Innovative technology and practical business plans win Showstoppers pitch fest

by Steve Blum • , , , , ,

Could be standard lap top equipment soon.

A tiny, hand held projector that “can turn any wall into a touch screen” took top honors this afternoon at the second annual Showstoppers LaunchIt entrepreneurial beauty pageant at CES. Founders from a dozen start up companies gave five minute pitches to a panel of angel investors, who followed up with brief, but pointed, questions about business plans, pricing and, crucially, some kind of evidence that a market for their products and services exists.

The judges picked pico projector maker TouchJet as the best of the bunch. It connects to a mobile phone, projects an image or video onto a wall or table top, and links to a stylus that you can use to make it a touch screen-like experience.

Second place went to FINsix, which is launching a slimline power adaptor for laptop computers and USB-powered devices. It was the one product that the judges engaged with as potential buyers: you could see the gleam in their eyes as they thought about trading two power bricks for one that’s barely bigger than a plug alone.

Chromation, which is productising color sensing technology developed at Columbia University, came third. It addresses the security market where electronic authentication of products and documents is a growing, and lucrative, concern.

The rest were a diverse bunch, and included a robotic projector and video camera that wanders about the house, a solar powered beer cooler and an electronic mirror for stores that plays back (and shares) video of you trying on clothes.

Innovative ideas were very much on display, but as presiding judge Brian Cohen – a New York-based angel investor – pointed out, execution is more important to start up success than brilliance. Today’s winners showed a healthy balance of both.