Pitch us, Pittsburgh

We’re getting closer to putting our spotlight on Pittsburgh, and there’s quite a bit going on behind the scenes. We’ve been spending a ton of time chatting with folks who are on the ground in the city, and we’ve had a great time learning and listening, which we think will make this installment of our Spotlight series the most dynamic yet.

As we share more details on who will be participating, such as CMU’s President Farnam Jahanian, we still want to hear from those of you building companies in the ‘Burgh.

We’ve heard from nearly 50 companies focusing on things like digital health, small business loans, patent development, robotics and clean tech, and we’ll be picking three companies to pitch live during the event on June 29th.

Because we expect all types of attendees, including investors, this could be an opportunity to take things to the next level, be it through recruiting new employees or finding a new advisor. After all, anything can happen at a TechCrunch event.

Simply fill out this form and your company could be chosen to pitch during the event.

Additionally, and to learn more about who’s who and what’s what in Pittsburgh, we’re going to be hosting a conversation on Twitter Spaces tomorrow (Friday) at 4 p.m. ET. Co-hosting will be one of our favorite Yinzers, Kit Mueller. Expect a bit of trivia, updates on news and happenings in the city and more.

Register for the event today, come chat with us tomorrow and submit your company or pass the word along to someone who should!


June 29, 2021

2:00 p.m. EDT
Building Pittsburgh. Speaker to be announced!

2:20 p.m. EDT
Developing Duolingo. Karin Tsai, head of engineering, is set to speak on the trade-offs between engagement and edtech, scale and satisfaction, and how a simple A/B test can help.

2:40 p.m. EDT
From Student to Startup. CMU President Farnam Jahanian will speak on the school’s cutting-edge robotics and automation research and how it’s keeping innovative startups in Pittsburgh.

3:10 p.m. EDT
Pittsburgh Pitch-off. Startups will have two minutes to deliver their pitch, and our speakers will have four minutes to give their feedback. Pittsburgh startups should apply here


#events, #pittsburgh-city-spotlight, #startups, #techcrunch-city-spotlight


Join Accel’s Arun Mathew at TechCrunch Disrupt in our debate around alt-financing

TechCrunch Disrupt has a long history of bringing leading venture capitalists to the stage to yammer about their industry. Our impending TC Disrupt conference happening on September 21-23 is no different. This time around one of our investor guests is Arun Mathew of Accel, a venture capitalist that you might recall from his recent participation in Webflow’s huge $140 million Series B.

But we aren’t merely asking Mathew out to the event to chat low-code, or SaaS, or simply current intra-venture capital investing dynamics. Instead, he’ll be taking part in our panel on alternative financing (alt-finance) with a few folks that aren’t venture capitalists, but still deploy capital into startups.

Having an Accel partner take part in the panel makes good sense, as the venture firm has an interesting way of approaching bootstrapped companies. Namely that it is willing to show up to pretty large companies and write huge checks. That’s how Accel got into Qualtrics, for example, a deal that worked out pretty well.

But Accel invests from seed through super-late stage, making Mathew the perfect person to bring the venture perspective to the conversation.

The chat should hit on revenue-based financing, other more exotic forms of alt-finance and where the venture world may see capital partnerships, and funding rivalries. Our goal won’t be to incite an argument, but instead to unfold the private capital markets in a manner that helps fans of traditional VC — if there is still such a thing in today’s Tiger Global-led world — and believers in newer methods of capital deployment learn from each other. And so that founders can carve the most reasonable path for themselves as they seek to grow their businesses.

All told it should be a bop and I will see you there!

#accel, #arun-mathew, #events, #startups, #tc, #techcrunch-disrupt


Toast’s Aman Narang and BVP’s Kent Bennett on how customer obsession is everything

Toast has raised more than $900 billion and is reportedly valued at over $5 billion. But back in 2011, no one knew this startup would see such meteoric success. It had a few things going for it, of course — founder Aman Narang hailed from Endeca, where he was a software engineer and product lead with a reputation for being able to ship a lot of software quickly.

But the ambitions behind Toast were big and complicated, and enough to give pause to any investor. Kent Bennett was one such VC, and while he had conviction in the founding team, he wasn’t convinced that they could tackle such a big problem.

Toast is a restaurant POS system that acts as a sort of operating system for an establishment, managing everything from online orders, deliveries and marketing to payroll and team management as well as the actual point of sale. Being able to do all that requires building a number of complex products, such as payments.

Early on, Bennett had told Narang not to build a restaurant POS. To him, it was too complicated and nuanced, which is why the systems from the ’90s were still deeply entrenched 20 years later. However, he did offer space in the Bessemer office for the Toast team to work on their product.

“I caught up with Aman and he told me that they did this interesting thing after hearing that a lot of their customers were frustrated by payments platforms, which are separate from the POS,” said Bennett. “Aman said they built their own payments platform. Once again, I was like, ‘You did what? You’re not allowed to build payments.’ But he told me that they built it and it improves their products, and that, by the way, they make a margin on it.”

Bennett said that when they added up the margins from the payments and the POS, it was impactful.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” said Bennett. “This is a really good business.”

From there, it became his obsession. And though it took a few more quarters to close the deal, they eventually got there. Bessemer led the company’s Series B financing in 2016.

We spoke to Bennett and Narang recently on an episode of Extra Crunch Live to explore the story of how they came together for the deal, what makes the difference for both founders and investors when fundraising, and the biggest lessons they’ve learned so far. The episode also featured the Extra Crunch Live Pitch-Off, where audience members pitched their products to Bennett and Narang and received live feedback.

Extra Crunch Live is open to everyone each Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT, but only Extra Crunch members are able to stream these sessions afterward and watch previous shows on-demand in our episode library.

Despite the complexity of the Toast system, or maybe because of it, Narang says the fundamentals are the most important part of communicating the business, especially when fundraising.

#aman-narang, #bessemer-venture-partners, #ec-live, #ecl, #events, #extra-crunch-live, #extra-crunch-live-recap, #kent-bennett, #startups, #tc, #toast, #venture-capital


What to expect from WWDC 2021

All things considered, Apple put together a pretty slick all-virtual WWDC last year. Where other companies like Microsoft and Google have opted for a more live (or live-style) experience, the company was parading its execs through a series of smooth drone shots and slick transitions. And with the first year under its belt, it will be fun to see how the company outdoes itself.

As far as news goes, the WWDC keynote kickoff is always packed — and this year is no different. In fact, there’s a good chance that we could see even more. In addition to the standard developer-focused updates to iOS/iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, tvOS and the like, we could well see some new hardware dropping at the event.

As ever, we’ll be breaking the news live, and this time out, we’re bringing back the liveblog. So, you know, lots of different ways to follow along live. The event kicks off at 10AM PT/1PM ET on Monday, June 7.

Speaking of, you can also check out the YouTube livestream here:

As usual, iOS is the tentpole attraction here — if nothing else, because Apple sells more iPhones than anything else. That was certainly the case last year, when the company’s latest 5G devices provided much needed relief in an otherwise flagging mobile market.

At least right off the bat, iOS 15 doesn’t look like as radical an update as the latest version of Android. But a lot can happen between today and Monday morning. The top line issue (at least for now) seems to be updates to notifications. According to reports, the new version of the mobile operating system will offer customizable notifications based on status — meaning things like sleeping, working and driving.

The operating system is also believed to be getting a whole slew of new accessibility features.

Apple 2021 iPad Pro overview

Image Credits: Apple

Perhaps even bigger news is a long-awaited update to iPadOS 15. The dated software was a sticking point in our latest iPad Pro review, and it seems the company is finally making some key strides to further distance its tablet operating system from the mobile one. For most intents and purposes, the current execution is effectively a scaled-up version of iOS for the tablet.

Not a ton of details yet, but the home screen is reportedly set to get some major updates, including widgets. One imagines the company will be pushing to make better use of all that added real estate. It should also be getting some of the new iOS updates, including those new notifications and a big overhaul for iMessage.

a new iPhone 12 package on top of a MacBook Pro package.

YOKOHAMA, KANAGAWA, JAPAN – 2020/10/31: In this photo illustration a new iPhone 12 package on top of a MacBook Pro package. (Photo Illustration by Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

After the big overhaul that was Big Sur, we’re expecting smaller waves from macOS 12. The big news here may be hardware. Rumors surround an update to Apple’s blazing-fast M1 chip. The M1X (as it’s currently being called) could well arrive alongside brand new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, which would finally put a little sunlight between the high and low end of Apple’s laptop line.

Apple Watch Series 5

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Also, watchOS seems due for a big update, even if information is pretty scant so far. New health features are always a sure bet — especially now that Apple is competing with the newly combined Google and Fitbit (not to mention that recently announced assist from Samsung).

Then there’s homeOS, the most intriguing mystery of the bunch. Job listings have pointed to the mysterious operating system — that could have just been a typo (later changed to “HomePod” in the listing).

Image Credits: Apple

This being a rumor roundup, we’ll point the compelling possibility that it might be something larger — perhaps a more unifying home operating system designed to work with existing and forthcoming Apple home products. Perhaps something that integrates a bit more closely with tvOS. A longstanding rumor centers around a new Apple TV device, but so far we’ve not seen a lot of confirmation on that front.

Other rumors involve a new Mac Mini (though we just saw a refresh late last year). Rumors around Beats Studio Buds are enticing as well. After all, when LeBron is seen sporting your unannounced hardware, people are going to talk. Traditionally, however, Apple has opted to let the Beats team do its own announcements, saving these big events for its own self-branded audio products like AirPods.

read more about Apple's WWDC 2021 on TechCrunch

#apple, #apps, #events, #hardware, #ios, #ios-15, #macbook, #macos, #watchos, #wwdc, #wwdc-2021


Venrock’s Camille Samuels is joining us to judge Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2021

The team at TechCrunch is preparing for another epic Startup Battlefield competition this year at Disrupt 2021 on September 21-23 and we’re assembling a superstar team of judges that will choose the winner who gets to take home $100K and the Disrupt Cup. We’re thrilled to have Venrock’s Camille Samuels join us as one of our esteemed Battlefield judges at our second virtual Startup Battlefield.

Samuels is a partner at Venrock, building out the team’s investments in the healthcare world, focusing specifically on plays in biotech, medical devices and consumer health. Some recent bets include Unity Biotechnology, Iris Medicine and Biolux. Samuels joined Venrock in 2014 after 12 years at healthcare-centric firm Versant Ventures. Before the start of her 20+ year career in venture, Samuels worked in business development at drug discovery company Tularik and had stints in corporate development at Genzyme and Millennium Predictive Medicine.

When we spoke with Samuels early last year she talked about her interests in technology that could keep people healthier for longer. “In general, the big idea of improving health span is what really interests me. I want us to extend out the years that we can be healthy and happy versus on medication and decrepit,” she told us.

It’s been a big year for Venrock, which recently closed its ninth fund with $450 million; the firm’s latest exits include last year’s IPOs of Cloudflare and 10x Genomics.

Disrupt 2021 runs September 21-23 and will be 100% virtual this year. Get your pass to attend with the rest of the TechCrunch community for less than $100 if you secure your seat before next month.


#camille-samuels, #events, #startup-battlefield, #startups, #tc, #tc-disrupt-2021, #venrock


ChargerHelp co-founder, CEO Kameale C. Terry is heading to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021

Thousands of electric vehicle charging stations will be built around the country over the next decade. ChargerHelp!, founded in January 2020 by Kameale C. Terry and Evette Ellis, wants to make sure they stay up and running.

The idea for the on-demand repair app for EV charging stations came to Terry when she was working at EV Connect, where she held a number of roles including director of programs and head of customer experience. She noticed long wait times to fix non-electrical issues at charging stations due to the industry practice to use electrical contractors.

“When the stations went down we really couldn’t get anyone on site because most of the issues were communication issues, vandalism, firmware updates or swapping out a part — all things that were not electrical,” Terry said in an interview with TechCrunch earlier this year.

After Terry quit her job to start ChargerHelp!, she joined the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, where she developed a first-of-its-kind EV Network Technician Training Curriculum. Shortly after, Terry and Ellis were accepted into Elemental Excelerator’s startup incubator and have landed contracts with major EV charging network providers like EV Connect and SparkCharge.

The company uses a workforce-development approach to hiring, meaning that they only hire in cohorts. Workers receive full training, earn two safety licenses, are guaranteed a wage of $30 an hour and receive shares in the startup, Terry said.

We’re excited to announce that Kameale Terry will be joining us at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, a one-day virtual event that is scheduled June 9. We’ll be covering a lot of ground with Terry, from how she developed her EV repair curriculum to what she sees in the company’s future.

Each year TechCrunch brings together founders, investors, CEOs and engineers who are working on all things transportation and mobility. If it moves people and packages from Point A to Point B, we cover it. This year’s agenda is filled with leaders in the mobility space who are shaping the future of transportation, from EV charging to autonomous vehicles to urban air taxis.

Among the growing list of speakers are Rimac Automobili founder Mate RimacRevel Transit CEO Frank Reig, community organizer, transportation consultant and lawyer Tamika L. Butler and Remix/Via co-founder and CEO Tiffany Chu, who will come together to discuss how (and if) urban mobility can increase equity while still remaining a viable business.

Other guests include Motional’s President and CEO Karl Iagnemma, Aurora co-founder and CEO Chris Urmson, GM‘s VP of Global Innovation Pam FletcherScale AI CEO Alexandr WangJoby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt, investor and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman (whose special purpose acquisition company just merged with Joby), investors Clara Brenner of Urban Innovation FundQuin Garcia of Autotech Ventures and Rachel Holt of Construct CapitalZoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson.

We also recently announced a panel dedicated to China’s robotaxi industry, featuring three female leaders from Chinese AV startups: AutoX’s COO Jewel LiHuan Sun, general manager of Momenta Europe with Momenta, and WeRide’s VP of Finance Jennifer Li.

Don’t wait to book your tickets to TC Sessions: Mobility as prices go up at the door. Grab your passes right now and hear from today’s biggest mobility leaders.

#alexandr-wang, #aurora, #automation, #automotive, #autotech-ventures, #autox, #av, #ceo, #chargerhelp, #charging-station, #china, #chris-urmson, #clara-brenner, #construct-capital, #coo, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicle-charging-station, #electric-vehicles, #ev-connect, #events, #frank-reig, #jesse-levinson, #jewel-li, #joby, #joby-aviation, #joeben-bevirt, #karl-iagnemma, #linkedin, #mate-rimac, #momenta, #motional, #pam-fletcher, #quin-garcia, #rachel-holt, #reid-hoffman, #revel-transit, #rimac-automobili, #robotaxi, #robotics, #scale-ai, #science-and-technology, #sparkcharge, #startups, #tamika-l-butler, #tc, #tc-sessions-mobility-2021, #technology, #tiffany-chu, #transport, #transportation, #urban-innovation-fund, #weride, #zoox


Calling all Yinzers, TechCrunch is (virtually) headed to Pittsburgh!

We’ve had a blast meeting new folks in different cities this year and we’re keeping the train rolling. We learned quite a bit about what’s happening now in Miami and got up to speed on what’s been happening in the great city of Detroit

Up next? Pittsburgh. Register for free the event here.

That’s right, on June 29th, the TechCrunch City Spotlight is heading to The Iron City. The River City. Blitzburgh (for you Steelers fans). The Pitt. 

A perfect blend of history and modern technology makes for an amazing venue. So far we’ve heard about the medical advancements, robots and self-driving cars. But we know there’s more! (Your unofficial mayor is there on the ground dropping us hints.)

Did you know the Kleiner Perkins origin story centers around Pittsburgh? And speaking of Steelers, have you been keeping tabs on former safety Will Allen’s turn as a VC? Speaking of big hits, Duolingo is on fire. Our own Natasha Mascarenhas recently wrote a four-part EC-1 on the company that has grown to 500 million registered learners.

These are all things that we’ve been digging into as we prepare for next month.

We’re going to have some special guests and interesting panels, and we’re of course going to share the stage with the best and brightest in the city. 

That’s where you come in!

If you’re building something awesome and you’re based in Mark Cuban’s old stomping grounds, we want to hear from you. We’ll be doing a pitch feedback session like the ones you’ve been watching on Extra Crunch Live. So drop us a note here and maybe you’ll be one of the companies to show everyone why Pittsburgh is hot.

Register now and hit us up with tips and unknown facts about your city. (Heads up, we already know about John Fetterman’s Sheetz fandom.)

See you soon!

#events, #pittsburgh, #techcrunch-city-spotlight


Raising a round? AngelList Venture CEO Avlok Kohli will share insights at TC Early Stage

What’s it like raising a round in 2021? How has it changed over the last few months, as some glimmer of normalcy seems, at least, within reach? What do early-stage founders (and investors!) need to know about the current state of the industry?

Few are in a better place to outline this than Avlok Kohli, the CEO of AngelList Venture who will let you know at TC Early Stage on July 8-9. With more than $2.2 billion in assets under management and over 5,000 startups funded on the platform, AngelList has data-driven insights that just about no one else could offer. Kohli joined AngelList Venture as CEO in mid-2019, giving him a remarkably unique view of the industry through a particularly wild time.

Kohli also knows what it’s like to be a founder, having been in that seat multiple times. In 2014 he founded Fastbite, a low-cost meal delivery service; in 2015, he sold it to Square. He dove back in with a daily house cleaning service called Fairy in 2017, and sold it to Postmates at the beginning of 2019.

We’re super excited to announce that Avlok Kohli will join us at TC Early Stage on July 8-9 to get us all up to speed on the state of play in early-stage investing.

TC Early Stage is our event series all about startups that are… well, early stage. From raising money to marketing the right way to just getting people to care, we go deep on the topics that matter most to founders.

We’ll kick this session off with a presentation from Kohli on the state of early-stage investing, then we’ll get right into audience Q&A and try to get your most burning questions answered live.

TC Early Stage: Marketing & Fundraising goes down on July 8th and 9th — and because it’s virtual, you can attend right from the comfort of your couch. Or office chair. Or a hammock. We don’t care, just come watch. Get your tickets here!

#angellist-venture, #avlok-kohli, #events, #startups, #tc, #tc-early-stage-2021


Apple just dropped a whole bunch of OS updates and WWDC info

How’s your Monday going? If you’re Apple, the answer is probably somewhere between “very busy” to “gaaaaaaah.” The company just dropped a whole bunch of new OS updates today, including iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, all ahead of the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off (virtually) on June 7.

Indeed, iOS and iPadOS are the headliners here — if for no other reason than the fact that they’ll impact the most devices. The public release of iOS/iPadOS 14.6 brings a couple of biggish features, including the addition of paid podcast subscriptions and Apple Card Family, both announced at a recent hardware event.

The former allows podcasters to charge for subscriptions to their show (imagine that!), with Apple taking a 30% commission for the first year. That will halve in a year. The latter, meanwhile, makes it possible for Apple Card owners to effectively split a card, with the various responsibilities that entails.

CEO Tim Cook noted at the time of announcement:

One of the things that became apparent to us in the beginning [of launching Apple Card] was a lack of fairness in the way the industry calculated credit scores when there were two holders of a credit card. One of you got the benefit of building a good credit history, and the other did not. We want to reinvent the way this works.

MacOS 11.4 brings support for additional graphics cards, a number of bug fixes and, like the new iOS, support for paid podcast subs. Ditto that last part and Apple Card Family for the new watchOS 7.5, along with support for additional health features in Malaysia and Peru, as well as expense tracking for the Apple Card. TVOS/HomePod 14.6, meanwhile, are getting bug fixes and some color balance changes for the former.

Along with all of this, the company also announced the slate of programming for this year’s virtual WWDC. Things will kick off on June 7 at 10 a.m. PT with the keynote. That’s where the big news on the latest version of all of the above will be announced — and, hopefully, some hardware, as well. At 2 p.m. the company will be offering more information with its annual Platforms State of the Union.

The full schedule is available here.

#apple, #apps, #events, #ios, #macos, #tvos, #wwdc, #wwdc-2021


Check out the top-notch founders and investors joining us on Extra Crunch Live in June

In the past month, we’ve gotten a look at Poshmark’s early fundraising pitch deck with CEO Manish Chandra and Mayfield’s Navin Chaddha, heard where the biggest opportunities lie in the proptech space with Fifth Wall’s Brendan Wallace and Orchard’s Court Cunningham, and heard how to nail your pitch from Sequoia’s Shaun Maguire and Vise AI’s Samir Vasavada.

The Extra Crunch Live party carries on into June, with new episodes connecting you with some of tech’s biggest names.

For those who are new to ECL, the show also features a pitch-off, allowing folks in the audience to virtually “raise their hand” and jump on the stream to pitch their startup to our founder and investor guests.

Who might those guests be?

Take a look at our June slate below:

Extra Crunch Live: Madrona and Coda.io

June 2 – 3pm ET/12pm PT

Soma Somasegar spent 27 years at Microsoft before getting into venture. He currently serves as managing director at Madrona, where he focuses on machine learning, robotic process automation, and future of work, and led investments in Snowflake and UiPath. He also invested in Coda.io, which is reinventing the doc, and has raised $140 million. Hear from Somasegar and Shishir Mehrotra, co-founder and CEO of Coda, as they walk us through the fundraising process and beyond.


Extra Crunch Live: MaC Venture Capital and Wonderschool

June 16 – 3pm ET/12pm PT

Marlon Nichols is the founding partner at MaC Venture Capital and has invested in companies like Gimlet Media, MongoDB, Thrive Market, PlayVS, Fair, LISNR, Mayvenn, Blavity and Wonderschool. Chris Bennett, Wonderschool founder, will join Nichols on this episode of Extra Crunch Live to tell us about the Series A fundraising process and give feedback on live pitches from the audience.  REGISTER HERE FOR FREE!

Extra Crunch Live: Emergence and Retail Zipline

June 23 – 3pm ET/12pm PT

Lotti Siniscalco has experience across the fintech landscape as both an operator and investor. She’s held positions at NerdWallet, Goldman Sachs, Ribbit Capital and now at Emergence, where she invests in early-stage software companies. One of those investments is Retail Zipline, founded by Melissa Wong. The company has raised nearly $40 million. The duo will walk us through Zipline’s early pitch deck and give their own feedback on startup pitches from the audience. REGISTER HERE FOR FREE!

Extra Crunch Live: Maverick Ventures and Cityblock Health

June 30 – 3pm ET/12pm PT

Maverick Ventures managing partner Ambar Bhattacharyya can boast 11 IPOs and acquisitions across his investment career, which includes stints at Bessemer and Bain. When it comes to health tech, there are few VCs with such a notable portfolio, which includes Artemis Health, Caribou Biosciences, hims and hers and Cityblock Health. Cityblock recently reached unicorn status, and co-founder and CEO Iyah Romm will sit down with Bhattacharyya and TechCrunch to discuss how to be successful fundraising in health tech. The investor/founder duo will also give their feedback on live startup pitches from the audience.


As a reminder, Extra Crunch Live is free for anyone to attend, but only Extra Crunch members get access to on-demand episodes. And that is but one of the many perks included with an Extra Crunch membership. Join here!

#chris-bennett, #events, #extra-crunch-live-announcement, #marlon-nichols, #s-somasegar, #shishir-mehrotra, #tc


Bessemer’s Tess Hatch will join us as a judge at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021

Tess Hatch, vice president and partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, will join us at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 as a judge for our Startup Battlefield competition. By the way startups, you can still apply now until May 27 to take part in the competition here!

At Bessemer, Tess spearheads frontier tech investments, including the scaling and commercialization of revolutionary technologies, including drones, space-based observation and launch, agritech and much more. She’s focused on sourcing and reproducing tech bets that have the potential to significantly improve society in fundamental ways.

Some of Tess’s investments and board positions include Rocket Lab, Spire, DroneDeploy, Iris and more. Before her time at Bessemer and work as an investor, she worked for both Boeing and SpaceX as a payload integrator and aerospace engineer, building on her aeronautics and astronautics education from the University of Michigan and Stanford. Tess was also recently named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in VC.

We’ve been lucky enough to have Tess onstage at prior Disrupt events, and our TC Sessions: Space event as well. She’s definitely one of the best people in the world to talk to about cutting-edge technologies, and companies looking to solve even the most ambitious technical challenges, so she’s sure to bring great perspective to the Startup Battlefield judging panel this year.

Make sure to book your pass to TC Disrupt on September 21-23 to watch 20+ startups compete for $100k in Startup Battlefield and enjoy over 100 hours of content and thousands of enthusiastic startup fans — all for under $99! Secure your seat today!

#bessemer-venture-partners, #events, #startup-battlefield, #startups, #tc, #tc-disrupt-2021, #tess-hatch


IFA Berlin 2021 is canceled, citing ‘uncertainties’ around vaccine rollouts

After IFA became one of an extremely small number of in-person trade shows in 2020, the gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH is pulling the plug on this year’s event. Initially planned for September 3-7 at the Messe in Berlin, the large-scale consumer electronics trade show is going on hiatus.

Among other concerns, organizer are citing the emergency of Covid-19 variants and concerns around the speed and consistency with which vaccines have been rolled out globally.

“Ultimately, several key global health metrics did not move as fast in the right direction as had been hoped for – from the rapid emergence of new COVID-19 variants, for example in South Asia, to continued uncertainties about the speed of the rollout of vaccination programmes around the world,” the organization said in a press release. “This in turn is adding uncertainty for the companies that were committed or interested in coming to Berlin, as well as media and visitors – all of whom have to plan well ahead with regards to budgets, investments and travel – not just for IFA, but all similar events around the world.”

Another key issue here is the Messe Berlin (convention center) has been – and continues to be – used as both an emergency medical facility and a vaccination center. The planned Berlin Photo Week at ARENA Berlin and SHIFT Mobility events will continue. IFA, meanwhile, is set to return on September 2, 2022.

The news comes as a number of high profile exhibitors have opted not to exhibit in-person at MWC late next month in Barcelona. The list, thus far, includes Qualcomm, Google, IBM, Nokia, Sony, Oracle, Ericsson, Samsung and Lenovo. As with IFA before it, MWC’s organizers are citing a number of safety precautious and likely – given travel restrictions, MIA exhibitors and a general sense of caution even among vaccinated people – a scaled back event.

MWC will be something of a hybrid event, with both online and in-person exhibits. IFA, meanwhile, appears to be canceled outright. The Berlin show is notably different than other consumer trade shows in that it is partially open to the public.

#coronavirus, #covid-19, #events, #hardware, #ifa


Discuss the future of connected fitness with Mirror’s Brynn Putnam at Disrupt 2021

The global pandemic made some industries and utterly decimated others. The world of connected fitness falls firmly into the former. Along with top names like Peloton, Mirror had a banner year, including, most notably, sportwear company Lululemon’s acquisition of the brand for $500 million in June.

It’s an impressive number for the five-year-old company, which came out of stealth at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2018. Three years later, CEO Brynn Putnam will return to the Disrupt stage on September 21-23 to chart how the company grew from a small-scale startup to one of the leading names in a home fitness industry that saw a massive surge over the past year and a half.

A former ballerina and founder of New York fitness chain Refine Method, Putnam’s career has been a fascinating one — up to and including her time at Mirror. We’ll discuss how the company embraced a boom in connected fitness, why the time was right for acquisition and what the landscape for the industry will look like going forward.

Stay at home orders have had a profound impact on the way we get fit, leading many frequent gym goers to embrace high-tech, at-home methods. Is this the beginning of a sea change for the way the world works out? Or will a return to normal lead buyers to dust off their gym memberships? Find out at TC Disrupt his September and grab your tickets for under $99 for a limited time!

#brynn-putnam, #events, #fitness, #hardware, #health, #mirror, #tc, #tc-disrupt-2021


Flash Sale: Buy an Extra Crunch annual plan, get a free Disrupt pass

From today until midnight on May 18 (PT), we’re offering a free Disrupt Innovator pass (a $99 value) to anyone who purchases an annual or two-year Extra Crunch membership. Grab an annual or two-year Extra Crunch membership here

TechCrunch Disrupt is a three-day virtual event with founders and investors shaping the future of disruptive technology and startup experts providing insights to entrepreneurs. It’s where hundreds of startups tell their stories to 10,000+ influencers from around the world. It’s the ultimate Silicon Valley experience, where the leaders of the startup world gather to ask questions, make connections and be inspired. 

TechCrunch Disrupt takes place virtually September 21-23. Learn more about this year’s Disrupt event here

Purchase an annual or two-year Extra Crunch membership here

What is Extra Crunch?

Extra Crunch is a members-only community from TechCrunch. We help founders and startup teams get ahead: 

  • Discover the hottest startups through our late-stage deep dives (EC-1s).
  • Spot trends and opportunities with private market analysis, investor surveys and topical newsletters.
  • Build a better startup with fundraising, growth and workforce advice from experts.
  • Improve your pitch with weekly Extra Crunch Live sessions, and watch event replays through our on-demand video library.
  • Browse TechCrunch distraction-free, with a lighter ad experience.
  • Annual members get discounts on software from partners and can save 20% on TechCrunch event tickets.

Since launching Extra Crunch, we’ve published thousands of articles on startup investment trends, fundraising, late-stage startups and more. Please consider joining our growing community of TechCrunch enthusiasts here

When will I get my free Disrupt pass?

If you purchase an annual or two-year membership by midnight PT on May 18, you will be emailed a unique link to grab the free Disrupt pass by the end of May. For any other questions about this deal, Disrupt or Extra Crunch, please contact extracrunch@techcrunch.com.

Grab an annual or two-year Extra Crunch membership here, and learn more about Disrupt here.

#events, #extra-crunch, #media, #startups, #subscriptions, #tc, #tc-disrupt-2021


Opportunity knocks: Exhibit at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021

No matter what slice of the mobility market you’ve claimed as your own — AVs, EVs, data mining, AI, dockless scooters, robotics or the batteries that will charge and change the world — you won’t find a better place to showcase your extraordinary tech and talent than TC Sessions: Mobility 2021.

Buy a Startup Exhibitor Package and virtually plant your early-stage mobility startup in front of a global audience that’s focused exclusively on one of the most complex, rapidly evolving industries. TC Sessions: Mobility, which takes place on June 9, features the top minds and makers, draws thousands of attendees, fosters collaborative community and creates a networking environment ripe with opportunities.

Pro tip: This package is for pre-Series A, early-stage startups only.

The Startup Exhibitor Package costs $380, and it comes with four all-access passes to the event. But wait (insert infomercial voice here), there’s more!

Your virtual expo booth features lead-generation capabilities. You can highlight your pitch deck, run a video loop and/or host live demos. Network with CrunchMatch, our AI-powered platform, to find and connect with the people who can help move your business forward. CrunchMatch lets you host private video meetings — pitch investors, recruit new talent or grow your customer base.

You’ll have access to all the presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions, too. And video-on-demand means you won’t miss out.

Here’s a peek at just some of the agenda’s great programming you and, thanks to those extra passes, your team can attend — or catch later with VOD:

  • EV Founders in Focus: We sit down with the founders poised to take advantage of the rise in electric vehicle sales. This time, we will chat with Kameale Terry, co-founder and CEO of ChargerHelp! a startup that enables on-demand repair of electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Will Venture Capital Drive the Future of Mobility? Clara Brenner, Quin Garcia and Rachel Holt will discuss how the pandemic changed their investment strategies, the hottest sectors within the mobility industry, the rise of SPACs as a financial instrument and where they plan to put their capital in 2021 and beyond.
  • Driving Innovation at General Motors: GM is in the midst of sweeping changes that will eventually turn it into an EV-only producer of cars, trucks and SUVs. But the auto giant’s push to electrify passenger vehicles is just one of many efforts to be a leader in innovation and the future of transportation. We’ll talk with Pam Fletcher, vice president of innovation at GM, one of the key people behind the 113-year-old automaker’s push to become a nimble, tech-centric company.

TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 takes place June 9. Buy a Startup Exhibitor Package and set yourself up for global exposure and networking success. Show us your extraordinary tech and talent!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#artificial-intelligence, #automotive, #chargerhelp, #clara-brenner, #data-mining, #entrepreneurship, #events, #general-motors, #leader, #pam-fletcher, #private-equity, #quin-garcia, #rachel-holt, #startup-company, #startups, #tc, #tc-sessions-mobility-2021, #transportation


Pinterest to test live-streamed events this month with 21 creators

Pinterest is expanding into live events. The company is planning to host a three-day virtual event that will feature live-streamed sessions from top creators, including big names like Jonathan Van Ness and Rebecca Minkoff, among others. The virtual event will run inside the Pinterest app from May 24th through May 25th, and will serve as the company’s first public test of directly streaming creator content to its over 475 million global users.

The rise of the creator economy and a pandemic-fueled demand for virtual events led Pinterest to explore the idea of live streaming. Last fall, it began testing a “class communities” feature that allowed users to sign up for Zoom classes through Pinterest, while creators used Pinterest’s boards to organize materials, notes, and other resources. These communities also included a group chat option and shopping features.

The new live-streamed sessions will operate a bit differently.

For starters, they’re not directing users off-site to Zoom for the sessions. Instead, users will launch the live-streaming experience directly inside Pinterest mobile app and remain there during the sessions. Pinterest users can also comment to interact with the creator during their stream, but there is no longer any shopping functionality, Pinterest tells TechCrunch.

Image Credits: Pinterest

The live streams allow up to five “guests” and an unlimited number of viewers. Meanwhile, moderators — which may include Pinterest employees, during this test — will help to control the experience. They will also have the ability to remove people from the chat if they do not uphold Pinterest’s Community Standards.

The forthcoming event’s lineup will focus a variety of topics, including food, design, cooking, style, and more.

Jonathan Van Ness‘ session will discuss morning rituals and self-care routines. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff will teach Pinterest users how to style their summer wardrobe. Others featured during the event include food creators GrossyPelosi and Peter Som, who will showcase favorite recipes; Women’s Health magazine will talk about using vision boards to achieve your goals; Jennifer Alba will show how to communicate the Zodiac through sign language; and Hannah Bronfman will offer ideas for creating an at-home spa night.

In total, Pinterest will feature around 21 creators throughout the three-day event, with around 7 different session per day. Users will be directed to the live event via a new “Live” tab inside the Pinterest app for iOS and Android, where they can view the schedule and join sessions.

Image Credits: Pinterest

x”As a visual platform, people discover billions of ideas on Pinterest every day, and we’re always looking for new ways to help them bring those ideas to life,” says David Temple, Pinterest’s Head of Creators.

Temple notes Pinterest has integrated with third-party live-streaming technologies and built its own in-house messaging systems to power live interactions.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to respond to Pinner feedback for more dynamic and timely events as new interests like cooking have emerged for many in quarantine, and trends like beauty, fashion, and home renovation are on all-time highs as we move into a post-pandemic world,” Temple adds.

However, Pinterest isn’t discussing how it views the potential for live events longer-term. For the time being, it’s not offering tools that could woo creators away from other platforms where they can monetize their fans through features like donations, tips, virtual gifts, paid ticketing, subscriptions, or brand partnerships via a creator marketplace. Without such options, Pinterest could have a hard time competing for creators’ attention.

Image Credits: Pinterest

Nearly every big tech platform today is making a play for creators, and some are even willing to throw cash at them to win them over. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter are all building out features that let creators do more than build an audience to monetize through ads or brand deals. Now, fans can send creators money during or after streams, subscribe for exclusive content, pay for access and more, depending on the platform.

New types of creator services are emerging, too, including the audio chat room experience pioneered by Clubhouse (and being cloned by everyone else), as well as dozens of virtual events startups hoping to win the market.

Pinterest’s attraction among such heavy competition isn’t clear, but the company will use this experiment to learn more about what works for its own community.

Pinterest tested its live streaming technology with employees a few weeks ago, but this will be the first time the feature will be available to the public.

While the event lineup can be viewed on the web, the live streams themselves will only run inside the Pinterest app for iOS and Android starting May 24th.

#apps, #cooking, #creator, #creator-economy, #creators, #design, #digital-media, #events, #jonathan-van-ness, #live-events, #livestreaming, #mobile-applications, #mobile-apps, #pinterest, #rebecca-minkoff, #social, #social-media, #streaming, #virtual-events


Qualcomm won’t be exhibiting in-person at MWC

Another major name in mobile has confirmed that it won’t be exhibiting at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Chip giant Qualcomm is joining a list that already includes Google, IBM, Nokia, Sony, Oracle, Ericsson and, most recently, Samsung and Lenovo.

In a statement offered to TechCrunch, a spokesperson for the company confirmed that it will be a taking a similar approach as many of the others, opting to “attend” virtually.

“While we appreciate the health and safety measures being put into place by the GSMA for MWC Barcelona, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and customers for Qualcomm’s participation to be virtual this year,” the company said. “We look forward to engaging with the ecosystem through Cristiano Amon’s virtual keynote on June 28th and through our latest announcements and 5G demonstrations.”

There are shades of the lead up to last year’s event, which similarly found companies opting out, one by one. Ultimately the show’s governing body, the GSMA, pulled the plug. Of course, things are different in 2021. After nearly a year and a half, there are fewer unknowns and a vaccination roll out has begun in much of the world.

But there are still plenty of reasons for people and companies to take a cautious approach when it comes to flying around the world and attending an event in a potentially packed room. Ultimately, it’s probably not worth the perceived risk or discomfort of staff.

For these reasons and more, it’s hard to blame companies like Qualcomm. Given what we know, it seems unlikely that the organization would pull the plug entirely at this late stage, but things look increasingly dependent on the virtual aspect of the show’s hybrid approach. It also seems possible that the in-person trade will be forever changed after the events of the past two years.

#events, #mwc, #mwc-2021, #qualcomm


Lenovo won’t be attending MWC in person, either

Shortly after Samsung announced that it won’t be attending the upcoming MWC Barcelona, Chinese hardware giant (and Motorola parent) Lenovo has confirmed with TechCrunch that it has also decided to forgo the in-person event. The event is scheduled for June 28 to July 1.

“Lenovo is not attending in person but will participate in the virtual partner program,” the company said in a brief statement. The decision reflects that of Samsung’s – opting to skip a booth in favor of going all-virtual.

The move is not particularly surprising – and, as noted earlier, it’s hard to shake the feeling we had early last year, as the dominos started falling ahead of the event’s cancelation (though by all accounts this year’s MWC will have a physical presence regardless). Google, IBM, Nokia, Sony, Oracle and Ericsson have all already confirmed they will not be in attendance.

Some key hardware names are still up on the official MWC exhibitor list, including ZTE, Xiaomi and LG – though things are further complicated by the fact that the latter recent announced its exit from the smartphone business.

Following Samsung’s announcement, the show’s governing board, the GSMA, told TechCrunch, “Of course we respect that planning in a pandemic is complicated. Samsung will adapt their presence to virtual for MWC21 and we look forward to seeing them in person 2022.” It’s safe to assume the response is similar for the moment, though we’ll update if we receive additional comment.

These announcements are, no doubt, a massive blow for MWC’s ambitions for a small return to normalcy this year. But given travel restrictions in many places as the pandemic continues to rage on in various parts of the world, it’s hard to fault any of the companies for their abundance of caution.

#events, #hardware, #lenovo, #mwc, #mwc-2021


Samsung withdraws from in-person MWC

It’s beginning to feel a bit like 2020, as yet another major manufacturer has announced that it won’t be attending MWC’s upcoming in person event in Barcelona. Roughly a month and a half out, Samsung is joining a growing list of companies that already includes Google, IBM, Nokia, Sony, Oracle and Ericsson.

“The health and safety of our employees, partners and customers is our number one priority, so we have made the decision to withdraw from exhibiting in-person at this year’s Mobile World Congress,” the company said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “We look forward to participating virtually and continuing to work with GSMA and industry partners to advance new mobile experiences.”

In the lead up to last year’s event, there was something of a domino effect, as companies ducked out, one by one, ultimately leading up to the event’s cancelation. Obviously things are fairly different more than a year later. The virus is certainly less of an unknown, but its effects are still have a massive impact on much of the world. Even in those places where vaccination rollout has been swift, there are still plenty of question marks when it comes to attending a global event in massive, tightly-packed spaces. MWC had already been pushed back several months from its standard February-March timeframe, but organizers have so far been confident about the inevitability of an in-person event.

MWC’s governing body — the GSMA — recently told TechCrunch, “We appreciate that it will not be possible for everyone to attend MWC Barcelona 2021, but we are pleased that exhibitors including Verizon, Orange and Kasperksy are  excited to join us in Barcelona. To ensure everyone can enjoy the unique MWC experience, we have developed an industry-leading virtual event platform. The in-person and virtual options are provided so that all friends of MWC Barcelona can attend and participate in a way that works for them. ”

We’ve reached out for an additional comment following Samsung’s statement. The GSMA has been positioning MWC as something of a hybrid event — similar to the upcoming Computex in Taipei. It’s difficult to say at this point what the in-person aspect is going to look like when so many high profile companies have opted out. Either way, it seems safe to assume that — even as things return to relative normal — the virtual aspect won’t be going away any time soon.

#events, #mwc, #mwc-2021, #samsung


Comms expert and VC Caryn Marooney will detail how to get attention at TC Early Stage

We’re thrilled to announce Caryn Marooney is speaking at our upcoming TechCrunch Early Stage virtual event in July. She spoke with us last year and we had to have her back.

Just look at her resume. She was the co-founder and CEO of The Outcast Agency, one of Silicon Valley’s best-regarded public relations firms. She left her company to serve as VP of Global Communication at Facebook, which she did for eight years, overseeing communication for Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus. In 2019 she joined Coatue Management as a general partner, where she went on to invest in Startburst, Supabase, Defined Networks and others.

Needless to say, Marooney is one of the Valley’s experts on getting people’s attention — a skill that’s critical when running a startup, nonprofit or school bake sale.

She said it best last year: “People just fundamentally aren’t walking around caring about this new startup — actually, nobody does.” So how do you get people to care? That’s the trick and why we’re having her back to speak on this evergreen topic.

Watch her presentation from 2020 here. It’s fantastic.

One of the great things about TC Early Stage is that the show is designed around breakout sessions, with each speaker leading a chat around a specific startup core competency (like fundraising, designing a brand, mastering the art of PR and more). Moreover, there is plenty of time for audience Q&A in each session.

Pick up your ticket for the event, which goes down July 8 and 9, right here. And if you do it today, you’ll save a cool $100 off of your registration.


#caryn-marooney, #events, #tc, #tc-early-stage-2021


Here’s all the biz dev support Startup Alley+ founders get at TC Disrupt 2021

We’re looking for motivated early-stage founders who want to take advantage of every possible opportunity to launch their startups to new levels of success. Historically, one of the most effective ways to do that is to exhibit in Startup Alley, at TechCrunch Disrupt.

This year at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 (September 21-23) we’re shaking up history and adding a new layer of opportunity exclusively for founders who apply for a Startup Alley Pass. It’s called Startup Alley+, and here’s what you need to know.

Every exhibiting founder is eligible for Startup Alley+ — an experience designed to set you up with additional education, exposure and success before Disrupt even starts.

However, the TechCrunch team will select only 50 founders to form the cohort, and they’ll kick things off by attending TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising in July — for free. That’s right. You won’t pay anything to participate in Startup Alley+ beyond the initial cost of your Startup Alley Pass.

Other perks include three months of free business development support. You’ll attend three masterclasses on topics that every early-stage founder needs to well, master.

Who wouldn’t want to perfect their pitch long before diving into Disrupt to impress investors? Startup Alley+ participants will do just that by pitching at one of our mini pitch-offs during our weekly Extra Crunch Live events. Check your calendar now and get ready to bring the heat.

  • Session 1- July 21
  • Session 2 – August 4
  • Session 3 – August 18
  • Session 4 – September 1
  • Session 5 – September 8

Keep your pitching arm warmed up and ready, because TechCrunch will introduce Startup Alley+ participants to top investors through our new VC match-making program. And don’t forget, there’s even more pitching in your future when you get to TC Disrupt. Every exhibitor in Startup Alley gets two minutes to pitch during a breakout feedback session.

We set a low hoop to jump through in order to be considered for Startup Alley+ — simply exhibit in Startup Alley. TechCrunch will choose the founders to participate in Startup Alley+ by the end of June.

Apply for your Startup Alley Pass now to make sure you have a shot. Even better — apply before the early-bird price expires next Friday, May 13 at 11:59 p.m. (PDT), and you’ll also save $50.

#events, #startups, #tc-disrupt-2021


Sequoia’s Mike Vernal will share how to iterate with tempo at TC Early Stage in July

TC Early Stage is back in July and we have a fantastic lineup in store that’s laser-focused on marketing and fundraising. That includes, but is not limited to, Sequoia’s Mike Vernal, whose portfolio companies include Citizen, PicsArt, Whisper, Threads, Houseparty and more.

Vernal will be leading a discussion on tempo and product-market fit. The chat stems from Vernal’s experience as an investor, sharing the lesser-known keys to success to not only secure early investment, but to use it to secure a later-stage investment.

In essence, tempo is everything. At the earliest stage, investors are looking more at the team than the product, knowing that the likelihood of the product changing and evolving is high. That means that the ability to adapt — including the systems in place to collect feedback and willingness to continue iterating — are incredibly important factors.

Vernal will not only stress the importance of tempo and product iteration (and how it relates to fundraising success), he’ll also share how both enterprise and consumer companies should go about creating these feedback loops with customers and how to iterate quickly.

Vernal joined Sequoia as a partner in 2016. He currently sits on the boards of Citizen, Jumpstart, rideOS, PicsArt, Rockset, Threads and Whisper. Before Sequoia, Mike was VP at Facebook, where he led a variety of product and engineering teams. He co-created Facebook Login and the Graph API.

In other words, he’s seen and participated in success, and has done the work of product iteration himself.

Vernal joins a stellar lineup of speakers at TC Early Stage in July, including Norwest Venture Partners’ Lisa Wu, Greylock’s Mike Duboe and Cleo Capital’s Sarah Kunst, among many others that are soon to be announced.

One of the great things about TC Early Stage is that the show is designed around breakout sessions, with each speaker leading a chat around a specific startup core competency (like fundraising, designing a brand, mastering the art of PR and more). Moreover, there is plenty of time for audience Q&A in each session.

Pick up your ticket for the event, which goes down July 8 and 9, right here. And if you do it before the end of the day today, you’ll save a cool $100 off of your registration.


#early-stage, #events, #mike-vernal, #sequoia, #startups, #tc, #tc-early-stage-2021


Sydney Thomas is coming to judge startups at Disrupt

Before Precursor Ventures hired Sydney Thomas, the firm was running its operations out of founder Charles Hudson’s inbox, the investor recently recalled. Thomas was hired specifically to do the operational work of bringing a solo GP fund, with less than $5 million in committed capital, to a more organized place — and that’s exactly what Thomas has done. Which is why we’re honored to have Thomas, a celebrated investor, philanthropist, podcaster and community advocate, attend TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 as a judge for our Startup Battlefield competition.

A graduate of the Haas School of Business at Berkeley in 2016, Thomas is now cutting checks as a principal at Precursor, where she focuses her time on investing and supporting pre-seed companies democratizing access to products and services for what Thomas calls the “mass market economy”. Thomas also founded and hosts the “Be About It” podcast, where she profiles companies that fit the thesis. All of this complements a full extracurricular schedule that includes working on a list of investors committed to backing Black and LatinX founders called “The Interrupters” and serving on the Advisory Board of Invanti — a startup generator in the Midwest. In 2020, she was honored to receive the Champion of Justice Award from Esq. Apprentice, an Oakland-based nonprofit that creates alternative pathways to legal careers.

The Startup Battlefield competition has been the launchpad for hundreds of startups at Disrupt, including Dropbox, Cloudflare, Fitbit and more. If you are interested in throwing in your hat to compete, applications are open now! Thomas joins a number of other seasoned investors as a judge at the show. You should be there as well and can get your ticket to attend for less than $100 for a limited time. Get your pass today!

#events, #startup-battlefield, #startups, #tc, #tc-disrupt-2021


CES will return to Las Vegas in 2022

It was, I admit, slightly strange not feeling the extreme anxiety over the holidays at having to return to Las Vegas this past year. But nature is healing. Vaccinations have begun rolling out in much of the world, and CES is ready to return.

The massive consumer electronic show’s governing board, the CTA, announced this morning that the event will return to the City of Second Chances January 5-8 (with media days eating into that post New Year’s glow starting on the 3rd). Per a press release, roughly 1,000 companies have committed to returning.

The list thus far includes, Amazon, AMD, AT&T, Daimler AG, Dell, Google, Hyundai, IBM, Intel, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics and Sony. Given how the past year has gone, however, it’s important to note that everything is always subject to change.

“Our customers are enthusiastic about returning to a live event in Las Vegas,” CTA EVP Karen Chupka said in a release tied to the news. “Global brands and startups have shared that plans are already well underway and are committed to sharing the magic of an in-person CES with even more people from around the world.”

Of course, things will very much feel up in the air until our respective planes have landed at the Las Vegas Airport (and I may or may not still be wearing a mask). And the CTA is quick to note that there will continue to be a digital element. That will almost certainly continue to be an important aspect of these shows moving forward. Will it seemed unlikely that the pandemic would kill trade shows altogether (particularly hardware trade shows), like many things in life, there are some aspects that will simply never be the same.

In 2020, the CTA escaped the wrath of Covid-19 just under the wire, roughly two months before the virus really began doing damage stateside. CES’s first (and, for the foreseeable future, only) all-virtual event was greeted with…mixed results. Anecdotally, the experience left a lot to be desire — perhaps understandable, given sheer size and breadth of a show like this. Now that the infrastructure is in place, however, it would be silly to abandon it altogether — especially after the past year left many questioning their attendance of these sorts of events in general.

As for the 2021 shows — a number, including MWC and IFA in Europe — are still planning to go forward, with enhanced safety precautions. The size and scope of these shows, however, remain in flux, as a number of companies have announced their intention to only attend the show virtually.

#ces, #events, #hardware


Learn how to create an effective earned media strategy with Rebecca Reeve Henderson at TC Early Stage 2021

TechCrunch’s Early Stage 2021 is back for part two of our bootcamp-for-entrepreneurs event, with a focus on marketing and fundraising. Building on the first half of the event in April, this two-day virtual sprint will take place July 8 & 9, and we’re thrilled to welcome Rebecca Reeve Henderson as one of our all-star slate of experts. Rebecca will be joining us to share insight on how to build an effective earned media strategy for your startup, building on her deep expertise developing effective communications programs for some of the top business software companies in the world.

Earned media, aka the kind of exposure you get from a TechCrunch article, is a key element of any startup’s marketing strategy. It’s something that is best used as a complementary component to paid marketing and owned channel promotional efforts, but it’s also one of the trickiest things to get right, especially for first-time founders. Rebecca has worked with companies ranging from Slack, to Shopify, to Zapier, to Canva and many more, helping craft effective earned media strategies in one of the most difficult areas of all: B2B SaaS.

Image Credits: Rsquared Communications

Rebecca is also a founder herself, having built her communications company Rsquared from the ground up into an international business spanning the U.S. and Canada. Rsquared’s clients included startups at all stages of growth, from their very beginnings through to successful exits, including public market debuts, so she’s run effective communications campaigns at every point on the growth spectrum. Then in 2019, Rsquared had its own exit, with an acquisition by global communications firm Archetype.

We’ll hear tips from Rebecca on how earned media contributes to an effective overall communications strategy, and how you go about earning that media — including how to pitch media, and how to build successful long-term relationships with key reporters and publications in your industry.

Tickets for TC Early Stage: Marketing & Fundraising are available until this Friday at the early bird rate which gives you an instant $100 savings! Secure your seat before this weekend!

#business, #business-software, #canva, #communications, #early-stage-2021, #events, #marketing, #rebecca-reeve-henderson, #shopify, #startup-company, #startups, #tc, #tc-early-stage-2021, #united-states


Introvoke raises $2.7M to power online events that can be embedded anywhere

While there’s been plenty of attention and money lavished on virtual event platforms over the past year, Introvoke co-founder and CEO Oana Manolache predicted that we’re only at the beginning of a “third wave of digital transformation.”

In her framing, the first wave came at the beginning of the pandemic, when everyone was using video conferencing tools like Zoom for their virtual events. Next came conference platforms like Hopin (which has been raising money at a mind-boggling clip). But Manolache argued that even Hopin represents a “Band-Aid” that customers are hoping will tide them over until in-person events can resume — particularly when organizers have to point attendees to a third-party platform.

“One size does not fit all,” she said. “The Band-Aid solution that was only supposed to last for a couple months has had big benefits as companies grew their customer base and revenue targets. Now we’ve reached the third wave, as organizations want to bring solutions to their own universe and own their relationship with the audience.”

San Francisco-based Introvoke is a Techstars Accelerator graduate aiming to provide this third-wave solution. It’s announcing today that it has raised $2.7 million in funding led by Struck Capital, while Comcast, Social Leverage, Great Oaks, V1vc, Time CTO Bharat Krish and Resy co-founder Mike Montero also participated.

The startup offers components like virtual stages, chat rooms and networking hubs, all customizable and embeddable on a customer’s website. Manolache said Introvoke (the name comes from the idea of “thought-provoking introductions”) is designed for a hybrid future, which will take multiple forms: “Hybrid is going to mean virtual-only events, in-person only events and events that have in-person and virtual elements.”


Image Credits: Introvoke

Introvoke charges customers based on live event minutes, a model that it says is accessible to companies large and small. Its components can be embedded on websites built with WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Splash and other platforms, but also on a customer’s internal intranet.

“We’ve been so impressed by the way customers are using the technology — conferences, career fairs, employee engagements,” Manolache said.

She added that as customers like Comcast, Wharton and Ritual Motion have used the platform in private preview mode, they’re beginning to break free of the in-person model. For example, Introvoke events can allow for attendees to chat with each other over weeks or months, not just a few days.

In a statement, Struck Capital founder and Managing Partner Adam B. Struck suggested that virtual events “will continue far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Right now, virtual experiences, from conferences and concerts to company all-hands, are generally hosted on third party platforms, which creates a disjointed experience for the brand or organization hosting the event,” he continued. “Virtual enablement should be native to the website and platform of the enterprise itself, and it’s the role of technologists like the Introvoke team to make these experiences as seamless as any in-person event.”

#events, #funding, #fundings-exits, #introvoke, #recent-funding, #startups, #struck-capital, #tc, #virtual-events


Alexa von Tobel will join Disrupt 2021 as a Startup Battlefield judge

Alexa von Tobel, co-founder and managing partner of Inspired Capital, will be joining TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 taking place September 21-23 to help judge the startups competing in Startup Battlefield. NOTE: Applications are now open to don’t hesitate to throw your hat in the ring here!

Prior to Inspired Capital, Alexa founded LearnVest in 2008 with the goal of helping women in particular make better investments and learn financial planning. After raising $75 million in venture capital and growing the service to 1.5 million users, LearnVest was acquired by Northwestern Mutual in May 2015 for $250 million.

Following the acquisition, Alexa joined the management team of Northwestern Mutual as the company’s first chief digital officer. She later assumed the role of chief innovation officer, a position in which which she oversaw Northwestern Mutual’s venture arm.

Alexa, who holds a Certified Financial Planner designation, is also The New York Times-bestselling author of “Financially Fearless,” which debuted in December 2013, and its follow-up, “Financially Forward,” which arrived in May 2019. She is also the host of “The Founders Project with Alexa von Tobel,” a weekly podcast with Inc. that highlights entrepreneurs.

Alexa is a member of the 2016 Class of Henry Crown Fellows and an inaugural member of President Obama’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship. She has been honored with numerous recognitions, including: a Forbes Magazine cover story, Fortune’s 40 Under 40, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women, Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 and World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader.

Alexa recently joined us at TechCrunch Early Stage, where she led a breakout session on financial planning targeted specifically at startups. Join us at Disrupt this September and get your ticket for under $100 for a limited time!

#alexa-von-tobel, #events, #startup-battlefield, #startups, #tc, #tc-disrupt-2021


What to expect from Apple’s Spring Loaded event

Surprise! It’s another Apple Event. Gone are the days of getting a few weeks’ notice before these events now that they’re entirely virtual (at least until 2022, most likely). Instead, the company just dropped the news last week.

Thankfully, there have been plenty of rumors leading up to tomorrow’s big event — and perhaps even a few hints in the invite itself. After skipping last year’s spring event, due to cresting COVID-19 numbers in the U.S., the company has grown much more comfortable dropping semi-regular livestreamed events. As ever, we’ll be covering the event as it unfolds, starting at 10AM PT/1PM ET. But here’s what we expect to see, along with the customary high-production-value sweeping-drone transitions.

The closest thing we have to a surefire bet is the arrival of new iPads, keeping in line with what looks to be a finger-drawn image on the invite. Specifically, the iPad Pro is leading the way. The high-end tablet has been rumored to be getting a refresh at some point this season, so no time like the present.

The biggest news is likely to be the addition of a mini-LED display for the 12.9-inch model (a refresh to the 11-inch is coming sometime down the road). Benefits include increased brightness, better battery life and less potential for image burn-in. The tech would arrive in the place of the OLED currently found on iPhone models.

The improved screen technology is said to add a bit of thickness to the design, which otherwise is largely unchanged. Supply constraints could ultimately put a damper on availability, so there’s a possibility that the product could be announced tomorrow, but delayed for a later date.

There’s likely to be a processor update, as well. Rumor has it that the A14X will utilize the same technology that forms the foundation of the M1 chip found on recent Macs. That could, in turn, bring a real big performance bump.

At the other end of the spectrum is the iPad mini. The 8.4-inch tablet would be getting its first major boost in two years. The updates are said to be less pronounced than on the Pro. The classic iPad design language will remain, though the device is said to be getting a performance boost courtesy of new chips. A new Apple Pencil is rumored to be on the way, as well, though details are scarce.

And could this be the event where Apple finally gives the world AirTags? All signs point to “definitely maybe.” After several delays, the company’s Tile competitor is said to finally be arriving. At the very least, the timing makes sense. After all, the company just opened up third-party “Find My” access, along with a bunch of compatible devices. That includes direct competitor, the Chipolo ONE Spot.

Also on the maybe pile is a new Apple TV featuring a Find My compatible remote. That seems like a slam dunk, as one of the most frequently lost products in history. With Apple on a two-year line-wide refresh, some new silicon Macs could be on the list. The most likely candidate? At the moment it seems to be a long-awaited refresh to the iMac line.


#airtags, #apple, #apple-spring-hardware-event-2021, #events, #hardware, #ipad, #ipad-mini, #ipad-pro


Join ECL on Wednesday to pitch your startup to Fifth Wall’s Brendan Wallace and Hippo’s Assaf Wand

Have you ever dreamed about the opportunity to find yourself in, say, an elevator with an investor who is open to hearing your pitch? Well, then the next episode of Extra Crunch Live is for you.

If you’ve hung out with us on an ECL before, you know we start with a bit of top news, chat with our speakers about how to successfully fundraise, and then finish with the Pitch Deck Teardown, where we take a look at decks submitted by you, the audience members, and give live feedback.

On Wednesday, with the help of Fifth Wall’s Brendan Wallace and Hippo’s Assaf Wand, we’re going to shake things up a bit.

Folks who attend the live event will be able to virtually ‘raise their hand’, come on screen, and give a 60-second pitch of their startup. No demoes. No videos. No visual aids of any kind. It’s the ultimate elevator pitch, and it’ll be done before a live audience.

Wallace and Wand (that’s catchy, eh?) will give their feedback and ask questions at the end of every pitch.

The only way you can participate in the ECL Pitch-off is to show up. Luckily, the events are free to anyone. However, accessing any of this content on demand is reserved strictly for Extra Crunch members.

We’re super excited to introduce the pitch-off as a feature of ECL and hope you are too! See you on Wednesday!

Register here.




#ecl, #events, #extra-crunch-live-announcement, #tc


Can the tech trade show return in 2021?

The past year has been a devastating one for the conference industry. It’s certainly an issue we’ve grappled with here at TechCrunch, as we’ve worked to move our programming to a virtual setting. Clearly each individual case calls for an individual solution, dependent on geography, attendance and a variety of other factors.

IFA has proven itself bullish on the in-person element. The Berlin tech show was one of a small handful of these sorts of events to go on with the show in Europe. The organization held an in-person event in September, albeit at a dramatically scaled-back rate.

“To be a little poetic, usually in the late summer, there’s a special air in Berlin and you go out in the morning, you feel this air,” director Jens Heithecker told me of last year’s event, which scaled back to around 170 exhibitors from 2,300.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the organization is planning to come back big this year, in spite of prolonged concerns around COVID-19 and its variants. A press release announcing the show’s fall return is downright celebratory.

“With the world on course to emerge from the pandemic, IFA Berlin is set to take place as a full-scale, real-life event from 3 – 7 September 2021,” the company writes. “Huge interest from brands, manufacturers and retailers across all industry sectors to exhibit, network and co-innovate on location in Berlin.”

The organization highlights some health and safety measures that are being carried over from last year’s event. But while it’s not quite ready to talk scale yet, the organization is highlighting a number of new tracks for the conference.

“As always, keeping our visitors and exhibitors safe is our top priority,” it said in a statement. “Of course, with all our precautions to ensure everybody’s good health, we don’t expect IFA Berlin 2021 to set new records. However, the trend is clear: IFA Berlin is set for a full-scale comeback, to lead our industry once more.”

Over in Spain, the GSMA is still working on its messaging as a number of large companies have already announced they intend to only attend the show “virtually.”

Organizers offered TechCrunch the following statement:

We appreciate that it will not be possible for everyone to attend MWC Barcelona 2021, but we are pleased that exhibitors including Verizon*, Orange and Kasperksy are excited to join us in Barcelona. To ensure everyone can enjoy the unique MWC experience, we have developed an industry-leading virtual event platform. The in-person and virtual options are provided so that all friends of MWC Barcelona can attend and participate in a way that works for them. We respect the decisions that have been made by some exhibitors and are working with them to move their participation to the virtual platform.

[*Disclosure: Verizon owns TechCrunch]

Google, IBM, Nokia, Sony, Oracle and Ericsson have already announced they won’t be attending the show in person. Other large names are seemingly undecided. The whole thing is reminiscent of the lead-up to last year’s event, which was ultimately canceled.

The necessity of these large events was called into question prior to the pandemic, but the shift to virtual events has truly brought the topic into sharp relief. It’s true that there’s still value in an in-person event for hardware, specifically, but many have learned to adapt to a virtual setting. Even though if the last CES taught us anything, it’s that there are still a whole lot of kinks to work out with the system, especially as it pertains to prioritizing content all effectively being channeled through the same funnel.

People’s willingness to attend these events is based on a broad range of factors. At the very base level, there’s a question of personal comfortability (I can’t be the only one who has a visceral reaction every time they see crowded photos from past events). For many, it will be a bit of a shock to the system to suddenly attend a large indoor conference. There are factors like vaccinations and a particular region’s handling of the pandemic (all of which can wildly swing in the course of several months).

Just today, Germany’s Health Minister sounded the red alert, asking states to tighten restrictions. “We know from last autumn what happens when we don’t act quickly,” Jens Spahn warned the media.

There are a slew of other factors, including a potential attendee’s location and their workplace’s willingness to approve travel. Many companies have restricted business travel to all but the most essential trips. Depending on what you do for a living, your definition of “essential” may vary. But given how much can potentially change in that time, the soundest strategy for many is planning to tackle things remotely.

Earlier this week, the GSMA sent out its own email to previous attendees titled, “Why do you believe MWC Barcelona 2021 will take place?” The note seems to be a direct response to stories about exhibitors opting for a virtual presence.

“Depending on when you are reading this, we will be about 12 weeks away from the doors opening for MWC21 in Barcelona,” CEO John Hoffman wrote. “To say that the last year has been disruptive is an understatement and my thoughts are with anyone who has been impacted by COVID-19. I am not only hopeful about the future, but I am also excited about convening our ecosystem at MWC21. We recognise that not everyone will be able to attend in person and that is fine as we will augment our physical event with our MWC virtual program bringing you content from the show.”

Canceling a flagship show one year could have been utterly devastating. For many of these organizers — and the local governments who rely on tourism money — two years might seem unthinkable. MWC’s virtual strategy in year one of the pandemic was, understandably, undercooked.

More than a year into this, however, the GSMA and organizations like it hopefully have more robust strategies in place. The fact of the matter is that going virtual isn’t a one- or two-off. For many companies and people profoundly impacted by the pandemic, this is what the future looks like.

#ces, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #events, #ifa, #mwc, #tc, #trade-shows


Greylock GP Mike Duboe to discuss how to scale your company at TechCrunch Early Stage in July

While the money flowing into Silicon Valley is reaching historic heights, the competition for getting customer attention and growing businesses is still a major challenge.

At TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing & Fundraising, we’re diving into the topic of growth and scaling and bringing in experts across the startup landscape to share what they’ve learned in the pilot’s seat. We’re thrilled that Greylock General Partner Mike Duboe will be joining us in July to discuss what’s hot and what’s next for growth in consumer and B2B technology.

Before joining Greylock and being promoted to his current role as a GP, Duboe led growth at Stitch Fix as the company built out its online styling empire. Previous to that, Duboe was the first growth hire at Tilt and has had stints on YC’s growth advisory council and as a growth lecturer at Reforge.

Duboe’s interests as an investor have centered on commerce infrastructure, marketplaces, creator tools and more, with investments in no-code visual editor Builder, SMS marketing platform Postscript and online wholesale marketplace Vori. We’ll chat with Mike about where he advises founders to focus their efforts and how to make the most of budgets across channels.

Tickets for TC Early Stage: Marketing & Fundraising  are available at the early bird rate which gives you an instant $100 savings if you book before May 1!

#events, #greylock-partners, #mike-duboe, #startups, #tc, #tc-early-stage-2021


Alexa von Tobel outlines how founders should manage personal finances

Few people are more knowledgable on the topic of how founders should manage their finances than Alexa von Tobel. She is a certified financial planner, started her own company in the midst of the recession (which happened to be a wildly successful personal finance startup that sold for hundreds of millions of dollars) and is now a VC who invests and advises founders.

At Early Stage 2021, she gave a presentation on how founders should think about managing their own wealth. Startup founders can often put all their money into their venture and end up paying more attention to the finances of their company than their own bank account.

Von Tobel outlined the various steps you can take to stay out of debt, build credit and accumulate wealth through investments to ensure you have financial peace of mind as you take on the most stressful venture of your life: Starting a company.

Know your numbers

The first step in getting organized and being proactive is often taking inventory. Von Tobel believes that knowing your numbers and getting organized digitally is the first step to having financial peace of mind.

Know all your numbers. Know your net worth. What are your assets? What’s your debt? What does your total financial picture look like? Get everything online. You should have all the mobile apps downloaded so that, in minutes, you can actually see your full financial life. And keep it simple. Fewer accounts are better. I always tell people, if you have seven credit cards, plus three savings accounts, that’s a lot. You’re never going to be as good at managing your finances. Simplify your accounts. (Time stamp — 2:50)

Manage your credit and debt

#alexa-von-tobel, #early-stage-2021, #ec-how-to, #ec-techcrunch-early-stage, #event-recap, #events, #financial-planning, #inspired-capital, #investments, #startups, #tc


GV partner Terri Burns is joining us to judge the Startup Battlefield

One of the best parts of TechCrunch Disrupt is the Startup Battlefield competition, and one of the most important pieces of the Startup Battlefield is our lineup of expert judges — they’re the ones the founders are trying to impress. Once the demos and presentations are done, the judges need to think quickly and ask probing questions about each startup. And then, of course, they choose the winner who gets to take home $100k and the Disrupt Cup.

This year, at our second virtual Startup Battlefield, GV partner Terri Burns will be joining us as one of our judges. Burns joined the firm (formerly known as Google Ventures) in 2017 as a principal, then was promoted to partner last year — making her the first Black female partner at GV, and its youngest partner as well.

Burns previously worked as a developer evangelist and front-end engineer at Venmo and an associate product manager at Twitter. At GV, she’s invested in high school social app HAGS and social audio app Locker Room.

During an interview about her role last fall, Burns told us she’s interested in backing Gen Z founders, and she pointed to HAGS as a good example of a product that was “built by and for Gen Z.”

“That generation is coming to an age where they are building and they are creating and they are at the forefront of the cultural landscape,” she said. “So to find founders and builders and engineers, and designers who are part of that generation and building for their own demographic, I think it’s just a new wave of entrepreneurship and builders that are coming into technology and in Silicon Valley.”

Disrupt 2021 runs September 21-23 and will be 100% virtual this year. Get your pass to attend with the rest of the TechCrunch community for less than $100 if you secure your seat before next month. Applications to compete in the Startup Battlefield are also open now until May 13.

#events, #gv, #startup-battlefield, #startups, #tc, #techcrunch-disrupt, #terri-burns