway driving, recreational boating is all about enjoying the journey — relaxed entertainment out on the water with friends or family, or riding solo and enjoying all nature has to offer.
- Home + …Automotive: THOR Industries, the leading manufacturer of recreational vehicles. For many THOR customers, the RV is their home-away-from-home, and there’s a rapidly growing number of RVers going full-time #RVlife.
What’s key between Home <> Speciality Vehicle? Seamless Connectivity & Interaction, Frictionless UX, Small Footprint → Big Impact
Select TechNexus Venture Portfolio Spotlights
- Native Voice – makes life simpler by connecting you with brands’ voice assistants and all the help they have to offer in one place. Integrate Native Voice technology into your hardware.
- Tectonic Audio Labs – from headphones perfect for audiobooks to crystal-clear interaction with a smart home speaker, deliver a better sound experience for your customers by integrating Tectonic products into your latest innovation.
- Soundskrit – the world’s first high-performance MEMS directional microphone. Directional microphones can localize where abnormal sounds are coming from and then automatically steer a home security camera in that direction for the quickest response time.
How We Work: Artificial Intelligence
One of the hottest (or at least buzziest topics) taking center stage this year is the conversations happening around AI and how it’s:
- Taking advanced problem-solving to new levels ✅
- Revolutionizing the user experience ✅
- Shifting entire industries ✅
- Advancing accessibility and boosting efficiency ✅
CNBC’s Eric Rosenbaum sums it up: “What’s happening today in AI is the acceleration of technology processes that have been in use for up to two decades already across a wide range of corporate functions, from software engineering to finance, operations, legal, logistics and creative.”
WHY IT MATTERS: We’ve been working with our corporate partners for years, building out strategic action plans that center the impacts of AI/ML on industry transformation across multiple sectors, from the obvious
- Audio Hardware Manufacturing
- Data Analytics
…to the not-so-obvious
- Shipping & Logistics
Select TechNexus AI Venture Portfolio Spotlights
- Audio/Voice: AssemblyAI, SymblAI, Krisp.ai Respeecher, LANDR, Amper Music (acquired by Shutterstock)
- Computer Vision: Zensors, Edgybees, AI Reverie (acquired by Facebook)
- Workforce Enablement: Kanarys, Sentenai
Next up: I’m looking forward to keeping up with how Vehicle Tech, Home+, and AI trends, brands, and innovators show up at SXSW 2023. Heading to Austin in March? Let’s Connect!