What makes Checkout.com different from Stripe

While Checkout.com has kept a low profile for many years, the company raised $380 million within a year and reached an impressive valuation of $5.5 billion. It wants to build a one-stop shop for all things related to payments, such as accepting transactions, processing them and detecting fraud.

You might think that it sounds a bit like Stripe. In an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt, I asked founder and CEO Guillaume Pousaz what makes Checkout.com different from Stripe, Adyen and other companies in the payment space. It comes down to a very different philosophy when it comes to product and market approach.

“We only do enterprise. We really only work with the big merchants. There are a few exceptions here and there but it’s mostly enterprise-only and it’s purely online,” Pousaz said.

“I once met [Stripe CEO] Patrick Collison and I joked with him. I said you might have a million merchants, I have 1,200 merchants but I know every single one by name and they all process tens of millions every year. So I think it’s just a different business,” he added later in the interview.

Checkout.com now has a ton of money sitting in its bank account, but it has been a long and slow journey to reach that level. The company has been around for many years and reached profitability in 2012. It has been spending very meticulously over the years.

When talking about the early days of the company, Pousaz said the team grew really slowly. “We can hire one employee this month. Now we can hire two employees this month,” he said.

Today, the company still tries to remain as lean as possible. “It’s really a matter of discipline. All these companies, they raise a lot of money, they spend a lot of money and I don’t challenge that model. For us, embedding that discipline and frugality in the company in how we run it is something that was important to us,” Pousaz said.

“There’s no problem with spending. Just make sure that when you’re spending, you’re wise about it. You just don’t spray and pray. You see this unfortunately too much with tech companies.”

That’s why Checkout.com mostly invests in its own product. Nearly two-thirds of the company is working in product, IT and engineering. Only 13% of the company is working in sales, which is much less than some of its competitors.

But why did Checkout.com raise hundreds of millions of dollars then? “At some point, you need validation. And the validation was really important for us. When you have Insight, DST, Coatue, GIC, Blossom it changes your dimension,” Pousaz said.

When talking about regulators, Checkout.com has licenses in Brazil, the U.K. and France (for contingency), Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. It’s a never-ending process as the company is still working on licenses in other key markets, such as Japan.

“These regulators are super thorough. You don’t pass because you’re a nice guy, you pass because you have the right processes,” Pousaz said.

I challenged that notion and mentioned the Wirecard collapse. He obviously thinks that Wirecard and Checkout.com are in a different position right now.

“All my money is sitting with JP Morgan, it’s pretty simple. There’s no bank account in the Philippines and funny stuff,” Pousaz said. “The Wirecard story is so big that the real question is — go and ask the question to the auditors. Because the auditors that I have, which for the record is PwC, ask me to show them the bank statements and everything. And there are super thorough, it’s a super long process.”

“How did the Wirecard story happen? I don’t know,” he added.

Satellite Vu aims to scope out the whole globe with thermal vision

Earth observation has grown from government-run missions to a crucial everyday business tool, but it still has room to grow. Specifically, into the thermal infrared spectrum, if startup Satellite Vu gets itself into orbit. The company plans to be able to monitor the heat signatures of most of the planet’s buildings with a satellite constellation built for the purpose.

Presenting today at TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield, Satellite Vu co-founder and CEO Anthony Baker explained the huge market for anyone who can tell with precision how much heat is being emitted by buildings, fields and other features.

Heat could indicate poor insulation, for one thing, and a waste of energy on HVAC. It could show the true (not reported) hours of operation at a factory or mine. It could track burning natural gas or waste emissions from refineries. With a resolution of 3 to 4 meters — an order of magnitude or more better than what’s out there — it might even be able to estimate the attendance of outdoor events or, for that matter, troop concentration in warfare. And of course it can do all this in the dark of night.

Baker told TechCrunch that he felt the Earth observation business, despite producing successful endeavors like Planet, still had lots of room to grow.

“Planet and Google Maps, they can show you what’s going on on the outside of a building. We can show you what’s going on inside,” he explained.

The tech behind it is both new and old. Infrared detection goes back decades, but doing so from orbit to within a fraction of a degree, and at this level of detail, is a very different proposition. The tech Satellite Vu is based on began as an Oxford-developed sensor for the Lunar Trailblazer orbiter that would look for water on the Moon’s surface; the company has an exclusive license to it.

“We took the sensor and space-hardened it, and did all the ‘new space’ stuff,” i.e. things like miniaturization and power optimization, Baker said. The problem with making the device smaller and more efficient, though, is “it affects the image — distorts it and blurs it. So we found a way to deal with that.”


Satellite Vu follows in the footsteps of Apple, Google and others, which in attempts to improve their smartphone cameras have found that there’s precious little improvement to be gotten out of the hardware, and instead focused on the software.

Satellite Vu

Like those of tech companies, Satellite Vu’s system collects information from dozens of sequential images and interprets that into an improved single one.

“We stack the images, and we can get a higher resolution, get rid of aberrations in it, do lots of other things. And it’s all patentable,” Baker added.

The result is a remarkably cheap satellite: maybe $15 million, and the company only needs 7 to get the worldwide coverage it plans to offer. For comparison, Baker said, the European Space Agency just greenlit a €500M project that would collect thermal imagery at a 30-meter resolution (smaller is better).

Competition in Earth observation is strong, but in this particular niche it’s practically non-existent in the commercial space. Planet’s satellites can see near-infrared spectra, but that’s not enough to get detailed heat data. There are military satellites and some from NASA or ESA, but they tend to be old, special-purpose, classified, or all three. Getting regular thermal imagery from orbit from a commercial provider isn’t really a possibility. Drones and high altitude flights are an option but not quite the same thing. And while there are a couple startups looking to get into the same domain, there’s probably room for everyone.

“It appeals to a lot of people, and government agencies around the world want a commercial source for this data,” Baker said. “The easiest market is probably ESG [environmental, social and governance] and green financing. Everyone is investing in green materials and stocks, but how do you know they’re green? No one’s counting. But we can measure it.”

Compliance with environmental law is difficult to monitor, and as new rules are established, new methods for making sure people abide by them are much in demand. It’s also helpful for companies that, for instance, are making voluntary efforts to go green and need an objective record that shows, for example, that their buildings are heated or cooled at certain efficiencies or that their datacenters operate at certain capacities and hours.

The clear demand for this service makes the daunting “We’re building a satellite” business model a little less daunting for investors. “They want to know where you’re going to make your first dollar. So if customers are willing to put money on the table, VCs will too,” Baker said. Right now the company is operating on grant money, but will soon need the kind of cash those programs don’t tend to part with all at once.

The immediate plan is to demonstrate the sensor in a series of flights using traditional aircraft, after which customers will, Baker hopes at least, start throwing money at them. Letters of intent (of which Satellite Vu has eight figures worth) are all well and good, but nothing beats a good old fashioned contract.

The best news is that launch costs, which might have grounded a company like this a few years ago, are now down to record lows.

“Elon’s deal for small satellites is just amazing. 200 kilos for a million dollars? That’s $5,000 a kilo — I’ve bought rockets in my career for $50,000 a kilo,” Baker said.

By going to a standard orbit on a ride share with SpaceX’s own Starlink launches, Satellite Vu keeps costs low and can break even with just one or two of its birds in the air. As with visible-spectrum orbital imagery, applications tend to emerge once the data starts coming out, so the company hopes diversify its offerings once it shows the capabilities of its constellation.

Presenting TechCrunch Disrupt’s Asia sessions

As you know by now, Disrupt is going completely virtual for its 10th anniversary. TechCrunch’s Asia team (me, Rita Liao and Manish Singh) will miss seeing everyone in Moscone Center, but this will be the most accessible Disrupt ever, and we are excited to bring a full roster of Asia-focused sessions to its agenda for the first time. The sessions, with people from some of Asia’s most influential tech companies, startups and investment firms, will be broadcast during the day in this part of the world, followed by live Q&A sessions. And of course, all Disrupt attendees will get full access to everything TechCrunch’s team has spent months working to bring online: the Disrupt and Extra Crunch stages, virtual networking at CrunchMatch and Digital Startup Alley.

Many of the most important recent startup trends and tech stories have come from Asia, or were driven by Asian companies. The continent is home to several of the world’s most complex and dynamic markets: China, India and Indonesia, to name just some of the biggest ones.

Available at a time that works best for you, catch these sessions Sept 15-18th from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM HKT. Immediately after each interview, join the speakers for a live Q&A. So come with your questions!

India is Facebook’s biggest market by number of users, and our speakers will include its head of India, Ajit Mohan.

We also have Russell Cohen, regional head of operations at Grab, the ride-hailing company that acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operations two years ago and is now also one of the region’s largest on-demand delivery platforms.

Byju Raveendran, founder of BYJU’s, India’s most highly-valued edtech startup, will talk about online learning, one of this year’s most important topics.

As another example of how tech innovations in Asia influence other parts of the world, we will speak to Kaisei Hamamoto, co-founder and chief operating officer of SmartNews, which runs versions of its news aggregator app in two very different markets, Japan and the United States.

Our lineup of founders include Sonny Vu, whose last startup, Misfit, was acquired by Apple, and is currently the chief executive officer of continuous carbon-fiber 3D printing company Arevo.

We’ll also talk to Steven Yang of Anker about how he built his company into one of the most popular and well-regarded smartphone charger and power bank brands.

Gillian Tee, founder of Singapore-based caregiving and telehealth startup Homage, will share insights about how tech can serve the world’s most vulnerable people.

On the investment side, we will hear from Edith Yeung, general partner at Race Capital, about emerging technology trends in China and Silicon Valley.

East Ventures, one of the most prolific and influential investment firms in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest market, will be represented by Melisa Irene, the firm’s first female partner.

And Karthik Reddy, co-founder of Blume Ventures, will be on hand to talk about the challenges and opportunities of helping build India’s startup ecosystem.

Each session will be followed by a live Q&A, so attendees will get a chance to ask each speaker questions. Stay tuned for the final schedule. In the meantime, make sure to get your pass to attend these sessions and a whole bunch more! If you move quickly, you can take advantage of savings on your pro pass if you buy before Friday, September 11 at 11:59pm PT.

Learn how to scale social impact startups at Disrupt with Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins and Jessica O. Matthews

Hundreds of founders have launched their startups with an aim to change the world. But uttering the words “making the world a better place,” isn’t the same as doing it or doing it well.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, founder of Promise, and Jessica O. Matthews, founder of Uncharted Power, have not only launched companies that “do good,” the pair have shown how to properly and successfully scale their businesses. We’re excited to announce that Ellis-Lamkins and Matthews will join TechCrunch on our virtual stage at Disrupt 2020 on September 14-18 to offer guidance to other founders and entrepreneurial hopefuls who want to build social impact companies.

Ellis-Lamkins has a long history as a labor and community organizer as well as a businesswoman. Her labor and community organizing experience includes a stint as the executive officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, an organized labor federation representing more than 100 unions and more than 110,000 members in California’s Santa Clara and San Benito counties. She was also executive director of Working Partnerships USA, a coalition working to address economic disparities in California’s Silicon Valley. She also served as the CEO of the anti-poverty organization Green For All.

Prior to co-founding Promise, Ellis-Lamkins ran revenue and operations at Honor. She previously worked with the musician Prince and led the effort to secure ownership of his masters. Ellis-Lamkins is currently a board member of the Tipping Point.

Matthews founded Uncharted Power at the age of 22. The company, which she leads, has developed technology that can interconnect decentralized power applications  such as residential solar, electric vehicle charging stations and IoT sensors into one sustainable network. The goal is to bridge the power access gap between current grid and off-grid solutions. Her experience includes raising what was at the time the largest Series A round ever raised by a black female founder in history.

Matthews, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the United States, has a degree in Psychology and Economics from Harvard University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and is listed on over 12 patents and patents pending, including her first invention of the SOCCKET, an energy generating soccer ball, at the age of 19.

Her success led to a White House invitation from President Barack Obama to represent small companies for the signing of the America Invents Act in 2012.

You may have heard that we’re taking Disrupt virtual this year, a move that lets us make the event accessible to more people than ever before while keeping everyone safe. Disrupt 2020 is scheduled to run from September 14 through September 19. Buy the Disrupt Digital Pro Pass or a Digital Startup Alley Exhibitor Package today and get access to all the interviews on our main stage, workshops over on the Extra Crunch Stage where you can get actionable tips as well as CrunchMatch, our free, AI-powered networking platform. As soon as you register for Disrupt, you will have access to CrunchMatch and can start connecting with people now. Use the tool to schedule one-on-one video calls with potential customers and investors or to recruit and interview prospective employees. If you act fast, you can even save an additional $100 during our flash sale that runs until Thursday, August 27 at 11:59pm PT.


Coursera and Insitro founder Daphne Koller is coming to Disrupt 2020

Years after Daphne Koller left academia to pursue its reinvention with Coursera, circumstances have conspired to return her to a passion left by the wayside. Big data, machine learning and biology are suddenly in syzygy and Koller is intent on making the most of it with her new company, Insitro — and telling us all about it at Disrupt SF 2020.

Koller was working on applying machine learning techniques to biology as early as 2000 during her tenure at Stanford. But the concept was hardly the household word it is today; The ML techniques we’ve come to rely on in practically every domain were then quite primitive by comparison, yet to many a forward-thinking mind clearly a tool with immense promise.

Leaving in 2012 to join Andrew Ng in founding one of the original MOOC platforms, Coursera, Koller temporarily left behind the world of computational biology. Four years later, however, she left Coursera to head up computing efforts at Google’s health R&D arm, Calico. Her work here clearly inspired to go her own way in 2018 and — with the blessing of GV and others to the tune of $100M — found Insitro.

The cost of developing new drugs can reach into the billions, making it impractical for pharmaceutical companies to pursue them in cases where the population affected by the treated condition is not large enough. The cost of drug development must drop, and Koller joined others in believing that data was the key.

These pharmaceutical companies have amassed enormous databases from human testing of drug candidates and other processes, but have been unable to effectively leverage them. Insitro aims to change that.

“We’re now at a moment in history where a confluence of technologies emerged all at around the same time to allow really large and interesting and disease-relevant data sets to be produced in biology,” said Koller at a talk hosted by TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos last year.

“In parallel, we see on the machine learning side… technologies that are able to make sense of that data and come up with novel insights that can hopefully cure disease. We’re in the business of actually building data for the sole purpose of training machine learning models… what we think of as little crystal balls that would allow you to avoid doing experiments that are complex or even impossible.”

The resulting combination of “in vitro” (i.e. in the lab) and “in silico” (in computer) techniques they call insitro — not good latin, but nevertheless perhaps the new reigning paradigm in this field.

With a number of partnerships and studies ongoing and a staggering $143M Series B raised just this May, Insitro is going strong and Koller will no doubt have a lot to say about it at our all-online Disrupt SF 2020.

We hope you can join us at Disrupt online this September 14-18. Get a front-row seat with your Digital Pro Pass for just $245 or with a Digital Startup Alley Exhibitor Package. Prices increase today, so grab your tickets today!


Founders can have long term benefits after exhibiting in Disrupt’s Startup Alley

Disrupt 2020 offers an unprecedented opportunity to introduce your pre-series A, early-stage startup to thousands of potential investors, customers, journalists, technologists and other influential movers and shakers around the world. How? Read on.

Grab yourself a Disrupt Digital Startup Alley Package and get ready to virtually showcase your innovative products, platforms or services in front of a global audience. Startup Alley is the heart and soul of every Disrupt conference. It’s high-octane networking and opportunity on steroids. It’s where crucial relationships begin and startup dreams move to the next level.

Sounds great, right? But what really happens when you exhibit in Startup Alley? Is it worth the time, energy and money?  We asked Felicia Jackson, inventor and founder of CPRWrap, to share her experience in Startup Alley.

A medical professional trained in CPR, Felicia Jackson froze when her two-year-old son suddenly stopped breathing. “In my panic, I forgot everything I had been taught. Fortunately, my husband stepped in and eventually saved our son.”

That incident inspired Jackson to invent CPRWrap — a patented single-use CPR template that guides you through the American Heart Association’s four recommended steps during respiratory or cardiac emergencies. Initially nervous about attending Disrupt because her product was low-tech, Jackson exhibited in a Startup Alley pavilion as part of a Nashville-based incubator called Launch Tennessee.

TechCrunch is all about innovative startups, and CPRWrap is highly innovative. Exhibiting in Startup Alley validated my product, my mission and my company,” said Jackson.

Exhibiting at Disrupt introduced Jackson to engineers, investors, manufacturers and new technologies she says she never would have learned about or met back in Tennessee.

I learned about materials to make a better product for less money. I met investors, I met engineers who expressed interest in collaborating with me to create an app for my product. How cool is that for an inventor?”

Exhibitors in Startup Alley can meet all kinds of influencers — investors, R&D teams, advisors, potential customers — and form connections that can, when nurtured, result in exciting partnerships. Disrupt offers so many opportunities to connect but, as Jackson notes, it’s up to you to foster those relationships.

As a direct result of the connections she made in Startup Alley, Jackson is working on collaborations with Gustavo Rodriguez of Baby Spark, an early childhood development app with more than one million users, and Erik Bast of Bee Intelligence. She’s also in ongoing negotiations with Kaiser Permenente.

The connections I made at Disrupt offer long-term benefits. Investors willing to put forth capital, engineers offering tech expertise and manufacturers to help me streamline… Fostering these relationships will help me grow my company and my bottom line.”

Still not sure whether a Digital Startup Alley Package, which costs $445, is right for you? We will host an Ask Me Anything session on the TechCrunch LinkedIn page July 15thJoin TechCrunch staff along with Felicia Jackson and other Startup Alley exhibitors to get answers to all your burning questions. More info to come but in the meantime if you have any questions, you can email startupalley@techcrunch.com.

In the meantime, sign up for our third installment of Pitchers and Pitches on July 1st. Five startups apart of this year’s Digital Startup Alley will give their best elevator pitch to TC Editors and VCs from Construct Capital and Betaworks Ventures.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2020? Contact the sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Stand out from the crowd: Apply to TC Top Picks at Disrupt 2020

This is one [expletive deleted] tough time to be an early-stage startup founder. But giving up simply isn’t part of startup DNA. Instead, it’s time to do whatever it takes to catch the eyes and imagination of investors, media and other tech and business influencers. Here’s an easy way to begin. Apply to be a TC Top Pick at virtual Disrupt 2020.

What’s a TC Top Pick? It’s an early-stage startup that passed rigorous scrutiny by TechCrunch editors with an eye for innovation and potential. The fortunate few to earn that designation win a free Digital Startup Alley Package, tons of exposure to investors and media, plus a bunch of other bennies designed to help you survive and thrive — even in tough times.

Here’s how it works. You’re eligible to apply if your pre-Series A startup falls into one of the following categories.

Social Impact + Education, Space, Artificial Intelligence + Machine Learning, Biotech + Healthtech, Enterprise + SaaS, Fintech, Mobility, Retail + E-commerce, Robotics, Hardware + IOT, and Security + Privacy.

TechCrunch editors will choose up to three startups in each category. Each Top Pick receives a Digital Startup Package, which lets three people exhibit from anywhere in the world. And since everyone wants to know who made the grade as a Top Pick, you can expect lots of requests for 1:1 virtual demos and video meetings with investors, media, potential customers, folks interested in collaborating — you name it. And you’ll have months to pitch and network.

Here’s another giant advantage: TechCrunch will conduct a virtual video interview for each Top Pick startup and promote the videos across our social media platforms — driving traffic to your website. Your video will make an excellent conversation starter and long-term marketing tool.

We’re not done with all the Startup Alley exhibitor perks and opportunities. You get exclusive access to the Leading Voices Webinar series. You’ll hear the brightest industry minds discuss ways to adapt during and after this pandemic.

All that networking will be a lot easier and more efficient with CrunchMatch, TechCrunch’s AI-powered networking platform. It helps you find and connect with like-minded investors, founders and other startup influencers. Save time by networking only with people who can move your business forward.

Pour yourself something tasty, join the Pitchers and Pitches webinars and fine-tune your pitch with the TechCrunch editorial team that coaches the Startup Battlefield competitors.

Don’t let hard times drive your dream into a ditch. Do what it takes to place your startup in front of the influencers who can help you succeed. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Keep moving forward and apply to the TC Top Picks program.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

How can startups reinvent real estate? Learn how at TechCrunch Disrupt

Like many industries in the wake of the global pandemic, real estate seems to be completely frozen. Without viewings, housing sales are dipping; without customers, commercial leases aren’t getting signed; and without economic growth, property prices are declining as investors wait for clarity in the weeks and months ahead.

On the tech side though, real estate may just be one of the most interesting verticals in which to launch a company and raise capital today. Startups have tried for years to break in and disrupt the sclerotic real estate industry, but the acute challenges facing it today offer an opportunity for startups to finally break through.

On the Extra Crunch stage at TechCrunch Disrupt (Sept 14-18), we want to take stock of where the market is and what the opportunities are for ambitious founders looking to prod an asset class with trillions in capital finally into the 21st century. Thankfully, we have some of the smartest real estate tech investors in the world stopping by to discuss precisely those opportunities and what is going to happen next.

Joining us on stage will be Merritt Hummer of Bain Capital Ventures, Brendan Wallace of Fifth Wall and Connie Chan of Andreessen Horowitz.

Hummer is a growth investment partner at Bain in real estate tech and fintech more broadly. Just a few weeks ago, she led a $28 million round for Material Bank, which is a logistics platform for paint swatches and material samples designed to help architects and builders pick the right options during construction. If that sounds simple, it isn’t: The company built out a facility next to FedEx’s shipping center in Memphis and uses robots to rapidly turn around sample orders to clients.

Wallace co-founded Fifth Wall, a venture firm devoted pretty much exclusively to real estate tech that raised a second fund of roughly $500 million in 2019 and a $100 million retail-focused fund earlier this year. Fifth Wall has backed such real estate startups as Opendoor, Hippo Insurance, Loft and many more. A long-time angel investor, he formerly founded Identified, which was acquired by Workday.

Chan is general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and has for years been a bridge for the firm between the U.S., China and Asia more broadly. Earlier this year, she invested in Run the World, a platform for running virtual events now that more conventional, in-person exhibition halls have been closed due to social distancing. It’s a popular company these days, since just weeks later, the company announced another round of capital led by Founders Fund.

Together, we will talk about the current state of real estate today, where startups can have the most influence in terms of traction in this quickly changing sector, and then expand our view on what real estate even means in a world where remote work is getting more and more purchase and travel and tourism are being entirely upended. You won’t want to miss this.

TechCrunch Disrupt happens from September 14-18 and is 100% virtual this year! You’ll need to get a Disrupt Digital Pro pass to be able to catch this session though. You can get one for $245 but we only have a limited quantity at that price. Head over here to secure your access to Disrupt content and all the networking with the global TechCrunch community.

Win a Wild Card to compete in Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2020

Ready to take advantage of every opportunity to keep your startup on track and moving forward? Yes, yes you are. Exhibiting in Startup Alley during Disrupt SF 2020 is nothing but opportunity. It offers founders beaucoup benefits, but there’s one more whopper waiting for two standout startups. We’re talking about the Wild Card entry to compete in Startup Battlefield.

Yup, buy yourself a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and you’ll have a shot at joining Disrupt SF 2020’s elite Startup Battlefield cohort. The winner of this epic pitch competition takes home the coveted Disrupt Cup and $100,000. And who couldn’t use that kind of equity-free cash infusion right about now?

Here’s how it all works. Exhibit in Startup Alley, where you’ll demo your tech products, platforms or services to potential investors, customers, engineers, media outlets and, well, the list goes on. This is no time to take your foot off the gas, and Startup Alley offers a prime opportunity to network one-on-one and build relationships with the people who can help keep your startup moving forward.

Now, about that Wild Card. The discerning TechCrunch editorial team will review all exhibiting startups and — talk about a tough task — select only two companies to compete in Startup Battlefield.

If you’re chosen, you’ll join the other Battlefield competitors and deliver a 6-minute pitch and demo to a panel of judges — top-name VCs and technologists. You’ll also answer a Q&A after your pitch. If you make it through to round two, you’ll do it all again to a fresh set of experts.

Does it sound a bit far-fetched — going from mild-mannered exhibitor to Battlefield Champion — hoisting the Disrupt Cup and hauling $100K back home? Okay, it’s longshot, but it’s not unprecedented! The folks at RecordGram pulled it off, why not you?

Even if you don’t win the competition, you’ll launch in front of the global startup community, be on the receiving end of intense media and investor interest and join the ranks of the Startup Battlefield Alumni community — more than 900 companies (including the likes of Dropbox, Mint, Yammer and Vurb) that have collectively raised $9 billion and produced 115 exits.

Don’t miss your double dose of opportunity. Exhibit in Startup Alley at Disrupt SF 2020, drive your dream to the next level and take a shot at winning a Wild Card. Who knows? You might just be the next Startup Battlefield champ.

TechCrunch is mindful of the COVID-19 issue and its impact on live events. You can follow updates here.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt San Francisco 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Startup Battlefield is going virtual with TechCrunch Disrupt 2020

You read that right. The big announcement came yesterday – TechCrunch Disrupt is now fully virtual. What does this mean for Startup Battlefield? More opportunity. The best companies from across the globe, an even bigger launch platform, the eyes of more investors from around the world and press exposure at the biggest conference TechCrunch has held to-date. The conference will be available globally, spanning 5 days – September 14-18. Founders. This. Is. Your. Shot. Applications will close June 19th, so get your app in ASAP.

Successful startup founders face challenging circumstances with determination and persistence — and they grab hold of every opportunity to pave a path forward. Are you ready to pave your path? And a chance to win the $100,000 equity-free prize and the Disrupt Cup?

The virtual Startup Battlefield works much like last year’s onsite battle, but with a few twists and added benefits.

Apply. You’re eligible — no matter where you are around the world — if your company meets these criteria: it’s early stage; you have an MVP that includes a tech component (software, hardware or platform); your company has not received much, if any, major media coverage. Here’s good news: it won’t cost you a thing to apply or participate in the Battlefield. And TechCrunch does not take any equity.

The TechCrunch editorial team will review every application looking for innovative, game-changing startups from verticals spanning the tech spectrum. They’ll select a cadre of startups to compete virtually in front of influencers who have to power to change the course of your business.

Prepare for battle. All competing teams go through a free weeks-long training with TechCrunch team. That coaching will whip your pitch into fighting trim, cut the fat from your business models, sharpen your presentation skills and fine-tune your demo. You’ll also hear from industry experts on developing various aspects of your business – from go-to-market strategy to executive communications.

Compete. When game day arrives, each team presents a 6-minute pitch to a bevy of judges consisting of top VCs and technologists. An intense Q&A follows each presentation, but with all that coaching under your belt you won’t break a sweat. The judges will select teams to move into the finals — and those founders will pitch yet again to a fresh panel of judges on the final day of the virtual conference.

From that impressive lot, the judges will choose one stellar startup to claim the Disrupt Cup and the $100,000 prize. The whole event takes place online in front of a huge global audience — they can watch all the action with a free Disrupt  Digital pass.

Network and grow your business. Although only one startup wins the cash, all Startup Battlefield competitors gain invaluable exposure to investors, media and potential customers — and they join the ranks of the Startup Battlefield Alumni. That impressive cohort has collectively raised $9 billion and generated 115 exits. We’re talking companies like Vurb, Dropbox, GetAround, Mint, Yammer, Fitbit and many more. Talk about prime networking.

Startup Battlefield competitors also get to exhibit in Digital Startup Alley and enjoy these added benefits:

  • Leading Voices Webinars: Top industry minds will share their thoughts and strategies on adapting and thriving during and after this pandemic. Startup Alley exhibitors get exclusive access to this webinar series.
  • A launch article posted on TechCrunch.com
  • A YouTube video promoted on TechCrunch.com
  • Free subscription to Extra Crunch
  • Free passes to future TechCrunch events

Plus, you’ll receive loads of press and investor attention and use of CrunchMatch, our AI-powered networking platform, to set up virtual meetings. Keep checking back because we’re not quite finished adding extra perks.

You’re determined. You’re persistent. Apply to compete in Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2020 for an opportunity to pave your path to success.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.