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Captive Media presented on stage at CES in Las Vegas this week as a top 10 finalist of the Extreme Tech Challenge, the global tech competition supported by Sir Richard Branson.  Now in its second year, the competition, which draws over 2000 entries, brings 10 firms to the main stage at CES, and three winners to Necker Island itself to ‘pitch to Rich’.

Over 300 delegates packed the huge Bellini Room at the Venetian Hotel, which last month hosted the republican presidential primary debate, to hear Captive Media present among nine other finalists to a panel of judges including Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro, Forbes Publisher Rich Karlgaard and Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist, Tim Draper.

The finalists reflected some of CES’s big themes: Virtual Reality firm Sixense, and eventual winner Sphero, maker of the Star Wars droid toy, BB8.  Sphero’s meteoric rise stems from a chance encounter with a Disney executive and has seen it grow to a $100m turnover company by the end of last year.  

Captive Media’s presentation, which can be viewed here, [we’re at 29:20!] saw it unveil a US version of its award-winning election game for the Republican primary season.  A widely acclaimed pitch had delegates standing and cheering as founder Mark Melford asked them if they’d like to see the US version go live.

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Social media reaction to Captive Media pitch


The presentations formed one part of an intense 3 day programme including sponsors receptions, dinners with judges and product demonstrations from all ten finalists.  Captive Media’s stand was a favourite with all comers, from the Chair of the judges Dave Mathews, to the large production crew assembling the stage.  


Left: Mai Tai founder Susi Mai plays the Rugby Challenge – suspiciously well. Right – Captive CEO Gordon MacSween chats to CTA CEO Gary Shapiro and chairman of judges, Dave Matthews.

While it wasn’t named among the final three, Captive Media was invited to Necker Island in February anyway, and, uniquely among the finalists, to install its tech in Richard Branson’s house on the island. Chairman of judges, Dave Matthews, expressed interest in an integration of his Newaer mobile tech with Captive Media, and leads with other potential investors, some from the judging panel are being followed up now.

Overall an amazing experience, a phenomenal new set of relationships to have, and a valuable new global network of entrepreneurs and investors to which we’re proud to belong.


All ten semi finalists on stage


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