This year's hottest gifts: made by VC-backed startups and brought to you by CB Insights.

Shark Tank recently featured Potato Parcel, a company that ships custom messages … on potatoes. And they got a deal with Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary. There are way too many companies making ridiculous products trying to get on your holiday shopping list.

But if you really want to impress your loved ones this season, you’ll need to do better than giving them engraved produce.

Because we love data, we used the CB Insights platform to find 35 amazing, surprising, and in some cases, downright bizarre inventions for our holiday gift guide. From wearables to automated bartenders to remote-controlled pet toys, mischievous robots, and machine-washable sneakers, there’s something on our list for everyone on yours.

Here’s this year’s list of holiday must-haves, in no particular order. All of the gifts are made by venture-backed companies.

 Game Changing Companies 2016
From flying cars to instant connectivity, see the list of 36 companies poised to change the world with innovative tech.

1. Ringly Smart Ring

Price: $125

What it is:

  • A fashion-forward smart ring that connects to your phone via bluetooth and notifies you of phone calls, texts, and app alerts with custom vibrations and a subtle light at the edge of the ring. It works with over 100 apps, has 5 colored lights, and 4 vibration settings.

Why we want it:

  • Move over Apple Watch. Wrist-worn wearables are so 2015.


2. Loop

Price: $199

What it is:

  • The next iteration of the digital picture frame. This is an interactive, Wi-Fi-enabled digital screen that connects to your phone, social media, and even Dropbox account to show an easy-to-update loop of images and videos. Ease and convenience make it a digital screen we would actually use. You can even video chat with it.

Why we want it:

  • Because we all have that one relative who wants to see pics but can’t seem to operate the internet. This does it for them.


3. Allbirds

Price: $95

What it is:

  • Super-comfy, machine-washable sneakers that you don’t even need to wear socks with. They look and feel great and are made from natural, sustainable wool.

Why we want them:

  • A few of us at CB Insights already have these and can confirm that they don’t stink after going sockless. The rest of us are starting to feel a little left out (and we’re also tired of washing our socks).


4. littleBits Rule Your Room Kit

Price: $99.95

What it is:

  • The ultimate inventor’s kit for the kid in your life or the kid inside you: IoT building blocks with sensors, buzzers, and more come together to turn your wildest ideas into reality. You can use the kit to booby-trap your diary or arm your door with buzzers or alarms triggered by touch or sound. And that’s just the beginning…

Why we want it:

  • We dreamed about stuff like this when we were kids and we’re ready to take Legos to the next level.


5. Bartesian

Price: $299

What it is:

  • An automated bartender that’s ready to mix you a drink whenever you need one: pop in little K-cup-like pods, hit a couple buttons, and out comes your libation, made to order just how you want it. Just provide the basic spirits: vodka, gin, rum, and tequila, and you can effortlessly enjoy cosmos, Sex on the Beach, margaritas, and more.

Why we want it:

  • We’d really like a robot butler, but a robot bartender seems like the next best thing.


6. Nootrobox Full Stack

Price: $121.50

What it is:

  • A box of four specially designed cognitive supplements to help supercharge your body and mind. Start the day with “Rise,” to wake up refreshed. Build up momentum with “Kado” and “Sprint” (Omega 3s, vitamin D, and more) to increase productivity and be your best self all day. Then wind down peacefully with “Yawn” when you’re done for the day.

Why we want it:

  • AI and machine learning are speeding up. We can’t let them outpace us humans and coffee can only do so much.


7. Nomad Horween Leather Charging Wallet

Price: $59.95

What it is:

Why we want it:

  • The quest for an outlet has become the new quest for fire, so having power in your pocket just makes sense.


8. Sword & Plough Green Signature Tote Bag

Price: $219

What it is:

  • Sword & Plough creates stylish, modern bags and accessories using army surplus materials. Their signature tote is made of durable nylon and cotton canvas with a camo twill lining.

Why we want it:

  • Not only does this upcycled bag look great and hold all your most important gear, but the company also donates a portion of its proceeds to veterans organizations.


9. Gotenna

Price: $149

What it is:

  • When you want to go “off-the-grid” or can’t access your carrier, but still want to stay connected, this lightweight, weatherproof, bluetooth-enabled device lets you communicate phone-to-phone and share GPS locations with other Gotenna users without relying on your network carrier.

Why we want it:

  • Sometimes you need to get in touch with people, but don’t want to be fully on the grid. Perfect for camping trips, corporate retreats, and road trips through the back country.


10. Soma Water Bottle

Price: $30

What it is:

  • The company best known for a line of sleek, modern filter pitchers has come out with a water bottle made of shatter-resistant glass with a bamboo cap and easy-grip sleeve. It doesn’t just look great; part of every sale goes to charity:water to help people all over the world enjoy clean water.

Why we want it:

  • You gotta drink water, so you might as well look good while you do it (and help people, too).


11. Lumo Run Sensor and Clip

lumo

Price: $199

What it is:

  • This fitness tracker clips onto your clothes and monitors your activity level. It also evaluates your running form and offers feedback and individualized coaching.

Why we want it:

  • Fitness is more fun with a pal and the Lumo is less judgmental than a human running coach. Or any human, really…


12. Avegant Glyph

Price: $549

What it is:

  • A powerful, wearable personal theater experience. This sci-fi-looking headset is like a movie theater for your head. It delivers 1280×720 pixels per eye using 2 million mirrors and declares itself “more like seeing than viewing.” It supports 720p side-by-side 3D, features rich, high-quality audio, and more.

Why we want it:

  • These days an IMAX 3D movie ticket can set you back $20, and you don’t even get to sit in your comfy chair.


13. Ring Video Doorbell

Price: $199 and up

What it is:

  • If your building isn’t fancy enough to have a doorman or a built-in video system, the Ring Video Doorbell installs easily and lets you see who’s at the door, right on your smartphone.

Why we want it:

  • We’re tired of running down three flights of stairs to see who’s there.


14. Love with Food

Price: $7.99/month and up

What it is:

  • Snacks are the spice of life, but it’s too easy to reach for junk instead of something healthy. These subscription boxes come packed with all-natural, organic, or gluten-free treats.

Why we want it:

  • December’s box is curated by former Saved By The Bell star Tiffani Thiessen!


15. Plume Home Wifi System

Price: $234 and up

What it is:

  • A way to make sure that your Wi-Fi signal is clear and consistent throughout your entire house. Sleek, hexagonal Plume units plug in throughout your house and optimize your Wi-Fi signal based on your location and bandwidth needs.

Why we want it:

  • Because our bedroom is too far from our router and it’s messing with our Netflix binges.


16. Hickies

Price: $17.99

What it is:

  • A life hack: no more tying your shoes. These elastic lace inserts turn any old pair of shoes into comfy slip-ons. Plus they look pretty cool.

Why we want it:

  • Every minute counts when you’re building the world’s most powerful tech market intelligence platform.


17. Lucid 3D Point-and-Shoot VR Camera

lucid

Price: $399 (on preorder)

What it is:

  • A handheld VR camera. Lucid’s tagline is “capture moments as you see them.” This unique system captures images with two lenses and boasts binaural sound, allowing your VR viewing system to more perfectly recreate your experience when you look back later.

Why we want it:

  • Virtual reality is becoming the new reality and we want to be ahead of the curve.

Photo credit: Lucid


18. Osmo Coding Wonder Kit

Price: $145

What it is:

  • Osmo believes every child can learn to code. These fun, easy-to-use kits let kids assemble simple commands using real-world building blocks that control characters in a virtual world.

Why we want it:


19. Wright Sleep Bedding

Price: $125

What it is:

Why we want it:

  • When you only sleep five hours a night, you want them to count.


20. Rufus Cuff

Price: $399 and up

What it is:

  • The future is here: take calls, watch videos, read texts, and enjoy everything else you love about your smartphone, but with a big, beautiful wrist unit (almost the size of your smartphone itself). The Rufus Cuff connects to your Android or iPhone smartphone and has a full Android operating system of its own, plus a forward-facing camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and more.

Why we want it:

  • Watched way too many sci-fi movies as a kid.


21. Stowaway Cosmetics Basics Kit

Price: $75

What it is:

  • Looking great on the go doesn’t happen by accident. Stowaway Cosmetics has taken all your favorite beauty must-haves and shrunk them down to half the size at half the price.

Why we want it:

  • Less is more.


22. Fortified Bike Invincible 8Speed

Price: $699 and up

What it is:

  • Getting around the city is all about style and dependability. The Invincible 8Speed has both in spades: puncture-resistant tires, reinforced frame, a weatherproof seat, and more. Plus it looks awesome.

Why we want it:

  • A commute is better above ground.


23. EVEN H1 Headphones

Price: $179

What it is:

  • Not only do these headphones boast a rich wood grain finish, they even adapt to how you hear and adjust accordingly for a listening experience tailored to your unique needs.

Why we want it:

  • To help us get in the zone at work or on the go (and look classy doing it).


24. DJI Mavic Pro Drone

Price: $999

What it is:

  • A collapsible drone that’s lightweight, small, portable, and shoots 4K video with a 12 megapixel camera.

Why we want it:

  • Because drones!


25. BaubleBar Morse Code Bar Pendant

baublebar

Price: $125 and up, depending on metal

What it is:

  • BaubleBar specializes in fashion jewelry for the modern era. Instead of messing with diamonds and precious stones, BaubleBar creates unique wearable works of art. Have this Morse code bar necklace engraved with your initials or any 3-letter combo for a piece of jewelry that really says something.

Why we want it:

  • We’re unsure of the practical applications of having your initials in gold Morse code around your neck … but it looks soooooo cool.


26. Lootcrate

Price: $13.95 and up

What it is:

  • A box of dreams. The holidays happen every month with a Lootcrate subscription. Subscribers receive boxes of cool toys, collectibles, clothes, and more items tailored to their unique interests. There are over a dozen types of boxes to choose from with different themes and from different partners: the classic crate, anime, gaming, Marvel, and even the WWE. They’re all filled with cool stuff to make your inner geek freak out.

Why we want it:

  • Because the holidays shouldn’t be the only time we get a box of cool stuff.


27. Bluesmart Black Suitcase

Price: $599

What it is:

  • Luggage for the modern age: this suitcase sports a power supply to recharge your devices, a location tracker, water-resistant hardshell, and even a lock you can control via smartphone.

Why we want it:

  • Because camping out by outlets in an airport is officially the worst.


28. Cozmo by Anki

Price: $179.99

What it is:

  • A child’s (or adult’s) first robot: packed with personality, this cute little guy learns and grows as you play with him, navigates the world on his own using his sensors, and has special “power cubes” that he can play with for added fun and growth.

Why we want it:

  • We always wanted a robot pal.


29. Automatic Pro

Price: $129.95

What it is:

  • Your car 2.0: this system integrates with your car to help you understand the underlying causes of those vague “check engine” lights, can contact emergency services for you in case of a crash, and even keeps track of your vehicle’s location, whether it’s in the parking lot or miles away in the hands of a friend or family member. The $129.95 ticket price also includes 5 years of 3G service.

Why we want it:

  • We’re all about data, so of course we want more data from our cars.


30. Coffiest

Price: $37.05 per month

What it is:

  • In the beginning, there was Soylent: the cheap, convenient, meal-replacement shake beloved by the busy lifehackers among us. Now there is Coffiest: Soylent and coffee in one bottle, further simplifying the life of you or the meal-drinker in your life.

Why we want it:

  • After weeks of holiday food and leftovers, we’ll be ready for something simpler.


31. Printabowl Hai

Price: $109

What it is:

  • A beautiful 3D-printed … bong.

Why we want it:

  • Because legal recreational marijuana has come to Washington State, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, and Colorado.


32. 1 Ounce Formula 1S Ink

What it is:

  • A plant-based semi-permanent tattooing system. The bottles in this kit allow you to freestyle any design you can think up. These great-looking tattoos sit in your epidermis (just below the surface of the skin, but not as deep as the dermis, where traditional tattoos live) and last about 2 to 3 weeks.

Why we want it:

  • Perfect for looking hip when heading to SXSW or just shocking gram-gram at the holiday gathering.


33. Playdate Pet Ball

Price: $179

What it is:

  • A smartphone-controlled ball with a built-in camera that lets you play with your beloved pet from anywhere. You control the direction that it rolls and can make it issue a squeaking noise to get your pet’s attention. A built-in camera even allows you to see their happy faces while you’re away.

Why we want it:

  • Doggie daycare is great and all, but sometimes your dog just wants some me-time at home.

Photo credit: Playdate


34. JetSmarter

Price: $15,000 for one year (includes initiation fee)

What it is:

  • While we’d all love a private jet, this is the next-best thing. JetSmarter is a private-jet membership service that lets you book seats on JetShuttle and JetDeals flights (operated by other companies), create flights on your own timelines, get helicopter transfers in certain locations, and much more. They don’t operate a fleet themselves, but let you get access to private jets being operated by other companies out of airports like Luton, Dulles, and Al Maktoum. You save time and hassles and get to meet an array of interesting folks. Live the jetsetter lifestyle (literally) at a fraction of the cost.

Why we want it:

  • We’re through flying coach.


Honorable Mention:

35. Inksedge

Price: $11.46 and up

What it is:

  • Gifts as awesome as the ones on this list demand cards that are just as cool. Inksedge lets you customize your cards online for a wide array of events (not just holidays), add your own images, and have an actual designer create your mockups. Then order physical prints on fine-quality paper or send them as beautiful e-cards.

Why we want it:

  • Because writing the perfect message to go inside a holiday card is haaaard.


Did we miss any? Tell us your pick for amazing gifts from startups in the comments.

You can look for more amazing products from enterprising startups yourself by logging into the CB Insights platform or sign up for free.