InVision, valued at $1.9 billion, picks up $115 million Series F

“The screen is becoming the most important place in the world,” says InVision CEO and founder Clark Valberg . In fact, it’s hard to get through a conversation with him without hearing it. And, considering that his company has grown to $100 million in annual recurring revenue, he has reason to believe his own affirmation.

InVision, the startup looking to be the Salesforce of design, has officially achieved unicorn status with the close of a $115 million Series F round, bringing the company’s total funding to $350 million. This deal values InVision at $1.9 billion, which is nearly double its valuation as of mid-2017 on the heels of its $100 million Series E financing.

Spark Capital led the round with participation from Goldman Sachs, as well as existing investors Battery Ventures, ICONIQ Capital, Tiger Global Management, FirstMark and Geodesic Capital. Atlassian also participated in the round. Earlier this year, Atlassian and InVision built out much deeper integrations, allowing Jira, Confluence and Trello users to instantly collaborate via InVision.

As part of the deal, Spark Capital’s Megan Quinn will be joining the board alongside existing board members, Amish Jani, Vas Natarajan, Simon Nebel, Lee Fixel, and Mark Hastings.

InVision started out back in 2011 as a simple prototyping tool. It let designers build out their experience without asking the engineering/dev team to actually build it, to then send to the engineering and product and marketing and executive teams for collaboration and/or approval.

Over the years, the company has stretched its efforts both up and downstream in the process, building out a full collaboration suite called InVision Cloud (so that every member of the organization can be involved in the design process), Studio, a design platform meant to take on the likes of Adobe and Sketch, and InVision Design System Manager, where design teams can manage their assets and best practices from one place.

But perhaps more impressive than InVision’s ability to build design products for designers is its ability to attract users that aren’t designers.

“Originally, I don’t think we appreciated how much the freemium model acted as a fly wheel internally within an organization,” said Megan Quinn. “Those designers weren’t just inviting designers from their own team or other teams, but PMs and Marketing and Customer Service and executives to collaborate and approve the designs. From the outside, InVision looks like a design company. But really, they start with the designer as a core customer and spread virally within an organization to serve a multitude.”

InVision has simply dominated prototyping and collaboration, today announcing it has surpassed 5 million users. What’s more, InVision has a wide variety of customers. The startup has a long and impressive list of digital first customers — including Netflix, Uber, Airbnb and Twitter — but also serves 97 percent of the Fortune 100, with customers like Adidas, General Electric, NASA, IKEA, Starbucks, and Toyota.

Part of that can be attributed to the quality of the products, but the fundamental shift to digital (as predicted by Valberg) is most certainly under way. Whether brands like it or not, customers are interacting with them more and more from behind a screen, and digital customer experience is becoming more and more important to all companies.

In fact, a McKinsey study showed that companies that are in the top quartile scores of the McKinsey Design Index outperformed their counterparts in both revenues and total returns to shareholders by as much as a factor of two.

But as with any transition, some folks are adverse to change. Valberg identifies industry education and evangelism as two big challenges for InVision.

“Organizations are not quick to change on things like design, which is why we’ve built out a Design Transformation Team,” said Valberg. “The team goes in and gets hands on with brands to help them with new practices and to achieve design maturity within the organization.”

With a fresh $115 million and 5 million users, InVision has just about everything it needs to step into a new tier of competition. Even amongst behemoths like Adobe, which pulled in $2.29 billion in revenue in Q3 alone, InVision has provided products that can both compliment and compete.

But Quinn believes that the future of InVision rests on execution.

“As with most companies, the biggest challenge will be continued excellence in execution,” said Quinn. “InVision has all the right tail winds with the right team, a great product, and excellent customers. It’s all about building and executing ahead of where the pack is going.”

Gift Guide: So your [friend, partner, kid, parent] wants to be a Twitch streamer…

Though many people still scratch their head at the idea of watching people play video games, Twitch and its content creators have proven that the platform is attractive (even beloved) to tens of millions of people.

Got a friend or loved one who believes they have the skill, personality and wide open schedule to be successful on Twitch? The right gift might get the ball rolling.

(Note: It should go without saying that there is one piece of gear that a Twitch streamer truly needs, and that’s a computer or console to play the game on. Generally, this will either be a gaming PC, a Playstation 4, or an Xbox One. Chances are if someone wants to stream games, they’ve already got a platform of choice, so we’re not going to go into detail on what type of PC or console to buy.)

Microphones

Blue Yeti Pro microphoneThe best place to start when investing in a streaming set up is the mic. Yes, webcams are important (and we’ll get to that) but it’s really taxing to listen to poor audio for any lengthy amount of time, and most gaming headphones just won’t cut it.

Our top choice for a reasonably priced, high quality mic is the Blue Yeti Pro ($250). It’s a relatively simple plug-and-play product that sounds great. It supports both USB and XLR, giving users plenty of flexibility if they want to use it for multiple purposes (like, say, podcasting) or across various audio interfaces.

It’s not cheap — the Blue Yeti Pro costs $250 on Amazon — so folks looking for a less flexible mic that will simply work with a PC or console, the stepped-down Blue Mics Yeti ($130) should get the job done.

Webcams

Logitech C922 HD Pro StreamWhile the point of streaming is arguably to watch the game, and not the gamer, there is something special about seeing someone’s reactions to the game or to the Twitch chat on a stream.

General consensus among the community points to the Logitech C922 HD Pro Stream ($99). It captures 1080p/30fps or 720p/60fps video and offers a 78-degree field of view, with particularly good low-light capabilities and solid autofocus. Oddly, streaming under the blue light of the monitor in complete darkness is pretty common, and this webcam can handle just that. As a bonus, the C922 offers background replacement, letting users green screen out everything behind the streamer to show even more of the game. The lower-cost alternative is the Logitech HD Pro C920 ($79), which doesn’t offer background replacement or some other bonus features like 720p/60fps capture, or autofocus.

The C922 also comes with a three-month free trial of XSplit (broadcasting software that will likely be necessary for PC gamers/streamers, but is less necessary for console streamers.)

Monitors

ASUS VG245H 24” Full HD 1080p gaming monitorMost people think of a couch and a TV when they think of playing video games, but that is most certainly not ideal for a streamer. For one, where does the webcam go? Secondly, your vision just isn’t as good from 10 feet away on a 40-inch+ screen. Many pros tend to use a 24- to 27-inch monitor roughly two feet away from the face — so sitting at a desk is often preferred.

Super high-performance gaming monitors are very expensive, and there are very real trade-offs each time the price comes down. But the ASUS VG245H ($190) is a solid contender at a reasonable price point, managing to pack a punch where it counts.

The 24-inch monitor comes with a TN type panel (which can wash out colors more than ISP) but has a 144Hz refresh rate at a 1920×1080 resolution. At $190 on Amazon, this monitor is a bargain.


Beyond strictly streaming equipment, there are plenty of gadgets that can take a skilled gamer to the next level. Here are a few suggestions:

Inputs

A gamer that dominates the competition with entry-level inputs (be it a mouse or controller) will absolutely crush it with a gaming-specific mouse or controller.

Finalmouse Ultralight Pro gaming mouseThere are many schools of thought when it comes to PC gaming mice — some think customization is king, while others are drawn to RGB lighting or wireless functionality. At the end of the day, personal preference plays a huge role. For folks switching over from a standard mouse, the best option might be the Finalmouse Ultralight Pro ($70).

It acts and feels like a standard mouse, but happens to be just 67 grams, with the Pixart pmw3360 eSports sensor, integrated illumination, enhanced tracking and a higher framerate. And as a bonus, this is the same mouse that streaming star Ninja uses. If it’s good enough for him, it’s probably good enough for your dear recipient.

For console gamers, there is a clear favorite if you’re looking to upgrade beyond the standard Xbox or Playstation controller. Scuf Gaming controllers (starting at $150) allow players to use paddles on the underside of the controller. This means that gamers can use their middle and ring fingers instead of multitasking with their thumbs, meaning their thumbs never leave the joysticks.

Headset

Stealth 700 Headset - PS4Switching from standard headphones to high-quality gaming headphones feels like cheating. Suddenly, you can hear everything around you. I’ve personally played with a wide variety of headphones, and my favorite by a mile is the Astro A50 wireless headset with base station ($300). Tech specs aside, these are some of the most comfortable headphones out there, perfect for those hours-long streaming sessions.

For folks looking for something more affordable, Turtle Beach also has a nice selection of wireless headphones including the Stealth 700 ($150).

Smaller Stuff

Once they’re streaming, then what? The best thing you can do for your new favorite streamer is interact with their new channel. Subscribe. Watch the broadcast and chat in the stream. And if you have a little extra cash to spare, gift subs to the channel so folks who show up and want to subscribe have no barrier to entry when they get there.

2 Milly files a lawsuit against Fortnite maker Epic Games over dance move

Rapper 2 Milly is suing Epic Games over Fortnite’s use of his dance move, the Milly Rock.

The lawsuit claims direct infringement of copyright, contributory infringement of copyright and violation of the Right of Publicity under California Common Law, among other things.

From the filing:

Defendants capitalized on the Milly Rock’s popularity, particularly with its younger fans, by selling the Milly Rock dance as an in-game purchase in Fortnite under the name “Swipe It,” which players can buy to customize their avatars for use in the game. This dance was immediately recognized by players and media worldwide as the Milly Rock. Although identical to the dance created, popularized, and demonstrated by Ferguson, Epic did not credit Ferguson nor seek his consent to use, display, reproduce, sell, or create a derivative work based upon Ferguson’s Milly Rock dance or likeness.

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve seen the Milly Rock. Rock dwellers can check it out below:

On Fortnite, the dance is called the Swipe It, and it looks like this:

Back in July, around the time that Fortnite unveiled the Swipe It dance, Chance the Rapper pointed out that Epic Games tends to use in the game dance moves popularized by famous artists. These emotes cost money, and heavily contribute to the hundreds of millions in revenue that Epic Games pulls in on a monthly basis via its free-to-play game.

Moreover, the default emote on Fortnite is the relatively famous little routine from actor Donald Faison on the show Scrubs.

This lawsuit is particularly complicated considering that it’s over a dance move, which is difficult to lock down with copyright. The Verge reported that this lawsuit is the first of its kind, in that it challenges the gaming industry’s use of pop culture as for-profit virtual items. NPR reports that the U.S. Copyright Office “can’t register short dance routines consisting of only a few movements or steps with minor linear or spatial variations, even if a routine is novel or distinctive.”

That doesn’t mean there is no way to protect choreographic works. Those works, however, must be defined as “a series of dance movements or patterns organized into an integrated, coherent, and expressive compositional whole,” according to NPR.

Concluding the 22-page filing is a request for injunctive relief, which would bar Epic Games from using 2 Milly’s likeness in the game, as well as financial compensation for the use of the Milly Rock dance.

We reached out to Epic Games and will update the story if/when we hear back.

With investors knocking, PlayVS opens the door to a $30M Series B

PlayVS, the company bringing esports infrastructure to high schools across the country, has today announced the close of a $30.5 million Series B financing. The round was led by Elysian Park Ventures, the investment arm of the L.A. Dodgers, with participation from five existing investors including New Enterprise Associates, Science Inc., Crosscut Ventures, Coatue Management and WndrCo.

New investors also joined in on the round, including Adidas (the company’s first esports investment), Samsung NEXT, Plexo Capital, as well as angel investors such as Sean “Diddy” Combs, David Drummond, DST Global partner Rahul Mehta, Michael Dubin and others.

It’s certainly worth noting that PlayVS raised a $15 million Series A just six short months ago. Founder and CEO Delane Parnell explained that this Series B was an opportunistic raise, as the company received a lot of inbound from investors to get a slice of the next round.

“This gives us much more stability and runway so that we can hire more senior employees and leadership,” said Parnell. “It also gives us a bit of a war chest to let the team go out and work their strategies.”

Alongside the raise, PlayVS also announced new game partnerships, bringing Rocket League and SMITE into the company’s portfolio. Rocket League and SMITE join League of Legends, which was added to the platform two months ago.

PlayVS launched early this year with a relatively novel approach to the esports world. Instead of focusing on the current esports space, PlayVS realized that there was a huge opportunity to bring infrastructure to the esports landscape in high school. As more and more esports careers are created through investment by colleges (via scholarships) and esports orgs, PlayVS gives students a place to show off their skills and get in front of recruiters.

The first step in the process was establishing a partnership between PlayVS and the NHFS, which is essentially the NCAA of high school sports. Through that partnership, PlayVS handles team schedules, district league schedules, coaching clinics, referees, and sets up an in-person live spectator event for the State Championship at the end of the year.

Right now, the company is in the midst of its Season Zero, testing out the platform with a small number of states — Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island — in preparation for the official Inaugural Season, which will begin in 2019. Today, PlayVS is adding Alabama (AHSAA), Mississippi (MISSHSAA), and parts of Texas (TCSAAL) to the program.

But the growth of the company is largely dependent on states and school districts, which is why PlayVS is announcing the launch of Club Leagues. Club Leagues is identical to the PlayVS sports league product, except there is no State Championship at the end. Still, students who do not yet have access to the official PlayVS sports league can create teams, join up, and play matches.

Eventually, Parnell says, the company will phase out Club Leagues as soon as official sport leagues are available to those players.

Juul Labs reveals its plan to combat underage vape use

Juul will be removing non-tobacco flavored pods from all stores, including convenience stores and vape shops, according to a new plan the company released today.

This comes exactly 60 days after the FDA demanded a more comprehensive plan from big e-cig makers to deal with the growing problem of underage use of these products.

Juul currently sells eight different flavors of pods. Pods that don’t come in existing tobacco flavors — Virginia Tobacco, Classic Tobacco, Mint and Menthol — will be removed from all stores effective immediately. In other words, the only place to buy Creme, Fruit, Cucumber and Mango (Juul’s most popular flavor) is on the Juul website.

There, the company verifies that customers are 21+ by either cross referencing information, such as DOB and last four digits of social security number, with publicly available data, or asking users to upload a scan of their Driver’s License.

It’s worth noting that Juul’s plan goes a step further than the reported plan from the FDA, which demands that all non-tobacco flavored products be removed from convenience stores but allows them to remain on sale at specialty stores like vape shops.

Once the FDA has evaluated the situation, Juul will reconsider putting flavors on sale at shops under the condition that those shops follow Juul’s new 21+ restricted distribution policy. That policy includes investing in technology that designates flavored Juul pods as restricted within their inventory system. Once restricted, clerks must scan IDs to both ensure the purchaser is over 21 and log that purchase into the system to track bulk purchases.

For now, however, non-tobacco flavored Juul pods will only be available on the Juul website.

The more than 90,000 retail stores carrying tobacco-flavored Juul pods and devices will soon be subject to heightened scrutiny, according to Juul’s plan. The company is increasing its secret shopper program from 500 visits/month to roughly 2,000/month, as well as imposing financial consequences on those retailers that are caught by the FDA selling to minors or allowing bulk sales.

But offline purchases are just one part of the underage use problem. Minors have also had the ability to purchase Juul devices and pods on third-party ecommerce sites like eBay Alibaba and Amazon, with more than 23,000 listings of Juul products or counterfeits already taken down by Juul and regulators. Juul will continue to work with these retailers to take down the listings.

Finally, Juul Labs is rethinking its social media policy. The company plans to take down its Instagram and Facebook channels entirely, and limit its Twitter channel to non-promotional information like news and customer service updates. Juul’s YouTube channel will also remain up, but will only feature testimonial videos from real-life former smokers. Both YouTube and Twitter will require users to be 21+ before engaging with the channel.

Critics have pointed to a 2015 campaign from Juul that featured models between the ages of 24 and 37 as one of the contributing factors for the rise in underage use of Juul products. While that campaign only ran for 5 months more than three years ago, and there is little data to tie the campaign to the booming increase in underage use over the past 18 months, it has caused Juul to rethink the way it handles social media in general.

Last year, the company switched its policy to only use models over the age of 35 on social media, and in June, Juul went a step further, allowing only former smokers over the age of 28 to be featured on its social media channels.

One of the most interesting pieces of this ongoing debate is the FDA’s moratorium on new products. Essentially, any device that wasn’t already on the market as of August 2016 must go through the entire regulatory process for FDA approval. But because Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems are a new product category, the fine print of the regulatory process for these devices is still being ironed out.

Nonetheless, Juul Labs has been hard at work on a next-generation Juul that would include Bluetooth connectivity. The company has plans to release the new product in markets outside of the U.S., but also plans to work alongside the FDA to find a regulatory pathway to selling the device within the States.

Why does this matter? Well, a Bluetooth-enabled Juul could virtually put an end to underage use of the product once and for all. Once the Juul is paired with a smartphone, it could geofence schools and other areas where kids congregate to be a no-vape zone. It could even force age verification through the phone so that the Juul only works when the right TouchID profile has activated the device via iPhone.

Juul cofounder and Chief Product Officer spoke a little bit about the next-gen device at Disrupt SF this year, outlining the ways it could help users ween themselves off of nicotine. But clearly there is the potential for technology to also solve the problem of underage use. Unfortunately, it’s a problem that needs an immediate resolution, and regulatory approval of a new device is anything but immediate.

Everything you missed from the Startup Battlefield Latin America

The tech scene in São Paulo is an absolute delight, and we’re honored to have seen such an amazing turnout at the Startup Battlefield Latin America.

In case you missed it, we’ve put together a little recap of the event below.

Editor’s Note: We will embed videos from the event as soon as they’re available.

A China Twist to Brazil’s Mobility Revolution

Featuring Ariel Lambrecht (Yellow), Eduardo Musa (Yellow), Tony Qiu (Didi Chuxing), Hans Tung (GGV)

Mobility is a massive challenge for megacities around the world, including Sao Paulo. The first panel of the event featured notable founders and investors attempting to solve this problem in Brazil and throughout Latin America.

Eduardo Musa is the cofounder and CEO of Yellow and was joined on stage by his cofounder Ariel Lambrecht. Lambrecht also founded the mobility company 99, which is the only startup worth more than 1 billion USD in Brazil. Didi Chuxing recently invested and purchased 99, and current CEO and former investor Tony Qiu sat on the panel as well. Lastly, Hans Tung, managing partner at the Silicon Valley firm GGV and lead investor on 99’s latest round, joined the group. The panel was moderated by TechCrunch’s Managing Editor, Matt Burns.

Both Musa and Qiu acknowledged the crisis facing the Brazilian market and noted parallels with the Chinese market. Both markets have megacities with a diverse population, and there are countless opportunities for startups to address.

Throughout the panel, it was noted that Brazilian startups face several obstacles including finding enough talent and investment. The panelists agreed that often companies in Brazil are looking to Silicon Valley for both. For hiring, they said, there are not enough engineers locally, and to obtain funding, it’s best to show growth to local investors and the look tow Silicon Valley for additional investors.

Fireside Chat with Cristina Junquiera (Nubank) and David Velez (Nubank)

Any kind of partnership with a global internet giant is a big win for a startup. Nubank co-founders David Velez and Cristina Junquiera took the stage at Startup Battlefield Latin America to discuss Tencent’s $180M investment into their Sao Paulo-based digital banking company. Nubank is has raised over $700M from hard hitting investors like DST and Sequoia, valuing the company at over $4B, so it’s not about the money. While the invest to buy strategy is common for Chinese internet giants, Velez says that isn’t the goal for Nubank.
The founders are focused on the 20 million customers who have already applied for their credit card, and building culture from the ground up. There’s a lot wrong with Brazilian banks, and Nubank is taking a customer-focused approach to provide its digital banking service for Brazil’s huge population. When you’re one of the most successful companies in a region, you feel a responsibility to give back to the ecosystem. The best way to do that, say Velez and Junquiera, is to set an example of success.

Venture Investing In Latin America Today

Featuring Eric Acher (Monashees),Veronica Allende Serra (Innova Capital Consultoria Ltda), Hernan Kazah (Kaszek), Fernando Lelo de Larrea (ALLVP)

Latin American startup companies have hit an inflection point. No longer an afterthought for global investment firms the region is on pace to surpass $1 billion in committed capital for the second year in a row.

Driving that growth, according to investors Eric Acher, the co-founder of Monashees; Veronica Allende Serra, the founder of Innova Capital; Hernan Kazah of Kaszek Ventures and Fernando Lelo de Larrea of ALL VP; is a rash of exits like the public offering for the payment technology provider Stone and the sale of ride-hailing company, 99, to the Chinese global giant mobility company, DiDi.

Yet, as the market grows, entrepreneurs need to consider the partners they’re bringing on board as the aim for international growth. And while Brazil leads the pack in terms of committed capital — grabbing 73% of the total money invested in the region in the first half of the year — Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile are all emerging as important capital markets in their own right.

20 Years Ahead of the Curve

Featuring Fabricio Bloisi (Movile)

For Fabricio Bloisi, the journey to building a multi-billion dollar company in Movile wasn’t always easy. Building a business requires making tough decisions along the way and a commitment to constantly churning through ideas.

Over the first ten years of its existence, Movile struggled as a smaller content provider. It was once the company agreed to consolidate and control more of the market that it began to grow, Bloisi said.

Now, businesses like iFood, which brought in over $100 million in revenue in the month of October alone, and new payment businesses like Zoop and its delivery and logistics companies, are contributing to a powerhouse that Bloisi thinks could be a $10 billion company in a few years.

Bloisi believes in the region, and the promise it holds for local and international investors to build more multi-billion dollar businesses. The future belongs to the entrepreneurs in the audience, Bloisi said. And if they can make the tough decisions (and get the right investment partners) they could find themselves on the TechCrunch stage.

New Wave Latin Founders

Ana Lu McLaren (Enjoie), David Arana (Konfio), Sebastian Mejia (Rappi), Juan Pablo Bruzzo

A vast majority of startup and investment activity across Latin America is coming out of Brazil. But that doesn’t mean entrepreneurship doesn’t thrive in other parts of the region. Rappi co-founder Sebastian Mejia, Konfio’s David Arana, Moni’s Juan Pablo Bruzzo and Ana McLaren from Enjoie discussed the challenges of launching and scaling an early stage tech company in this new wave founder discussion. Volatile economies, scarce technical talent, and undercapitalized markets aren’t so much challenges, but opportunities for these founders.

Logistics, fintech and ecommerce sectors are getting shaken up by these founders, and the foreign investment dollars are following. Rappi just raised a $200M round to grow its last-mile delivery service, and

The final season of House of Cards is out now

The ultimate chapter of the political drama House of Cards is officially out.

The Netflix original series is in its sixth and final season, and without a new lead.

Following sexual misconduct allegations against Kevin Spacey last year, Netflix halted production on Season 6 to review the matter. Shortly thereafter, Spacey was fired from the series and the final season was rewritten.

Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) takes center stage to close out the series, assuming the presidency following the resignation of her husband.

House of Cards has been nominated for 50 Emmys thus far, and won six, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, and Directing for a Drama Series.

The final season has eight episodes, and early reviews have been generally positive.

How to watch the first major Black Ops 4: Blackout tournament

Gamers, worldwide! A new seasons is upon us. New games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 have either arrived or are on the way, which means we’re wading into a holiday season of fresh gaming.

But with new games also come new esports to watch.

The competitive season for Black Ops 4 Multiplayer (the CWL) doesn’t start until December. But TwitchCon still has some Black Ops 4 goodness coming our way on October 27. Four teams, made up of pro players/streamers, will compete in the first high-stakes Blackout tournament. Blackout is the new Battle Royale mode for Black Ops 4.

Officially, the Doritos Blackout Bowl starts on October 27 at 3:30pm ET, and interested viewers can check out the stream here.

Here’s how it will work:

Four teams of four pro players/streamers will drop into the Blackout map alongside public players. As with any Battle Royale game, they’ll loot up and start picking players off. The tournament will be scored based on kills and match placements.

Kills are worth one point, and various placements will earn the team a multiplier. A top ten placement yields a 0.5x multiplier, a top five placement yields a 0.75X multiplier, and a top 3 placement wins the team a 1.25x multiplier.

So who’s playing?

Team Ninja will be led by none other than Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who will be joined by his teammates JoshOG, Gold Glove, and Fearitself. Team Shroud will include Shroud as team camptain, alongside Just9n, Chocotaco, and Chad. Jack “Courage” Dunlop, who transitioned from CoD pro caster to professional content creator for Optic Gaming last year, will lead a team comprised of Karma, TeePee and Hysteria. And finally, Dr. Lupo will lead the fourth team, with teammates including Annemunition, Mad Ruski, and Ninja with no L.

What’s interesting about the Doritos Blackout Bowl is that the organizers have opted to make this tournament a public affair. Not only will it be livestreamed, but the players themselves will actually load into a public Blackout lobby, meaning the pros will be battling it out with real-life Black Ops 4 players.

The prize pool for the tournament is $250,000.

Disclosure: The author’s father works for Pepsico, which owns Doritos. The author does not own any Pepsi stock. She’s just a gamer who loves CoD.

How to watch the first major Black Ops 4: Blackout tournament

Gamers, worldwide! A new seasons is upon us. New games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 have either arrived or are on the way, which means we’re wading into a holiday season of fresh gaming.

But with new games also come new esports to watch.

The competitive season for Black Ops 4 Multiplayer (the CWL) doesn’t start until December. But TwitchCon still has some Black Ops 4 goodness coming our way on October 27. Four teams, made up of pro players/streamers, will compete in the first high-stakes Blackout tournament. Blackout is the new Battle Royale mode for Black Ops 4.

Officially, the Doritos Blackout Bowl starts on October 27 at 3:30pm ET, and interested viewers can check out the stream here.

Here’s how it will work:

Four teams of four pro players/streamers will drop into the Blackout map alongside public players. As with any Battle Royale game, they’ll loot up and start picking players off. The tournament will be scored based on kills and match placements.

Kills are worth one point, and various placements will earn the team a multiplier. A top ten placement yields a 0.5x multiplier, a top five placement yields a 0.75X multiplier, and a top 3 placement wins the team a 1.25x multiplier.

So who’s playing?

Team Ninja will be led by none other than Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who will be joined by his teammates JoshOG, Gold Glove, and Fearitself. Team Shroud will include Shroud as team camptain, alongside Just9n, Chocotaco, and Chad. Jack “Courage” Dunlop, who transitioned from CoD pro caster to professional content creator for Optic Gaming last year, will lead a team comprised of Karma, TeePee and Hysteria. And finally, Dr. Lupo will lead the fourth team, with teammates including Annemunition, Mad Ruski, and Ninja with no L.

What’s interesting about the Doritos Blackout Bowl is that the organizers have opted to make this tournament a public affair. Not only will it be livestreamed, but the players themselves will actually load into a public Blackout lobby, meaning the pros will be battling it out with real-life Black Ops 4 players.

The prize pool for the tournament is $250,000.

Disclosure: The author’s father works for Pepsico, which owns Doritos. The author does not own any Pepsi stock. She’s just a gamer who loves CoD.

Announcing the Disrupt Berlin Agenda

TechCrunch Disrupt is the world’s biggest and most impactful tech startup conference, and we can’t wait to bring the hype to Berlin.

We’re very proud of the show we’ve put together and are thrilled to give you a look at what’s in store.

Editor’s Note: Not all of our speakers are included on this agenda as we like to keep a couple tricks up our sleeves. ;)

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29

Morning


Racing to the Future with Lucas Di Grassi (Roborace)

Hear from Roborace’s new CEO and former F1 driver Lucas Di Grassi on how Roborace is merging human driving and artificial intelligence to build a better racing series. Including a sneak peak at their latest vehicle! Main Stage @ 9:05AM

A New Start with Anne Kjaer-Riechert (ReDI School of Digital Integration), Aline Sara (NaTakallam)

The world has been shocked by the plight of refugees from both war zones and natural disasters in the last few years. But the tech world has stepped up to the plate to assist refugees and NGOs, in this case with ReDI School’s hugely successful code school for refugees and NaTakallam’s global platform for refugees to teach languages. Main Stage @ 9:25AM

In The Money with Pieter van der Does (Adyen)

Payments company Adyen has achieved that rare thing all startups hope for but many do not achieve: it went public as a profitable company with a huge IPO pop. Hear how a startup quietly built up a payments empire under the radar, out of Amsterdam. Main Stage @ 9:45AM

Regaining Momentum in Europe with Saul Klein (LocalGlobe)

Saul Klein has long had an outsized imprint on Europe’s tech scene, as an operator, founder and investor, as well as the mastermind behind the global meet up concept OpenCoffee and the “YC of Europe,” Seedcamp. We’ll talk with Klein about creating a sustainable ecosystem, as well as how Europe now competes against faster-growing markets, including in China. Main Stage @ 10:05AM

STARTUP BATTLEFIELD

The hottest startups compete for the Disrupt Cup, $50,000 USD, and eternal glory. Main Stage @ 10:50AM

Bootstrapping Your Way To The Top with Denys Zhadanov (Readdle)

Readdle, a strartup out of Ukraine, has racked up 100 million downloads of its popular PDF app, and is now making a bold move into other productivity tools, all without a single dime of funding. It can be done! Hear Denys Zhadanov tell his startup’s story. Main Stage @ 11:55AM

STARTUP BATTLEFIELD

The hottest startups compete for the Disrupt Cup, $50,000 USD, and eternal glory. Main Stage @ 1:15PM

Afternoon


Sharing the Ride-Sharing Industry with Daniel Ramot (Via), and other speakers to be announced

It’s time to say it: there won’t be a single global leader in the ride-sharing industry. Many companies will survive and compete in dozens of countries with different offerings. But how do you beat Uber at its own game? Main Stage @ 2:40PM

Pioneering Crypto with Jamie Burke (Outlier Ventures), Vinay Gupta (Mattereum), and other speakers to be announced

Investing in Crypto and Blockchain startups has never been hotter. We’ll hear from these key pioneers in the field who are feeling their way in this brand new arena. Main Stage @ 3:45PM

Making Everyone A Secondary VC with Kaidi Ruusalepp (Funderbeam)

As startups stay private longer and more people want to gamble on them, CEO Kaidi Ruusalepp will discuss the risks and rewards of would-be investors turning to Funderbeam’s secondary market. Main Stage @ 4:10PM

STARTUP BATTLEFIELD

The hottest startups compete for the Disrupt Cup, $50,000 USD, and eternal glory. Main Stage @ 4:30PM


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30TH

Morning


Going Global with Brynne Kennedy (Topia)

Topia’s Brynne Kennedy will discuss building the tools that enable companies to manage the 21st century mobile workforce. Main Stage @ 9:25AM

The European Fintech Fever with Ricky Knox (Tandem) and other speakers to be announced

Thanks to a unified market, fintech startups have boomed in Europe. And yet, with so many megarounds and startups doing the same thing, are we experiencing a fintech fever? Main Stage @ 9:45AM

Learning Languages and Building a Startup with Julie Hansen and Markus Witte (Babbel)

Babbel is now managing the top-grossing language learning app in the world. It’s a European success story. The company is now facing a new challenge: conquering the U.S. Main Stage @ 10:10AM

Building Your Next Car, Today with Laurin Hahn (Sono Motors), Ole Harms (MOIA)

The car industry has never been so exciting. Everybody is working on the car of the future, which will represent the perfect combination of automation, connectivity, electric motors and mobility services. But who will do it better: Startups or car giants trying to reinvent themselves? Including a sneak peak of Sono’s new vehicle. Main Stage @ 11:05AM

Becoming a “Unicorn Factory” with Philipe Botteri, Sonali De Rycker, Luciana Lixandru, and Harry Nelis (Accel)

Accel London has built a very strong brand in Europe over the past 18 years, with bets that include Deliveroo and Supercell. Yet staying relevant means continuing to bet on winners. How does Accel think about its heritage and its future, and what does that mean for the startups looking to work with the firm? Main Stage @ 11:30AM

Afternoon


European Space Tech Comes of Age with Mike Collett (Promus Ventures), Rafal Modrzewski (ICEYE)

Mike Collett has built a reputation as a savvy investor in deep-technology software and is now an investor in one of Europe’s hottest space-tech startups, ICEYE, which ICEYE recently became the first company to launch a Synthetic-Aperture Radar satellite under 100 kilograms which can scan the globe in 3D. Where does space technology go from here? Main Stage @ 1:00PM

STARTUP BATTLEFIELD FINALS

The hottest startups compete for the Disrupt Cup, $50,000 USD, and eternal glory. Main Stage @ 1:45PM

Emerging Market Tech is About to Explode with Lizzie Chapman (Zestmoney) and Alan Mamedi (Truecaller)

With a $100M warchest, Truecaller has gone from a simple anti-spam service to a payments and chat service for huge new markets like India. Meanwhile, Zest is India’s first completely automated consumer digital lending platform which is giving consumers there new options in financing. We’ll get into how these two pioneers are expanding. Main Stage @ 3:30PM

Selling Fashion in a Post-Web World with Sophie Hill (Threads)

Threads, a startup out of London, has found the perfect way to sell to its target millennial customer: forget the web and focus on messaging apps instead. That bold choice has helped the company land tons of clients and millions in backing from VCs who want in on the action. Hear from founder Sophie Hills about how she got here, and what will come next. Main Stage @ 4:20PM

Can Starling Become the Next HSBC with Anne Boden (Starling Bank)

Starling has now convinced hundreds of thousands of people, but it is still far behind the biggest consumer banks. Anne Boden has worked in the banking industry for decades, so she knows what’s missing to jump from a small competitor to a dominant player. Main Stage @ 4:40PM