Two weeks ago, eight incredible startups took to the stage at the CableLabs Innovation Showcase, presented by UpRamp, at Summer Conference in Keystone, CO to give live demos of their technology to the CableLabs member and vendor community. And before I say anything else, congratulations to Wiliot, voted ‘best innovation’ by the audience!
Over the years, thousands of startups have applied to give a live demo in front of CableLabs members at Innovation Showcase, a valuable opportunity that provides a first step in the door to this vast, lucrative, expansive industry. As a small team running a limited number of events per year, we can only offer this exclusive opportunity to a fraction of those startups.
Nevertheless, our mission is to promote innovation in the connectivity industry and to enable entrepreneurship. We want to enable all founders and their teams to take the first step and to ask themselves how they can change global connectivity.
At the risk of aging myself, I’ve been with CableLabs for 18 years, and I’ve been involved in Innovation Showcase since its humble beginnings in 2006 (long before UpRamp even existed!), so I’ve seen hundreds of startups try to enter this incredible industry. Since we’re limited in the number of startups we can engage with, I’m offering my best advice for all of the other entrepreneurs bravely making their first move into connectivity:
- Read: Take the time to learn about the industry from resources like CableLabs, NCTA, and The Cable Center. It’s okay if you don’t know everything, but you should develop a basic understanding of this industry’s uniqueness.
- Develop: Bring a product to the table and be ready to scale. We fully support entrepreneurs at the earliest stage, but for a meeting with the connectivity industry, you’ll need an MVP at least. Spend the time building out your idea to get the attention you deserve.
- Find Your Fit: This is a big industry, and it can look like a black hole from the outside. Don’t be fooled - it’s not. Think of yourself as a small, but critical, piece in a giant puzzle: without you, what is missing? Stay focused on your fit in this ecosystem. This is the key element of our Fiterator program.
- Be Relentless: If you’ve managed to figure out whom you want to speak to at an MSO, keep following up. It’s a big industry - make sure you stay top of mind.
- Offer: Because you’ve read about the industry, have created a product, and have thought about your fit, this one should come naturally. After you’ve secured a meeting with an operator (congratulations!), bring a few use cases to the table. They don’t have to be perfect, but show that you’ve put the time into thinking about how your product can solve a critical industry issue.
As you begin your own journey, keep in mind that the UpRamp team is available to answer questions and to offer snippets of advice to help nudge you along. We look forward to seeing all of the incredible things that you do!