CES from above

Launch.it, a New York City-based startup that has built a platform for managing and distributing news, has been tapped to power the onslaught of news coming from startups at the Consumer Electronics Show next month.

The company will serve as a news platform for exhibitors at Eureka Park, the startup innovation portion of CES, as part of its partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association. Launch.it will provide a central spot for startups to publish their news and contact information at CES, as well as provide detailed analytics about visitors.

In short, it’s a far better alternative to throwing flash drives and PDFs at journalists and prospective investors. For startups, Launch.it gives them one place to send anyone interested in their company. And for journalists and everyone else, they’ll know exactly where to go to learn more about an intriguing startup.

“Our big vision is a free self-publishing platform to unlock the news,” said Trace Cohen, president and co-founder of Launch.it. “We want to be the biggest searchable database [of news] … almost to disintermediate Google.”

For its customers, Launch.it offers a bunch of useful features, including: a Wiki-like environment to allow customers to easily update their news, Facebook comments, the ability to buy and test out services, and the ability to let media and investors “follow” companies for instant news updates.

While Launch.it is starting with Eureka Park for now, its goal is to eventually offer a centralized spot for the thousands of companies exhibiting at CES, Cohen tells me. The father and son company (chief executive Brian Cohen is Trace’s father) has also partnered with Ultralight Startups and ShowStoppers, which runs product showcase events at popular conferences. So far, Launch.it powers news sites for around 300 to 400 companies.

You’d think by now that someone would have come up with a solution to modernizing the news distribution process, but Cohen tells me he was just as surprised at the lack of innovation in the market when he kicked off Launch.it at the New York Tech Meetup in May. One potential competitor is Virtual Press Office, which was acquired by PRNewswire in 2009, but Cohen notes that’s less appealing than his company since it resells wire services and isn’t consumer-facing. (Also, Virtual Press Office looks like it was made a decade ago.)

Launch.it is completely bootstrapped and only has three employees (along with an “off-shore” tech team in Long Island), but Cohen says the company is looking for strategic partnerships.

Photo: Dylan Tweney/VentureBeat