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Updated: 7 hours 52 min ago

Daily Crunch: Away’s CEO is stepping down

2019, December 11 - 3:33am

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Away CEO is stepping down in light of reports of toxic culture

Steph Korey is stepping down from her role as CEO, although she will remain on-board as executive chairman. She’ll be replaced by Lululemon COO Stuart Haselden.

The timing of the announcement comes just a few days after The Verge published an in-depth story about management practices at the luggage startup, which included extensive quotes from Korey’s Slack messages. However, the company says that the executive search has been underway for months.

2. VSCO acquires video editing startup Rylo

The photo-sharing app behind the 2019 meme craze “VSCO girls” has acquired Rylo, a video editing startup founded by the original developer of Instagram’s Hyperlapse. Founded in 2015, Rylo is best known for its 360° camera capable of creating cinematic video in 5.8K resolution.

3. Apple Card’s interest-free iPhone installment plan goes live, now with 6% back on Apple holiday purchases

The company already announced its plans for the program — allowing cardholders to purchase a new iPhone, then pay it back over 24 months with no interest — but now it’s actually opening up to all Apple Card customers. In addition, Apple is sweetening the deal with 6% back on all Apple purchases made from December 10 through December 31.

4. India proposes new rules to access its citizens’ data

India has proposed new rules that would require companies to obtain consent from Indian citizens before collecting and processing their personal data. At the same time, the new rules also state that companies would have to hand over “non-personal” user data to the government, which would also hold the power to collect any data about its citizens without consent.

5. Waze adds unplowed road reporting feature for better awareness of winter driving hazards

Waze says it developed this update after it received a recommendation from the Virginia Department of Transportation, working with the municipal agency through its “Waze for Cities Data” partnership and data-sharing program.

6. Jiji raises $21M for its Africa online classifieds business

Buyers and sellers use Jiji to make purchases ranging from real estate to car sales. The classifieds site says it has 2 million listings on its Africa platforms and hit 8 million unique monthly users in 2018.

7. AWS is sick of waiting for your company to move to the cloud

AWS held its annual re:Invent customer conference last week in Las Vegas, where CEO Andy Jassy made it clear he’s tired of the slow pace of change inside the enterprise. The company also announced some big bets designed to accelerate cloud adoption. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

Categories: Business News

Is your startup protected against insider threats?

2019, December 11 - 3:31am

We’ve talked about securing your startup, the need to understand phishing risks and how not to handle a data breach. But we haven’t yet discussed one of the more damaging threats that all businesses large and small face: the insider threat.

The insider threat is exactly as it sounds — someone within your organization who has malicious intent. Your employees will be one of your biggest assets, but human beings are the weakest link in the security chain. Your staff are already in a privileged position — in the sense that they are in a place where they have access to far more than they would as an outsider. That means taking data, either maliciously or inadvertently, is easier for staff than it might be for a hacker.

“Organizations need to understand that the threats coming from inside their organizations are as critical as, if not more dangerous than, the threats coming from the outside,” said Stephanie Carruthers, a social engineering expert who serves as chief people hacker at IBM X-Force Red, a division of Big Blue that looks for breaches in IoT devices before — and after — they go to market.

Insider risks can become active threats for many reasons. Some individuals may become disgruntled, some want to blow the whistle on wrongdoing and others can be approached (or even manipulated) by career criminals over debts or other matters in their private life.

There are plenty of examples, many not too far back in recent history.

Categories: Business News

Y Combinator will now run its online Startup School multiple times per year

2019, December 11 - 2:01am

Back in 2017, Y Combinator began offering a 10-week, once-a-year online course called Startup School. Part forum community and part video classroom, the program offers a variety of lectures on topics like raising money or evaluating startup ideas, as led by YC partners and other entrepreneurs from their network.

Three years and 40,000+ students later, they’re switching up the schedule; beginning in 2020, Startup School will now be running multiple times per year. It’s also shifting from being a 10-week program to being an eight-week program.

In its first few years, Y Combinator set a hard cap on the number of founders it accepted into each Startup School session. After acceptance letters were accidentally sent to the wrong teams in 2018, the company opted to let in everyone who applied, modifying the program to focus less on personal advising and more on small peer-to-peer advice groups. It sounds like they’re sticking with this strategy moving forward, as an FAQ on the Startup School site notes that they “do not have a limit on the number of participants” with this year’s sessions.

Did you take part in Startup School previously and are curious if it’s worth doing again? YC says that while “a few lectures will be updated or replaced,” the video content of 2020’s Startup School will be largely the same as 2019. The structure of the course itself will see some changes, though: they’ll be doing fewer group video chat sessions, but introducing weekly Q&A sessions with YC partners.

Just how many times “multiple times per year” will actually be still seems to be up in the air; YC tells me that they’re still working that out. In a post announcing the change, YC notes that its first 2020 course will start in January (whereas previous sessions have started closer to mid-year).

Also still a bit up in the air is YC’s Startup School grant program. In previous years, graduates of the course were able to apply for an equity-free grant (initially $10,000, later increased to $15,000). With Startup School now occurring multiple times per year, YC says it’s “in the process of evaluating the grant program.”

In the same post, YC outlined some stats from this most recent year — like, of the 41,777 founders who took part in the course, 10,193 graduated; 57% of the founders worked on their startups full-time; and 62% of founders were from outside the U.S.

That last bit seems key to YC’s strategy here. Startup School is at least partly meant to serve as a potential funnel into the core YC accelerator program. By putting everything online, they’re letting people from around the world get their foot in the door and get the ball rolling without making the massive commitment of moving to the U.S.

Categories: Business News

Xs:code launches subscription platform to monetize open-source projects

2019, December 11 - 2:00am

Open source is a great source of free tools for developers, but as these projects proliferate, and some gain in popularity, the creators sometimes look for ways to monetize successful ones. The problem is that it’s hard to run a subscription-based, dual-license approach, and most developers don’t even know where to start. Enter Israeli startup xs:code, which has created a platform to help developers solve this problem.

“Xs:code is a monetization platform for open-source projects. Unlike donation platforms which are pretty popular today, xs:code allows open-source developers to provide added value in exchange for payments. That comes on top of what they offer for free. This added value can be a different license, more features, support services or anything they can think of,” Netanel Mohoni, co-founder and CEO of xs:code told TechCrunch.

This does not mean the open-source part of this goes away, only that the company is providing a platform for those developers who want to monetize their work, Mohoni said. “Companies pay for accessing the code, and they enjoy better software created by motivated developers who are now compensated for their work. Because our solution makes sure that the code remains open source, developers can continue accepting contributions so the community enjoys better code than ever before,” he explained.

Photo: xs:code

What’s more, project owners can even distribute to community contributors funds earned from subscriptions, if they wish to do so, giving them a way to pay contributors, who help make the project better.

The way it generally works is that the open-source developers create a dual license model. One has the raw open-source code, and one is the commercial version, which could have additional functionality or support that customers would be willing to pay for via a subscription.

The developers create a private repository on GitHub, and connect to xs:code, where they can share a link to the paid version. Users hit the paywall and can subscribe. Xs:code collects the money and distributes it in whichever way the developers have indicated. The company takes 25% as a commission for maintaining the platform and collecting the revenue.

The platform is available for the first time starting today in beta. You can sign up for free. Xs:code has raised $500,000 in pre-seed money to date.

Categories: Business News

Unsplash is building an ad business around branded stock photos

2019, December 10 - 11:24pm

Unsplash has built up a library of 1 million stock photographs, all available to use for free. Now it’s ready to start making money — and to help its photographers earn additional income in the process.

Don’t worry: The company isn’t about to start charging for its photos, which CEO Mikael Cho said risks “stalling creativity.”

Nor is it going to slap banner ads on every page of its website. Yes, it’s unveiling a digital advertising business, but Unsplash is taking a specific approach — working with companies to create branded photos, which will then appear on desirable searches.

Square, for example, could upload photos of the Square Register, which will then show up when Unsplash users search for “cash register” and other terms.

Brands working with Unsplash will get prominent placement in relevant searches, as well as their own brand channel, but Cho said the real impact only begins on the Unsplash website.

“This stuff doesn’t just live in a centralized place,” he told me. “More and more advertising platforms, it’s a walled garden. [With Unsplash], the purpose is to get it to spread: People use it in their presentations, it’ll end up on blog posts.”

With Square, for example, if someone’s writing an article about “the future of the cash register,” the Square Register suddenly becomes an obvious choice for the lead image.

“Square is known for its iconic ‘little white card reader,’ but our hardware has evolved into an ecosystem of products that helps business owners of all sizes,” said Square’s brand marketing manager Leann Livingston in a statement. “By featuring photography of Square hardware across restaurants, salons, and retail stores, we were able to expand our brand through organic imagery.”

Cho also said that in about half the campaigns so far, the brand is also commissioning Unsplash photographers to do the work. For example, Boxed Water commissioned photos of its product in some fun contexts.

“Through commissioning some of our favorite photographers, we’re setting a new norm of sustainability, allowing creatives everywhere to have access to images free from plastic bottles harming our planet,” said Boxed Water is Better CMO Rob Koenen in a statement.

Unsplash for Brands is currently invite-only. The company also says that research from Kantar Millward Brown has shown that its brand images can reach “mass scale” while outperforming TV and digital advertising benchmarks by up to five times.

Unsplash raises $7.25M to bring cryptocurrency to its free, curated photo platform

Categories: Business News

VSCO acquires video editing startup Rylo

2019, December 10 - 11:00pm

The photo-sharing app behind the 2019 meme craze “VSCO girls” has acquired Rylo, a video editing startup founded by the original developer of Instagram’s Hyperlapse.

A spokesperson for VSCO, an eight-year-old subscription-based business on track to surpass 4 million paying users, declined to disclose the terms of the deal. Rylo had raised roughly $38 million in venture capital funding, reaching a valuation of $120.25 million with a $20 million Series B announced in October 2018, according to data collected by PitchBook.

San Francisco-based Rylo was backed by a number of institutional investors, including Sequoia Capital, Alumni Ventures Group, Icon Ventures and Accel — a Silicon Valley venture capital fund and key stakeholder in Oakland-based VSCO.

Founded in 2015, Rylo is best known for its 360° camera capable of creating cinematic video in 5.8K resolution. The device previously retailed for nearly $500 but now sells for as low as $250 on BestBuy.com. Under VSCO’s ownership, Rylo will focus exclusively on building out its video editing tools for mobile. The company tells us it will not continue to manufacture and sell its signature device but will continue to honor the warranty on previously sold cameras.

Rylo was launched by Alex Karpenko and Chris Cunningham. Karpenko, Rylo’s chief executive officer, previously founded Luma Camera in 2011, a video-capture, stabilization and sharing app acquired by Instagram in 2013. The deal marked Instagram’s first-ever acquisition; the app was subsequently shut down, with Karpenko joining Instagram’s team as a software engineer. Karpenko became key developer of Hyperlapse, Instagram’s time-lapse video app.

Cunningham, for his part, focused on iLife, Aperture and iPhoto for iOS as an engineer at Apple from 2008 to 2013. Cunningham eventually exited Apple for Facebook-owned Instagram, where he worked as an iOS engineer focused on Instagram Direct.

VSCO, led by co-founder and chief executive officer Joel Flory, charges users $19.99 per year for access to a full-suite of mobile photo-editing tools, exclusive photo filters, tutorials and more. In a recent interview with TechCrunch, Flory outlined ambitions to expand beyond photo-sharing and editing to video and illustration. The company’s latest deal, its first since its 2015 acquisitions of Moving Sciences and Artifact Uprising, confirms its intent to grow the business and carve out new revenue streams.

“We’ve seen video editing double on VSCO and DSCO, our GIF creation tool remains one of our most popular features,” Flory writes in a company blog post. “It’s clear that our users want more video tools and new ways to tell their stories through creative self-expression.”

Inside VSCO, a Gen Z-approved photo-sharing app, with CEO Joel Flory

Categories: Business News

ProducePay nabs $190 million debt financing to lend to farmers

2019, December 10 - 10:31pm

Los Angeles-based ProducePay has inked a $190 million debt facility from CoVenture and TCM Capital to expand its lending business and marketplace for farmers.

ProducePay offers farmers cash advances throughout the growing season to smooth the sometimes lumpy revenues and give farmers a bit more predictability, the company said. It buys produce ahead of delivery and sets itself up as a middle-man between distributors, growers and grocers.

Since its launch in 2015, the company has seen $1.5 billion worth of produce flow across its marketplace; $750 million of those transactions were in the last year.

ProducePay raises $77 million in debt and equity to revolutionize farm financing

ProducePay’s pitch to farmers is the company’s centralized marketplace, which the company says offers growers higher pricing and certain payment from distributors, along with better pricing for supplies and services like seed, equipment and logistics services.

The marketplace service, which only launched in October, has already seen $100 million in purchases.

“In just four years, ProducePay has had a transformative effect on the financial health and success of scores of farmers and value-additive distributors in Latin America and the U.S.,” said ProducePay founder and CEO Pablo Borquez Schwarzbeck, in a statement. “This new debt facility will accelerate ProducePay’s impact, empowering more farmers and distributors to run their businesses more profitably, making high quality and affordable fresh produce available throughout the U.S.”

Categories: Business News

$125 million for Inscripta may usher in the next wave of genetic engineering

2019, December 10 - 10:01pm

In these waning days of the second decade of the twenty-first century, technologists and investors are beginning to lay the foundations for new, truly transformational technologies that have the potential to reshape entire industries and rewrite the rules of human understanding.

It may sound lofty, but new achievements from businesses and research institutions in areas like machine learning, quantum computing and genetic engineering mean that the futures imagined in science fiction are  simply becoming science.

And among the technologies that could potentially have the biggest effect on the way we live, nothing looms larger than genetic engineering.

Investors and entrepreneurs are deploying hundreds of millions of dollars to create the tools that researchers, scientists and industry will use to re-engineer the building blocks of life to perform different functions in agriculture, manufacturing and medicine.

One of these companies, 10X Genomics, which gives users hardware and software to determine the functionality of different genetic code, has already proven how lucrative this early market can be. The company, which had its initial public offering earlier this year, is now worth $6 billion.

Another, the still-private company Inscripta, is helmed by a former 10X Genomics executive. The Boulder, Colo.-based startup is commercializing a machine that can let researchers design and manufacture small quantities of new organisms. If 10X Genomics is giving scientists and businesses a better way to read and understand the genome, then Inscripta is giving those same users a new way to write their own genetic code and make their own organisms.

It’s a technology that investors are falling over themselves to finance. The company, which closed on $105 million in financing earlier in the year (through several tranches, which began in late 2018), has just raised another $125 million on the heels of launching its first commercial product. Investors in the round include new and previous investors like Paladin Capital Group, JS Capital Management, Oak HC/FT and Venrock.

“Biology has unlimited potential to positively change this world,” says Kevin Ness, the chief executive of Inscripta . “It’s one of the most important new technology forces that will be a major player in the global economy.”

Ness sees Inscripta as breaking down one of the biggest barriers to the commercialization of genetic engineering, which is access to the technology.

While genome centers and biology foundries can manufacture massive quantities of new biological material  for industrial uses, it’s too costly and centralized for most researchers. “We can put the biofoundry capabilities into a box that can be pushed to a global researcher,” says Ness.

Earlier this year, the company announced that it was taking orders for its first bio-manufacturing product; the new capital is designed to pay for expanding its manufacturing capabilities.

That wasn’t the only barrier that Inscripta felt that it needed to break down. The company also developed a proprietary biochemistry for gene editing, hoping to avoid having to pay fees to one of the two laboratories that were engaged in a pitched legal battle over who owned the CRISPR technology (the Broad Institute and the University of California both had claims to the  technology).

Categories: Business News

Baby food delivery startup Yumi spoon fed another $8M in strategic funding

2019, December 10 - 10:00pm

Babies have options these days when it comes to what goes in their mouths. No more is it just the standard mush in a jar. Now they’ve got everything from pouches to organic purees delivered right to their parents’ door — and Yumi is one of several startups cashing in.

The company has just announced that it raised another $8 million from several of Silicon Valley’s household names, including Allbirds, Warby Parker, Harry’s, Sweetgreen, SoulCycle, Uber, Casper and the CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee, James Freeman. That puts the total raised now to $12.1 million.

But it’s a tough and saturated market full of products all vying for mom and dad’s attention, and that’s not a lot of cash to go on, compared to the billion-dollar industry Yumi is up against. According to Zion Market Research, the global baby food market could reach as much as $76 billion by 2021. However, you wouldn’t know Yumi was up against such odds if you ask them and their financial supporters.

The advantage, according to the company, is in providing fresh food alternatives, and that “shelf-stable” competitors like Gerber lack key nutrients parents want for their little ones.

“Our goal is to change the standards for childhood nutrition, and completely upend what it means to be a food brand in America,” Yumi co-founder and CEO Angela Sutherland said. “This group of visionary leaders have all redefined their categories and now we have the opportunity to work together to reimagine early-age nutrition for the next generation.”

Will that bet pay off and help this startup stand out? Sales continue to rise and have risen by 10 times in the last year, according to the company — we’ve asked but don’t know what those sales numbers are, unfortunately. However, Yumi’s bet on fresh and delivered could prove to be just what parents want as the company continues to grow.

“As a parent, Yumi’s mission immediately resonated,” said co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker Neil Blumenthal . “As we’ve seen at Warby Parker, and now at Yumi, there is a massive shift happening in the world of retail. There’s now a new generation of consumers who are actively seeking brands that reflect their values and lifestyle — the moat that big, legacy brands once enjoyed has evaporated.”

Categories: Business News

Investors find a spot for $65 million in Passport’s parking management tech

2019, December 10 - 9:31pm

The big new round of funding for Passport’s ticketing and parking management tech proves that software can even disrupt something as mundane and seemingly low-tech as the parking lot.

The startup, which just raised $65 million in new financing from investors, is a permitting, parking and ticketing management service for cities, office parks and campuses.

The capital commitment more than doubles the North Carolina-based startup’s funding to $125 million and is actually the second big investment round of the year for a parking tech company. SpotHero, the Chicago-based marketplace for parking, raised $50 million earlier in the year, and other services related to auto care and servicing in parking lots or on-demand have raised tens of millions of dollars as well.

“In the future, almost everyone in the world will live in a city, so there’s no more important challenge to work on than how people move throughout communities and transact with cities,” said Bob Youakim, Passport co-founder and chief executive, in a statement. “We envision a world where mobility is seamless. To bring this vision to life, we are creating an open ecosystem where any entity — a connected or autonomous vehicle, a mapping app, or a parking app — can leverage our transactional infrastructure to facilitate digital parking payments.”

Passport’s application interfaces allow any government to set up electronic payments for parking tickets and with mobile readers can scan licenses to check for permits and approvals that car owners have through the company’s management service.

With the close of the new round, Habib Kairouz from Rho Capital Partners and Scott Hilleboe from H.I.G. will both take seats on the company’s board of directors.

The company processes more than 100 million transactions per year and will see $1.5 billion pass through its system this year.

Categories: Business News

Soci raises $12M to help big brands manage local marketing

2019, December 10 - 9:00pm

According to CEO Afif Khoury, we’re in the middle of “the third wave of social” — a shift back to local interactions. And Khoury’s startup Soci (pronounced soh-shee) has raised $12 million in Series C funding to help companies navigate that shift.

Soci works with customers like Ace Hardware and Sport Clips to help them manage the online presence of hundreds or thousands of stores. It allows marketers to post content and share assets across all those pages, respond to reviews and comments, manage ad campaigns and provide guidance around how to stay on-brand.

It sounds like most of these interactions are happening on Facebook. Khoury told me that Soci integrates with “40 different APIs where businesses are having conversations with their customers,” but he added, “Facebook was and continues to be the most prominent conversation center.”

Khoury and CTO Alo Sarv founded Soci back in 2012. Khoury said they spent the first two years building the product, and have subsequently raised around $30 million in total funding.

“What we weren’t building was a point solution,” he said. “What we were building was a massive platform … It took us 18 months to two years to really build it in the way we thought was going to be meaningful for the marketplace.”

Soci has also incorporated artificial intelligence to power chatbots that Khoury said “take that engagement happening on social and move it downstream to a call or a sale or something relevant to the local business.”

The new round was led by Vertical Venture Partners, with participation from Grayhawk Capital and Ankona Capital. Khoury said the money will allow Soci to continue developing its AI technology and to build out its sales and marketing team.

“Ours is a very consultative sale,” he said. “It’s a complicated world that you’re living in, and we really want to partner and have a local presence with our customers.”

Gorgias raises $14M to help e-commerce companies deliver faster (and more lucrative) customer service

Categories: Business News

Last chance to save: Late registration to Disrupt Berlin 2019 ends tonight

2019, December 10 - 8:23pm

The countdown status to Disrupt Berlin 2019 stands at T-minus 24 hours. Yep, the doors to prolific opportunity open tomorrow at Arena Berlin. It’s not too late to join thousands of your startup colleagues, but today’s the last day you can save money on the price of admission.

Our late registration for Disrupt Berlin closes tonight at 11:59 p.m. (CEST). Don’t miss your last chance to save up to €200 over the onsite ticket price. Beat the clock and buy your pass right here, right now.

Let’s highlight just some of the events and happenings that await you at Disrupt Berlin.

Come ready to network and head straight to Startup Alley. The expo hall features hundreds of innovative early-stage companies eager to demo and discuss their products, platforms and services that span the tech spectrum.

It’s also where you’ll find a special cadre of companies — the TC Top Picks. TechCrunch editors hand-picked up to five startups in each of the following categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, and CRM/Enterprise. See why they made the grade.

Want to make the most of your limited time at the show? Use CrunchMatch, our free business-matching platform that makes networking much more efficient. It’s curated and automated, and it connects you to people who align with your business goals.

Bear witness to the Startup Battlefield as founders of early-stage startups launch on a world stage and vie for the Disrupt Cup, intense media and investor love and a $50,000 cash prize. Who knows? You might see the birth of a future unicorn.

Between all the networking and the Battlefield, be sure to take in the world-class speakers, panel discussions, Q&A Sessions and workshops. As usual, top players, technologists, researchers and investors will share insights on the current and future states of startups. Check out the full Disrupt Berlin agenda here and plan accordingly.

We’re only one day away from Disrupt Berlin, and we can’t wait to meet all of you creative founders, investors, makers and entrepreneurs. Prolific opportunity awaits you. Buy your pass to Disrupt Berlin and save up to €200 before late registration ends tonight at 10 December at 11:59 p.m. (CEST).

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Categories: Business News

User’s Guide to Disrupt Berlin 2019

2019, December 10 - 5:25pm

Heiliger Strohsack — or holy smokes as we say here in the States! We’re just hours away from kicking off Disrupt Berlin 2019 (11-12 December). We have a stellar event planned with an all-star lineup that only TechCrunch can assemble, and we’re expecting our largest number of attendees yet. Seriously, have you read the star-packed agenda?

Of course, with any event of this size we have a few vital logistical items to share so that your Disrupt experience is seamless and productive. Ready? Here’s what you need to know.

Pre-Event Badge Pick Up

Skip the morning rush by picking up your badge early on Tuesday 10 December from 4pm – 7pm at betahaus Kreuzberg. The first 500 people to pick up their badge will receive a pair of TC socks! Have your Universe ticket confirmation email and a government-issued photo ID on you.

Event Registration & Badge Pick Up

Registration opens at 8:30 am Wednesday (8:00am for Startup Alley exhibitors) and 8:00am on Thursday (7:30am for Startup Alley exhibitors). Universe is the official ticketing platform of Disrupt. If you’re signed up for Disrupt, you used Universe. We love them and we think you will, too. If you haven’t purchased your pass, please go do that here.

Please bring your government-issued photo ID each day of the conference.

Lost Badge Fee

Don’t forget your badge every day – there is a €75 reprint fee for lost or misplaced badges.

TechCrunch Events App

The TechCrunch Events app is now available for you to download in the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores.You will also be able to access CrunchMatch through the app.

With the TechCrunch Events app you can:

  • View agenda sessions and create your calendar
  • Sort by category, view and favorite Startup Alley exhibitors and sponsors
  • Get recommendations on sessions, exhibitors and sponsors you should meet
  • Message and connect with other opted-in attendees
  • Easily find your way around the event with interactive venue maps
  • Get access to the CrunchMatch platform to discover and set up meetings with the attendees you most want to meet

How to access the app:

  • Download the TechCrunch Event app from the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play Store.
  • Once downloaded, select the Disrupt Berlin 2019 event and you’ll be prompted to enter the email address associated with your registration. Your password is the last 6 digits of the number above the QR code on your Universe ticket (case-sensitive). If you do not have access to your Universe ticket, you can select “forgot password” so you can reset your password.

Having problems logging in? Email events@techcrunch.com for assistance.

Women of Disrupt Lunch

All women who are registered for Disrupt Berlin are invited to the Women of Disrupt lunch on Thursday from 12-2pm. Your badge is all you need for entry into the lunch.

Investor Lunch

Catch-up with colleagues and other Disrupt Berlin investors over a delicious lunch. Exclusively for registered Disrupt Berlin 2019 Investor Pass holders only. Must have investor badge to enter.

11 December, 2019 | 12:00pm – 2:00pm

The Reception Room at Disrupt Berlin

Book a Semi-Private Room at Disrupt

TechCrunch is offering semi-private meeting rooms at €40/55 minutes at Disrupt Berlin. These rooms are great for taking meetings of up to 4 people or catching up on some work. Meeting spaces can only be used by registered Disrupt Berlin ticket holders. Each meeting room comes with a table, 4 chairs, and power. Book your time here.

CrunchMatch

All pass holders attending Disrupt Berlin will receive login instructions to access CrunchMatch via email and you can access it via the TechCrunch Events App – so make sure you download it! CrunchMatch is TechCrunch’s matching service connecting people at the event based on mutual interests. There are already several hundred meetings scheduled and we anticipate holding at least 2500 meetings during Disrupt Berlin.

On-site Nursing Suite

TechCrunch is providing a private nursing room on-site at Disrupt Berlin on the second floor of the conference. Ask for more information at the Help Desk table in the registration area.

Competitions

Disrupt is world-famous for its startup competition, Startup Battlefield. This year there are a few additional opportunities for startups to grab some limelight, with TechCrunch’s Custom Disruptor Award program, where Disrupt partners can select exhibiting startups to highlight and award a prize.

Samsung Innovation Center, Extreme Tech Challenge [XTC]

At the regional competition, 10 startups will be selected to present to leading VCs including Samsung Catalyst Fund, Speedinvest, and Deutsch Telecom on December 11. The top three startups will be recognized on the main stage of the event on December 12 with the Custom Disruptor Award — and receive invitations to the XTC Global Finals at VIVATechnology – Paris in June 2020.

Disrupt would not be able to exist without the help of our sponsors. You can see these breakout sessions at Disrupt Berlin.

11 December | Breakout Room

Opening Remarks by WeChat Developer Challenge

10:00 – 12:50 | See description in agenda

Sponsored by WDC

Build Different With The Other Location Platform

14:00 – 14:50 | See description in agenda

Sponsored by TomTom

Coming Soon!

15:00 – 15:50

Bain & Company

WDC Berlin Top Teams Presentations and Awards

16:00 – 18:00 | See description in agenda

Sponsored by WDC

12 December | Breakout Room

European Innovation Council (EIC) workshop – Funding Breakthrough Innovation from idea to market

11:00 – 12:00 | See description in agenda

Sponsored by European Innovation Council

There you have it — all the info you need to ensure your time at Disrupt Berlin 2019 remains productive and fun. Looking forward to seeing you all on Wednesday!

Categories: Business News

FintechOS raises $14M to help banks launch products as fast as fintech startups

2019, December 10 - 5:05pm

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of fintech startups like N26 and Monzo to challenge the incumbents with new products like challenger banks. But what if the big banks wanted to compete in that game themselves? This is the aim of FintechOS, a Romanian startup that actually aims to help incumbents compete in this brave new, competitive, world.

FintechOS allows banks and insurance companies to act and react faster than the new upstarts on the scene with plug and play products.

It’s announcing today that it has secured $14 million (£10.7 million) in a Series A investment led by the Digital East Fund of Earlybird Venture Capital and OTB Ventures, with participation from existing investors Gapminder Ventures and Launchub.

The additional capital will be used to continue the growth and expansion across Europe, and to expand into South East Asia and the U.S.

FintechOS’s technology platform lets traditional banks and insurance companies adapt to rapidly changing customer expectations, and match the speed and flexibility of fintech startups with personalized products and services, in weeks rather than months or years.

The banks and insurance companies can then launch multi-cloud SaaS deployments, transitioning to the cloud and on-premises deployments, working alongside the existing technology infrastructure. It now has existing partnerships with Microsoft, EY, Deloitte, Publicis Sapient and CapGemini to allow deployment in multiple markets.

Started in 2017 by serial entrepreneurs Teodor Blidarus and Sergiu Negut, the company now has customers in more than 20 countries across three continents.

Teo Blidarus, CEO and co-founder of FintechOS, commented: “Our disruptive approach is customer, not technology-driven. We created FintechOS to transform the financial industry, empowering banks and insurance companies to act and react faster than fintech startups, to create a smarter, slicker customer experience.”

Dan Lupu, partner at Earlybird, said: “FintechOS is a pioneer in a booming market, with a vision to transform the way financial institutions react to market and regulatory changes. We are proud to become part of a journey that will shape the future of financial services.”

Categories: Business News

Jiji raises $21M for its Africa online classifieds business

2019, December 10 - 2:48pm

Pan-African digital classifieds company Jiji has raised $21 million in Series C and C-1 financing from six investors, led by Knuru Capital.

The Nigeria-based venture, co-founded by Ukrainian entrepreneur Vladimir Mnogoletniy, has an East to West presence that includes Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.

Buyers and sellers in those markets use Jiji to transact purchases from real estate to car sales.

“We are the largest marketplace in Africa where people can sell pretty much anything…We are like a combination of eBay and Craigslist for Africa,” Mnogoletniy told TechCrunch on a call.

The classifieds site has two million listings on its Africa platforms and hit eight million unique monthly users in 2018, per company stats.

Jiji sees an addressable market of 400 million people across its operating countries, according to Mnogoletniy. The venture bought up one of its competitors in April this year, when it acquired the assets of Naspers-owned online marketplace OLX in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Jiji’s top three categories for revenues and listings (in order) are vehicle sales, real estate and electronics sales (namely mobile phones).

With the recent funding, the company’s total capital raised from 2014 to 2019 comes to $50 million. Knuru Capital CEO Alain Dib confirmed the Abu Dhabi-based fund’s lead on Jiji’s most recent round.

Jiji plans to use the latest investment toward initiatives to increase the overall number of buyers, sellers and transactions on its site. The company will also upgrade the platform to create more listings and faster matching in the area of real estate, according to Mnogoletniy.

For the moment, Jiji doesn’t have plans for country expansion or company purchases. “Maybe at some point we will consider more acquisitions, but for the time being we’d like to focus on those five markets,” Mnogoletniy said — referring to Jiji’s existing African country presence.

To ensure the quality of listings, particularly in real-estate, Jiji employs an automated and manual verification process. “We were able to eliminate a high-percentage of fraud listings and estimate fraud listings at less than 1%,” said Mnogoletniy.

He recognized the challenge of online scams originating in Nigeria. “We take data protection very seriously. We have a data-control officer just to do the data-protection verification.”

With the large consumer base and volume of transactional activity on its platform, Jiji could layer on services, such as finance and payments.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions about adding segments other than our main business. We decided that for the next three to five years, we should be laser-focused on our core business — to be the largest marketplace in Africa for buying and selling to over 400 million people,” Mnogoletniy said.

The company faces an improving commercial environment for its goals, with Africa registering some of the fastest growth in the world for smartphone adoption and internet penetration.

Jiji also faces competitors in Africa’s growing online classifieds space.

Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia, which listed in April in an NYSE IPO, operates its Jumia Deals digital marketplace site in multiple African countries.

Swiss-owned Ringier Africa has classified services and business content sites in eight French and English-speaking countries. On car sales, Nigerian startup Cars45 has created an online marketplace for pricing, rating and selling used autos. 

Adding to the trend of foreign-backed ventures entering Africa’s internet business space, Chinese-owned Opera launched an online buy/sell site, OList, last month connected to its African payment app, OPay.

And eBay operates a partnership with Mall for Africa for limited goods sales from Africa to the U.S., but hasn’t gone live yet on the continent.

On outpacing rivals in its markets, Jiji’s co-founder Mnogoletniy touts the company’s total focus on the classifieds business, market experience and capital as advantages.

“We’ve spent five years and raised $50 million to build Jiji to where it is today. It would take $50 to $100 million for these others to have a chance at building a similar business,” he said.

Opera’s Africa fintech startup OPay gains $120M from Chinese investors

Categories: Business News

How to avoid the startup trap of the parasitic consultant

2019, December 10 - 3:01am

Early-stage startups have a massive problem: there are way, way too many things to do, and never enough people to do them. Whether it’s growth marketing, or product design, or software engineering or a myriad list of other tasks, something somewhere isn’t going to get done by the founding team and early employees.

And so it is only natural to seek outside help to assist with those tasks, part-timers (and sometimes full-timers) who can add their talent and experience to a company’s early success.

There’s just one problem: consultants are horrifyingly misaligned with startups, as a recent discussion about how to be a great consultant attests. And so if you are going to work with consultants as a founder, there are massive traps you must avoid in order to make effective use of these people.

I’m a big fan of The Browser, an email newsletter by Robert Cottrell which curates a list of five articles a day across the web that Cottrell thinks are the best of the day. One of his selections in a recent issue was part two of a four part series on being a great consultant written by Tom Critchlow, who is adapting lessons from the theater world into the work of being a consultant.

Categories: Business News

Airbnb invests as Zeus corporate housing raises $55M at $205M

2019, December 10 - 1:35am

As Airbnb absorbs more and more of the demand for housing, it’s exploring how to monetize opportunities beyond vacation rentals. A marketplace for longer-term corporate housing could be a huge business, but rather than build that itself, Airbnb is making a strategic investment in one of the market leaders called Zeus Living, which will list its homes on the Airbnb site.

In just four years of redecorating landlords’ homes and renting them to relocated workers for 30-day stays (or longer), Zeus Living has grown to a $100 million revenue run rate. It boosted revenue 300% in 2019, and now has 250 employees and more than 2,000 homes under management. Zeus makes money by charging landlords one free month of usage, and marking up the rent charged to customers. It could rent out a $4,000 per month home for $5,000 plus take the extra month to earn $16,000 in a year.

Zeus CEO and co-founder Kulveer Taggar tells me, “I fundamentally believe that a lot of human potential is bound by location. At Zeus, we’re deeply committed to making it easier for people to live where opportunity takes them.” It’s already hosted 27,000 residents for a total of 650,000 nights.

Strong margins, swift momentum and that megatrend of more mobile workforces have earned Zeus Living a new $55 million Series B round it’s announcing on TechCrunch today. The funding comes from Airbnb, Comcast, CEAS Investments and TI Platform Management, plus existing investors Alumni Ventures Group, Initialized Capital, NFX and Spike Ventures. The funding comes at a $205 million post-money valuation.

“The opportunity here is huge, consumer spend is going toward housing and everyone needs to stay somewhere. But it’s Kulveer and Zeus’ go-to-market strategy that is impressive,” says Initialized co-founder and managing partner Garry Tan. “Zeus decided to start with corporate rentals, which we believe is the best go-to-market since it is the highest margin, and capital efficiency wins in a space with many competitors. Corporate needs are longer term, consistent and predictable, and partnering with Airbnb strengthens this approach as they expand to build a platform for every city.”

Zeus co-founder and CEO Kulveer Taggar

Zeus previously raised a $2.5 million seed and then an $11.5 million Series A led by Initialized, as well as $10 million in debt to cover taking on properties in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and D.C. Now that it’s scaling up, Zeus could add a sizable debt facility to cover the risk of filling apartments with employees from clients like Brex, Disney, ServiceTitan and Samsara.

Push-button housing

Instead of moving into a bland corporate housing block, struggling to find a place themselves or ending up in expensive long-term Airbnbs, workers moving to new cities can go to Zeus. It takes over apartments, handles maintenance and fills them with branded comforts like Parachute bedding and Helix mattresses that Zeus gets at bulk rates. The startup is betting that as workers move between jobs and cities more frequently, fewer will own furniture and instead look for furnished homes like those Zeus offers.

Thanks to the premium stays it provides, Zeus can charge clients a lucrative rate, while Taggar claims his service is still about half the price of standard corporate housing. For property owners, Zeus makes it easy to get a consistent rent paycheck with none of the traditional landlord work. Zeus takes care of cleaning and key exchanges so owners don’t need to do any chores like if they were running an Airbnb. Its goal is to get the first renters in within 10 days of taking on a property.

The new funding will help Zeus expand to more neighborhoods and cities while retaining a focus on breadth within each market so clients have plenty of homes from which to choose. The startup will be revamping its booking and invoicing tools for enterprise partners, and improving how it sources real estate. Meanwhile, it will be investing in customer care to maintain its high 70s NPS scores so relocated workers brag to their colleagues about how nice their new place is.

“Finding housing is stressful and time-consuming for both individuals and employers. As someone who has moved countries four times, I’ve lived through that tension,” says Taggar. “Zeus Living has built technology to remove complexity from housing, turning it into a service that enables a more mobile world.”

Taggar got into the real estate business early, remortgaging his mom’s house to buy a condo in Mumbai to rent out. After moving to the U.S., he built and sold Y Combinator-backed auction tool Auctomatic with co-founder and future Stripe starter Patrick Collison. It was while working on NFC-triggered task launcher Tagstand that Taggar recognized the hassle of both finding new corporate housing and reliably renting out one’s home. With Uber, Stripe and more startups growing huge by simplifying processes that move a lot of money around, he was inspired to do the same with Zeus Living.

The property tech wars

“Modern professionals travel more frequently, stay longer and seek accommodations that feel like home. As more companies look to Airbnb for Work for extended-stay and relocation solutions, this segment remains a key focus for Airbnb,” says David Holyoke, global head of Airbnb for Work.

“We have great alignment with the Airbnb team in terms of serving the changing needs of business travelers that want the comforts of home when traveling for extended 30-day stays for work or a project,” Taggar follows. Airbnb can help Zeus drive demand thanks to all its inbound traffic, while Zeus offers Airbnb more supply for customers seeking longer stays.

Zeus Living’s co-founders

Zeus’ biggest threat is that it could get overextended, misjudge demand and end up on the hook to pay rent for two-year leases it can’t fill. And now with more funding, there will be added scrutiny regarding its margins, especially in the wake of the WeWork implosion.

Taggar recognizes these threats. “This is a business where we have to be focused on maximizing the gross profit we generate for the investments we make, with the least amount of risk. At Zeus Living, we’re continuously improving the ways we predict and secure demand.” He’s also building out teams on the ground in different markets to ensure regulatory compliance and push for more conducive laws around 30-day (or longer) rental stays.

Property tech has become a heated space, though, so Zeus will have heavy competition. There are traditional corporate housing providers, pure marketplaces that don’t deal with logistics and direct competitors like $66 million-funded Domio and juggernaut Sonder, which has raised a whopping $360 million. Zeus might also see its model copied abroad before it can get there. Over time, landlords and real estate investment trusts like Blackstone could force Zeus, Sonder and others to compete to pay them the most for leases, eating into all the startups’ margins.

At least with Airbnb as an investor, Zeus won’t have to fear a bitter battle with the tech giant over corporate housing. Instead, Airbnb could keep investing to coin off this adjacent market while listing Zeus properties, or potentially acquired the startup one day. For now though, Taggar just wants to prove startups can be accountable in the real world, acknowledging that taking over people’s homes is “a lot of responsibility! Our homes represent hundreds of millions of dollars of assets we manage and we take that very seriously.”

Categories: Business News

US VC investment in female founders hits all-time high

2019, December 10 - 1:06am

Venture capital investment in all-female founding teams hit $3.3 billion in 2019, representing 2.8% of capital invested across the entire U.S. startup ecosystem this year, according to the latest data collected by PitchBook.

While that number may seem insubstantial, it’s a step up from last year’s total. In 2018, venture capitalists struck 580 deals worth $3 billion — up from just $2.1 billion in 2017 — for all-female teams, or only 2.2% of all U.S. deal activity. So far, female-founded and mixed-gender teams have raised a total of $17.2 billion, with roughly three weeks remaining in 2019. That’s 11.5% of all venture capital investment, an increase from 10.6% last year, when those groups attracted $17 billion across some 2,000 deals.

Crunchbase, another organization focused on tracking and analyzing fundraising data, reported in October that $20 billion in global capital was invested in female-founded and female co-founded startups so far this year. Three percent of global venture dollar volume was funneled toward female teams, Crunchbase said, and 10% toward teams of women and men.

Despite efforts from female founders, venture capitalists and diversity advocates in Silicon Valley and beyond, female entrepreneurs continue to struggle to raise as much capital as their male counterparts. The lack of equity in VC is in part caused by the lack of women on the other side of the table; venture capital funds still employ very few women.

Although dozens of firms have made concerted efforts to diversify their ranks, fewer than 10% of decision-makers at U.S. VC firms are women, according to a 2019 Axios analysis, which determined just 105 investors out of 1,088 were female. While the study noted an increase from the previous year’s 8.93% and 2017’s 7%, it proved venture capital is still very much a male-dominated industry.

Carta, a venture-backed company that provides startups tools to manage their equity, released its second annual gender equity gap study last month, noting that male founders and employees still receive significantly more equity wealth than women. Men have 64% of all startup equity, according to Carta’s findings, and represent 80% of cap table millionaires. Carta used data from 320,000 employees, some 10,000 companies and 25,000 founders to determine these results, which paint a disappointing picture for women at startups.

Another venture-backed company, Tide, conducted its own study around female founders this year. The study focused on entrepreneurs in the U.K. and U.S., which both struggle with diversity in entrepreneurship. Tide determined that of the 403 degrees obtained from universities in the U.K. by female founders, roughly a quarter were from the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, the country’s top schools. Of the American entrepreneurs included in the study, most went to Stanford University, MIT or Harvard University. The conclusion? Of the female founders who ultimately succeed in raising funding from private investors, most are graduates of elite universities, suggesting a certain socio-economic status. Of course, accessing capital is even more difficult for entrepreneurs who do not attend top universities and who therefore struggle to gain access to investor-friendly networks.

New analysis on the backgrounds of female founders with at least $1M in backing. Turns out going to Stanford is helpful! https://t.co/YaP3b8u1QM @TideBanking pic.twitter.com/u2vcMKrfGJ

— Kate Clark (@KateClarkTweets) September 10, 2019

The diversity issue in VC expands beyond women. While several funds have cropped up with a mission to back female founders exclusively, including Female Founders Fund, BBG Ventures, Halogen Ventures, Jane VC, Cleo Capital, accelerator program Ready Set Raise or XFactor Ventures, minority entrepreneurs, including men of color, struggle to secure financing. And while companies like PitchBook and Crunchbase track gender, they do not track race, making it difficult to understand the size and scale of the race funding gap.

On a mission to close that gap, firms like Harlem Capital invest in minority entrepreneurs and organizations like BLCK VC seek to provide community for black venture investors. The New York-based team behind Harlem Capital announced a $40 million debut fundraise last month, one of the largest-ever pools of capital for a fund with a diversity mandate. Harlem, similar to BLCK VC, hopes to attract more minorities to venture capital, where the vast majority of deal makers are white or Asian men.

“You need diversity funds like ourselves to get this market anywhere close to parity,” Harlem Capital managing partner Jarrid Tingle told TechCrunch last month.

Other efforts focused on women in VC and technology include All Raise, which hired its first chief executive officer in Pam Kostka earlier this year. 2019 has been a banner year for the nonprofit organization focused on increasing representation across the entire tech ecosystem. Not only did it bring its first official leader and several employees, it announced new chapters in Los Angeles and Boston, launched a program called VC Cohorts and hosted its annual conference, several in-person and virtual fundraising workshops and networking sessions.

“Women are hungry for the support and guidance we provide,” All Raise’s Kostka told TechCrunch in October. “I think the movement is just gathering momentum.”

Large and growing “unicorn” startups founded by women have also helped move the needle this year, proving companies led by women can gain support from Silicon Valley’s elite. PitchBook notes Glossier and Rent the Runway, two companies founded and led by women, as examples of new entrants to the unicorn club (companies with valuations of $1 billion or larger).

Glossier landed a $100 million Series D led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Tiger Global and Spark Capital in March. The round valued Emily Weiss’ business at a whopping $1.2 billion. News of Rent the Runway’s $125 million round led by Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures came just a couple of days later. The deal valued the clothing rental company at $1 billion.

The newest data may indicate progress, but all-male teams still raised more than 85% of all U.S. venture capital dollars in 2019, while decision makers at venture capital firms were still more than 90% male. The venture capital industry, as it stands, is still a boy’s club.

Diversity-focused VC fund Harlem Capital debuts with $40M

Categories: Business News

Instacart shoppers plan a series of actions in protest of company’s wage practices

2019, December 9 - 11:00pm

Instacart shoppers are continuing to hold the grocery startup accountable with their latest set of actions. Kicking off next Monday, Instacart shoppers plan to take one action per day for six days in protest of Instacart.

“We’re still just trying to get this one tiny thing: double the default tip percentage,” Instacart shopper and protest organizer Sarah (pseudonym) told TechCrunch. “We’ve tried endlessly to get them to raise the base guarantee pay. But we feel like, fine, at least give us the higher default tip.”

Instacart currently suggests a default tip of 5%, but workers want Instacart to increase it to 10%. Next week, Instacart shoppers plan to take a number of actions, including filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor as well as filing a wage claim.

Sarah, who has been an Instacart shopper for four years in California, says shoppers have become furious because it’s clear Instacart does not respect them.

“We’re trying to continuously show them that we do have power,” Sarah said. “I believe this protest of six days is going to be the most powerful thing we’ve ever done because it has the ability to really fuck them up.”

The full schedule is as follows:

  • December 16: File complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, asking the department to audit Instacart’s previous practice of misappropriating tips.
  • December 17: Contact federal legislators and ask them to hold Instacart accountable to minimum wage laws and more.
  • December 18: File a wage claim regarding Instacart’s classification of shoppers as 1099 independent contractors.
  • December 19: Hand-deliver binders, filled with a letter and personal notes from workers, to CEOs of six partner stores. Workers want partner stores to help ensure minimum standards and earnings.
  • December 20: Contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding how Instacart shoppers sometimes have to fulfill heavy orders, which can lead to injuries on the job.
  • December 21: Contact state legislators.

This comes after Instacart shoppers organized a nationwide protest where they went on strike for 72 hours in demand of a better tip and fee structure. Following that protest, Instacart got rid of the $3 quality bonus.

“When we did the walk-off, that required people to take off several days from work,” Sarah said. “We don’t want people to miss out on money so we’re doing something that will take less time.”

So far, more than 300 workers have signed up to participate in the six days of action. This upcoming action follows years’ worth of protesting. Back in 2016, Instacart removed the option to tip in favor of guaranteeing its workers higher delivery commissions. About a month later, following pressure from its workers, the company reintroduced tipping. Then, in April 2018, Instacart began suggesting a 5% default tip and reduced its service fee from a 10% waivable fee to a 5% fixed fee.

Instacart has previously said it’s committed to providing its shoppers with an earnings structure that offers upfront pay and guaranteed minimums.

“We respect the voices of all shoppers and take the feedback of our community very seriously,” an Instacart spokesperson previously said in a statement. “We will continue to listen and engage with shoppers to improve their experience.”

Instacart is under fire for how it compensates shoppers

Categories: Business News

Late registration savings to Disrupt Berlin ends tomorrow

2019, December 9 - 10:10pm

Just two more days to go until Disrupt Berlin opens its doors to thousands of the top international early-stage startup founders, investors, movers and shakers. And we have good news for all you last-minute decision makers.

You can attend Disrupt — and still save money — by taking advantage of our late registration pricing. Depending on which pass you buy, you can keep up to €200 in your wallet. But don’t put off this decision any longer. The late registration ends tomorrow, 10 December at 11:59 p.m. (CEST). Buy your Disrupt Berlin pass now and save.

Attending Disrupt Berlin is a terrific investment of money, time and energy. Connect with like-minded startuppers, learn about the newest tech trends and come away revitalized and inspired to take your slice of the startup world to the next level.

We’ve packed the Disrupt Berlin agenda with presentations, workshops and Q&As featuring conversations with the top players in the startup world. Here’s just a taste of what’s to come:

  • Investing in 2020: Nothing changes quite as rapidly as investment trends. Carolina Brochado (SoftBank Investment Advisors) will offer perspective from her experience both on the ground in Europe and from 50,000 feet to talk about what 2020 has in store for startups.
  • The Top Three Immigration Mistakes Startups Make: Learn how to troubleshoot the many snags that can affect startups trying to bring international talent into their organizations, with top Silicon Valley immigration expert Sophie Alcorn.
  • Mobilizing Emerging Markets: As the mobility industry evolves rapidly, a huge opportunity lies in emerging markets. Sujay Tyle, serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Frontier Car Group, is looking to capitalize on that opportunity with its investments in used-car marketplaces.

Don’t miss Startup Battlefield — our epic pitch competition returns with an outstanding cadre of early-stage startup founders from around the world. They’ll deliver a high-speed pitch to expert judges and compete for the Battlefield Cup, investor and media exposure and a $50,000 cash infusion.

Kick your networking into high gear and use CrunchMatch to navigate the hundreds of early-stage startups exhibiting in Startup Alley — including the TC Top Picks. Our business-matching platform helps you find the people and startups most aligned with your business goals. You spend less time looking and more time connecting with the right people.

This year, we’re holding the TC Hackathon finals on the Extra Crunch stage. Come on over and see the products 10 dedicated teams designed and built in 24 hours. Whether you’re looking for skilled coders or just appreciate the artistry, don’t miss this event.

The countdown is on, people. Disrupt Berlin 2019 starts in just two days, and late registration pricing ends tomorrow, 10 December at 11:59 p.m. (CEST). If you want in on the action — and want to save up to €200 — go buy your pass before the deadline hits.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Categories: Business News

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