Announcing the agenda for The Europas Unconference, July 3, London

There are only 10 more days until The Europas where the winners of this year’s startup awards will be announced at our gala dinner, in association with TechCrunch!

The Europas half-day “Unconference” will have a fantastic lineup of panels taking place in the afternoon before the awards. This year, we’ve done away with mainstage lectures, and we’ve created a series of more tightly focused discussion panels that give you a front-row seat to the biggest investors, founders and thought leaders in tech. No more seeing a huge investor or founder on stage and not even getting to talk to them! Our goal at The Europas is to break down the barriers between speakers and audience and to get the discussion going!

This year our panels are focused around three themes: Tech + Society; Start Up Central, and The Crypto Zone. You can see the complete agenda here along with the panel speakers.

In Tech + Society, we’ll be debating and discussing:

— What happens to the tech community post Brexit?

— The Disinfoconomy panel will dive into what’s next after Facebook’s data debacle for both companies, essentially trading in personal data and for user privacy.

— Mapping the Future of Transportation and Cities: a startup that’s just emerging from stealth mode will talk about how AVs can co-exist in today’s cities.

In the Startup Central, our zone dedicated to startup life, we’ll be covering everything from seed funding to Series B and beyond. Expect to meet many investors here, as many of them will be heading up the discussion (as well as attending the awards dinner), including investors from Accel, Passion Capital, Connect Ventures, LocalGlobe, Seedcamp and many more. We’ll also be diving into startup life itself, asking if a work life balance can ever exist, and what exactly is “cultural fit”? And our most popular panel is back – Meet the Press – where you can ask top tech reporters what about exactly “makes” a tech startup story.

Finally – if you haven’t noticed recently, we’ve fallen headlong into the crypto rabbit hole. By popular demand, we’ve got two blockchain tracks dedicated to exploring the opportunities and challenges in the space. One track is dedicated to the ins and outs of investing, and the other track to the number of industries and existing business practices that blockchain is disrupting.

Agenda so far (more speakers to be confirmed):

Tech + Society Zone

• Should We Stay or Should We Go Now?
Saul Klein, LocalGlobe
Eloise Todd, CEO, Best For Britain (& other panelists to be announced)

•  The Disinformation Economy
Dhruv Ghulati of

• Get Mapping, the Future of Transportation in an Autonomous Age:
Steve Gledden, AiPod

• AI + Startups – A Non Starter?
Paul Dowling, Deeptech Mondays

Startup Central Zone

• The New World Order of Early Stage Investment
Tina Baker, JAG Shaw Baker
Scott Sage, VC

• Crossing the Chasm to Series B and Beyond
(Speakers TBA)

• The Future of Funding: ICOs, Crowdfunding and VC
Michael Jackson, Mangrove Capital
Ali Ganjavian

• Meet the Press
Featuring Journalists from Business Insider, WSJ and more

• This Startup Life – from work/life balance to cultural fit
Brett, Forsyth Group

Crypto Zone 1

• Investing in Crypto: What’s Hot and What’s Not
Richard Muirhead, Fabric Ventures
Damir Bandalo, Columbus Capital
George McDonagh, KR1
Nancy Fechnay, blockchain Angel

• The Highs and Lows of ICOs: 3 Blockchain Projects, 3 ICOs
Linda Wang, Lending Block

•  Tokenize It! Understanding Token Economics
Lee Pruitt, Instasupply;

• Smart Contracts, Smarter Businesses: What Smart Contracts Can Enable

• The Most Crypto Friendly Jurisdictions
Diana Rotaru, Blockchip
Keld Van Shreven, KR1

Crypto Zone 2

• The State of Blockchain in Europe
Sasha Ivanov, Waves
Lexi Willets, Coinweb
Peter Wilson, Blockchain

• Blockchain for Social Impact: Where is Blockchain Making a Difference
Min Teo, Consensys

• Fixing Media, the Creative Industries and Visual Arts with Blockchain
Maria Tanjala, FilmChain
Robert Norton, Verisart
Christine Mohan, Civil

• We Don’t Need No Thought Control: Digital Identity and Blockchain – Pelle Braendgaard, uPort

Oval Money app launches its investment products for millennials

Back in April Oval Money launched with the idea of combining expense tracking, saving, and investing into one app, while also adding a social element by enabling its community of users to share tips and suggestions to one another. The idea is to help users grow their savings in less time by teaching them to monitor spending habits and make saving virtually automatic. The company has raised €1.2M in funding, largely from Italian investors.

The startup is launching a raft of investment products for socially-conscious savers.

Beginning with three funds – supporting gender diversity in boardrooms, flexible working and the brands that millennials trust – the investments marketplace will be available to customers in the smartphone app this summer.

The “Women at the Table” fund will allow investors to support companies that ensure that at least 20% of board members are women, while a “Belong but Work Remote” fund promotes the growing flexible jobs economy.

“Generation Millennials” will track the leading consumer brands that millennials are into most.

The three are the first of 20 cause-themed products to be released in the marketplace.

Oval co-founder Benedetta Arese Lucini said: “Young people want to invest in the causes they care about. We’ve been listening to millennials for a long time, and these products will mean not only can we help people start to save towards their futures, but we can provide them with the opportunity to invest in companies which are really making a difference in the world.”

Oval Money uses machine learning to review the individual spending habits of its users, and adjusts saving automatically.

A beta-test of the marketplace begins today. By updating the app, Ovalers will be able to go through an initial set of questions about what type of investor they are and will be encouraged to share with friends. The users that share the most will get a privileged access to the beta

The firm will also launch opportunities to invest in cryptocurrency, insurance and other alternative finance products over the rest of the year.

Also today, it has launched its product to 20,000 tobacconists across Italy via Intesa SanPaolo Group’s bank Banca 5, reaching a so-far-unserved demographic of immigrants and young people. Banca 5, which already provides a physical banking experience through tobacconists, will now be able to offer consumers new, online services through Oval Money’s app.

Here are the finalists for The Europas Awards 2018, July 3, London

The Europas Awards and Unconference for tech and crypto startups will be held on July 3, in London. Tickets are selling fast, so grab yours here to mingle with the cream of Europe’s startups, VCs and entrepreneurs. The event is run in association with TechCrunch, and all attendees get first access to offers for TechCrunch events later this year.

We have some amazing speakers coming, panels and breakout sessions, and even a way to get your ticket for free.

The public online voting, running for the last month, and the Europas Advisory Board of judges have submitted their results. The two have been merged and we now have our finalists. The winners will be revealed on the night.

A huge thanks to our awesome sponsors so far:
Fieldhouse Associates
JAG Shaw Baker
IoT Tribe
Outlier Ventures
Malta Blockchain Summit
Burlington PR
Colombus Capital

If there are any last minute requests to sponsor the awards and get in front of the best of Europe, you can email [email protected]

The Europas will take place at a ridiculously cool London venue, The Brewery, in the heart of London’s ‘Tech City’.

Below you will find lots more information, but for now, here are our finalists for the awards, all of whom are listed on Crunchbase should you require more information.

Hottest Media/Entertainment Startup
Hatch Entertainment

Hottest E-commerce/Retail Startup
bloom and wild
Eve (Mattress)

Hottest FinTech Startup
YoYo Wallet
Starling Bank

Hottest Games Startup
Small Giant Games
DOJO Madness
Bossa Studios
Space Ape Games

Hottest Startup Accelerator
Entrepreneur First
CyLon (Cyber London)
Startup Bootcamp
Techstars London
Founders Factory
IOT Tribe

Hottest Marketing/AdTech Startup

Hottest Education Startup
Aula Education

Hottest Mobile Startup

Hottest Enterprise, SaaS or B2B Startup
Signal Media
Charlie HR

Hottest Hardware Startup
Kano Computing

Hottest Platform Economy / Marketplace
Glovo App

Hottest Health Startup
Ada Health
Touch Surgery

Hottest Cyber Security Startup
Argus Cyber
Vchain Technology
APERIO Systems
Digital Shadows

Hottest Travel & Mobility Startup

Hottest Internet of Things Startup
HUB Controls

Hottest Technology Innovation
Bragi (The Dash)

Hottest FashionTech Startup

Hottest Tech For Good
Open Bionics

Hottest A.I. Startup
Black Swan Data
Benovolent AI

Fastest Rising Startup Of The Year

Hottest GreenTech Startup of The Year
Viva Labs

Hottest Startup Founders
Jutta Steiner, Polkadot
Sriram Subramanian, Tom Carter, Ultrahaptics
Joel Gibbard + Samantha Payne, Open Bionics
Sean Murray, Hello Games
Anna Alex + Julia Bosch, Outfittery
Jasmine Anteunis Co-founder,

Hottest CEO of the Year
Nicole Eagan, Darktrace
Taavet Hinrinkus and Kristo Käärmann CEOs & Co-founders, TransferWise
Demis Hassabis, CEO & Founder, DeepMind
John Earner, CEO, Space Ape Games
Pieter van der Does, Adyen
Ismail Ahmed, World Remit

Best Angel/Seed Investor of the Year
Scott Sage
Reshma Sohoni and Carlos Eduardo Espinal, Seedcamp
Nic Brisbourne, Forward Partners
Taavet Hinrikus
Sarah Turner
Simon Murdoch

Hottest VC Investor of the Year
Pär-Jörgen Pärson, Northzone
Christian Hernandez, Whitestar Capital
Sonali De Ryker, Accel Partners
Eileen Burbidge, Passion Capital
Robert Moffat, Balderton Capital
Saul Klein, LocalGlobe

Hottest Blockchain/Crypto Startup Founder
Jez San, FunFair
Alexander Ivanov, Waves
Julien Bouteloup, Flying Carpet
Balazs Deme, Herdius
Mona El Isa, Melonport

Hottest Blockchain Protocol Project
Aragon – Berlin – – Zug, Switzerland –

Hottest Blockchain DApp
Codex Protocol
Flying Carpet

Hottest Corporate Blockchain Project
Lufthansa / Winding Tree ICO
EU / European Blockchain Partnership
EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum
IBM + Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Société Générale and UniCredit
Hyperledger (Linux Foundation)

Hottest Blockchain Investor (Europe)
Blueyard Capital
Outlier Ventures
Fabric Ventures,
Kenetic Capital

Hottest Blockchain ICO (Europe)

Hottest Financial Crypto Project

Hottest Blockchain for Good Project
United Nations (UN) Jordan ethereum project
ID Box

Hottest Blockchain Identity Project

The Europas Grand Prix Award

Pan-European seed fund firstminute hits a final fund close of $100M

New UK early stage VC firstminute Capital launched in June last year to the tune of $60m, with Atomico Ventures as it’s first cornerstone investor. They were joined by 30 unicorns founders form Europe. Last September they brought in the huge China-based company, Tencent, reaching a fund size of $85m.

Today firstminute capital, the London-based pan-European seed fund announced a final close of $100m, and detailed its first batch of early-stage investments made since September.

Two institutional investors have now joined. Henkel, the €60bn publicly-listed FMCG giant, is making its first investment into a European seed fund, and Lombard Odier, one of Europe’s largest private banks, also joins.

The fund has three partners: Brent Hoberman CBE, Spencer Crawley and Henry Lane-Fox. Hoberman is chairman and co-founder of Founders Factory, a corporate-backed incubator/accelerator based in London, and also of Founders Forum, a series of invitation-only, but influential annual global events for leading entrepreneurs. He co-founded in April 1998, and sold to Sabre for $1.1bn in 2005. Crawley is co-founder and General Partner was previously Business Development at AppDirect (a San Francisco-based cloud commerce platform provider, backed by Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital, latest valuation $1bn+), Investment Associate at DMC Partners (Goldman Sachs spin-out Special Opportunities fund), and Analyst in the Moscow office of Goldman Sachs. Lane-Fox is a partner at Founders Forum, Co-founder and CEO of Founders Factory, Co-founder of, and previously part of the founding team of

Hoberman said: “We’re excited to reach a significant milestone for firstminute, that helps us continue to support the most ambitious entrepreneurs globally. The latest investors to get behind the fund further increase our ability to have real impact, and we are buoyed by the rapid progress our portfolio founders are making. With our young and hard-working investment team, and our invaluable venture partners, we are hopeful that we can make our brand promise – of aspiring to be Europe’s most helpful seed fund – a reality. We were aiming to raise $60m for our first fund, and so to have closed our first fund at $100m is a strong signal for European technology.”

The link to Founders Forum is not insignificant. Hoberman curates an eclectic mix of founders investors and new entrepreneurs which has allowed him to tap a wide range of enthusiastic investors to his fund. These include the co-founders of, Supercell, Skyscanner, Trulia, Skype, Autonomy, Betfair,, BlaBlaCar, Qunar, Carphone Warehouse, Datamonitor, PartyGaming, Tradex Technologies, Net-a-Porter, Capital One Bank, Fox Kids Europe, Webhelp, Airtel, PartyGaming and others, alongside other successes such as Marketshare, Ticketbis, Nordeus and LoveFilm. Tommy Stadlen, author, former Obama campaign speechwriter and co-founder of Swing, which exited to Microsoft, is both an investor in firstminute and a venture partner.

firstminute says it has a European focus – with the flexibility to follow local lead funding events in the US and Israel – and says its typically plans to invest $1m into seed-stage businesses.

There will be a sector agnostic remit for the fund, but wil take a particular interest in Robotics, vertical AI, Healthtech, Blockchain, SaaS, Cyber, Gaming and D2C.

The fund also released more details of its portfolio companies to date including:

• Cambridge self-driving start-up Wayve
/> • Fuel delivery business Zebra
• Wireless charging platform Chargifi
• ICO exchange Templum (which has raised an additional $10m).

Firstminute says three of its portfolio have raised subsequent rounds within 6 months of firstminute’s investment.

The geographic spread of their 17 investments to-date has been UK, Germany, Portugal and Israel, as well as four investments in the US.

Family offices also feature heavily in the fund.

These include the JCDecaux family (€6bn market cap business), Baron Davies of Abersoch (former Labour minister and Standard Chartered CEO & Chairman), Sir Paul Ruddock (former CEO of Lansdowne Partners and Chairman of Oxford University’s Endowment) and Alex de Carvalho (founder of and Heineken non-executive director).

Firstminute is also now introducing its full-time operating team consisting of six investors: Lina Wenner (Cambridge, BCG), Camilla Mazzolini (OLX, Berenberg), Elliot O’Connor (founder of Code at Uni), Sam Endacott (Goldman Sachs), Anais Benazet (Founders Forum) and Clara Lindh (former freelance journalist).

Finally, three venture partners complete the set-up. Steve Crossan, formerly of DeepMind and Google and co-founder & CTO of, currently also an XIR at Atomico; Arek Wylegalski, formerly of Index Ventures in London, and currently exploring opportunities in the blockchain space; and Tommy Stadlen.

Saul Klein joins TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin, tickets on sale now

TechCrunch Disrupt is coming back to Berlin this winter, and you can already buy tickets. It will feature technologists, investors, entrepreneurs and media outlets; Startup Alley, where over 400 pre-Series A companies exhibit; Startup Battlefield, our premier startup pitch competition where a curated group of tech’s top early-stage startups will compete for the $50,000 grand prize, the coveted Disrupt Cup and intense media and investor interest.

Disrupt Berlin will feature workshops, world-class networking and after-parties. It’s time to place buying Disrupt Berlin tickets at the top of your priority list. Our two-for-one Innovator pass promotion goes live in just 48 hours with a limited number of passes, and it won’t last long. Sign up today.

We’re also beginning to announce our first speakers, and we’re delighted that Saul Klein, Founding Partner at Localglobe, will be joining us.

Localglobe is a new-ish seed fund focussed on helping London’s great most ambitious founders build game-changing businesses. Previously, Saul was a Partner at Index Ventures from 2007 until May 2015. In 2012 David Cameron appointed Saul to be the UK’s first tech envoy to Israel and a Technology Business Ambassador.

Saul is a serial entrepreneur with two decades of experience building and exiting companies in the US, Israel and Europe. He has a passion for working with seed and early-stage businesses. Most recently Saul co-founded Kano and Seedcamp, as well as a co-founder and original CEO of Lovefilm International (acquired by Amazon). He was also part of the original executive team at Skype (acquired by eBay).

Tradeshift fires-up blockchain to address late payment problem

While the cryptocurrency world continues to swirl around in a daze of troughs and highs, startups are continuing to make use of the fundamental underlying strengths of blockchain technology.

A new entrant in this race is Tradeshift, a leading players in supply-chain payments and marketplaces, which is today launching its new service which enables supports blockchain-based finance, or writing all transactions to a public ledger in order to create transparency and securing a record.

While this doesn’t involve the use of currencies like actual Bitcoin or Ethereum, “having the transactions on a public ledger ensures full transparency and the ability for companies to prove that they have legit transactions,” says CEO and cofounder Christian Lanng.

SO what this all means is that Tradeshift’s cloud platform will bring supply chain payments, supply chain finance, and blockchain-based early payments together into one unified end-to-end solution, called “Tradeshift Pay”.

They are aiming at a $9 trillion problem, which is the capital trapped in “accounts receivable” as a result of old-fashioned payment practices and the disconnection between large business buyers and their suppliers.

In other words, this could be a boon for small suppliers who find it hard to get paid when their invoices aren’t mapped to a ledger as strong as a blockchain.

With this single unified wallet, buyers can use several payment options, including virtual card payments of invoices and purchase orders, dynamic discounting, supply chain finance through bank partners, or blockchain-based payments.

Our second round of judges for the TC Startup Battlefield Europe at VivaTech

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield will be held at VivaTech in Paris on May 24th. We want to find the best early-stage startup from across continental Europe, ahead of TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin. The best way to do that is to bring some fantastic investors and founders along to judge the startups. Here’s our second round of judges to be announced, and there’s more to come!

Ophelia Brown, Founder, Blossom Capital
Ophelia is the founder of Blossom Capital, an early stage venture fund that brings a wholly differentiated approach to investing. Blossom makes a small number of high conviction investments each year, which allows the team to work closely with their companies, helping them achieve their ambitious goals. Fascinated by user behaviour and design, Ophelia loves worked with founders with strong product DNA and design-oriented teams. Ophelia is also the founder of ALT “Ambitious Ladies in Tech” – a mentor programme that matches junior women in technology start-ups with senior functional leaders to provide them with valuable coaching, skills development and networking. The network includes executives from some of the world’s leading tech companies like Amazon, Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Uber and many more. Previously Ophelia was a GP at LocalGlobe and a principal at Index Ventures where she led investments into a number of outstanding companies like Typeform and Robinhood.

Alexis Houssou, President & Co-founder, Hardware Club
Former entrepreneur and financier, Alexis started Hardware Club in 2015 with a mission to support the best hardware startups worldwide using collaboration and network effects. Through its unique $30M community-based fund, Hardware Club invests in hardware startups in Europe and in the US at seed stage. Alexis took part in launching several novel initiatives like the Hello Tomorrow Summit and the accelerator The Family. He also sits on the boards of companies including Remedee Labs, Reach Robotics, Aryballe and Keecker. Passionate about how tech can create impact on communities, Alexis regularly mentors startups in various programs including Techstars and StartupBootCamp. He is a graduate of EM Lyon Business School.

Raffi Kamber, Partner, Alvin Capital
Raffi joined Alven in 2011. He started his career as an engineer, joining Bouygues Telecom where he worked on core data networks. Priorto joining Alven, he was part of the venture capital team of the Parisian office of Gimv, a pan-European fund where he focused on tech investments. He graduated from Ensimag and holds an MBA from Insead.

Sébastien Groyer, Partner, Seventure Partners
Biotech engineer, Phd in philosophy on capitalism, Sébastien started his career as a VC more than 15 years ago at CDC-Entreprises. He co-founded the venture arm of Masseran Gestion (Groupe Caisses d’Epargne) in 2008, managing FCPIs and investing in the life sciences sector. Masseran Gestion merged which Seventure Partners in 2012. He then became a Partner in life sciences at Seventure. Sébastien has invested in more than 30 companies and is currently board member of Balyo, Global Bioenergies, Eligo, Domain Therapeutics, Skinjay.

Francesca Warner, Venture Advisor and CEO & Co-founder, Seraphim Capital
Francesca (known as Check) is a Venture Advisor at Seraphim Capital, the only Global Space Tech fund, investing £3-5m in the Space Ecosystem, including in companies like Spire and IceEye. Prior to joining Seraphim Capital, Check spent two and a half years at Downing Ventures, investing in over 30 early-stage technology businesses, with a focus on consumer health and deep technology. Before moving into Venture, Check worked for the global agency, AMV BBDO. She graduated from Corpus Christi, Cambridge, with a first class degree in 2012. Check is the co-founder and CEO of Diversity VC, the world’s first non-profit dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in Venture Capital. In May 2017, Diversity VC produced the first ever study on the number of women in VC, in partnership with the BVCA. Diversity VC’s work was highlighted in the UK Government’s November 2017 budget.

ConsenSys Ventures invests in six companies and launches its Accelerator

ConsenSys Ventures, the venture arm of the ConsenSys Ethereum blockchain powerhouse, has invested in a new round of five companies and is today formally launching its Accelerator.

The five companies were invested in with a “combination of equity and tokens together. It was a unique termsheet created by Consensys Ventures in accordance with the SEC rules,” according to Kavita Gupta (pictured), the founding managing partner of ConsenSys and the lead on their Blockchain focused fund which is investing in an Ethereum powered “Web 3.0” startups.

She went on to elaborate to me on the thinking behind these investments: “It’s very important for us to invest into companies that both embody the ethos of decentralization while also pushing the Ethereum ecosystem forward. In this crop of investments, you can see projects that represent the globalization of financial systems on blockchain (Cryptomarket), create innovative solutions to bring institutions into the space (Virtuoso) bring power and monetization back to artists (Dada), democratize the ability to participate in the proof of stake (Rocket Pool) and show the bright minds of traditional tech who are now choosing to bring Ethereum mobile (Vault).”

ConsenSys’ Accelerator is also coming out of the gate too, as, Gupta says, to “connect the traditional Web 2.0 world with the technically complex Ethereum ecosystem.”

The 8week accelerator program will see a cohort of 8-10 projects work towards building an MVP and work towards raising a successful round of pre-seed/seed funding.

The program will bring on advisors from traditional 21st-century technology unicorns like Google/Uber/Fb/Salesforce etc. and combine their expertise with the talent and Ethereum know-how at ConsenSys. The program will feature hands-on education, mentorship, open office hours and will feature demo days both in the US and Europe.

Here’s quick overview of next 5 companies Consensys Ventures has invested in, in their own words:

“Founded by the team behind TrueEx – the leading electronic interest rate swap platform – Virtuoso is building a cryptocurrency exchange that will support ether futures, creating a more robust Ethereum trading market for institutional investors.”

“Ink is a decentralized reputation and payment protocol looking to bring transferrable reputation to P2P marketplaces founded by Gee Chuang. It is live on the Listia platform and plans to expand to other P2P marketplaces where lack of reputation is a major driver for centralization.”

“Vault is a secure wallet and dApp discovery platform for your mobile device, founded by ex-Facebook employee John Egan and his team. The team launched Vault after looking into wallet options, and feeling frustrated from a usability standpoint, specifically as they explored mobile options. Vault is focused on building out two primary features in the short term: 1) the best and most user friendly mobile wallet and 2) a dApp browser.”

Rocket Pool
Rocket Pool is a next-generation Ethereum Proof of Stake pool for Casper, currently in Alpha and based in Australia. Started by David Rugendyke, Rocket Pool allows individuals and businesses to stake as little as .1 ether and avoid extensive withdrawal times and gain exposure to Ethereum’s move to Proof-of-Stake.

“CryptoMKT is a Latin American based Ethereum exchange and leader in Chile and Argentina, and are expanding to be a leader in other South American markets. Founded by Rafael Meruane and Martin Jofre, the team has bootstrapped to-date and have traded over $30M in ETH over the last year.”

“DADA is a social network for digital art where people interact with digital drawings founded by Beatriz Ramos. Currently, DADA offers a collection of 100 limited edition digital drawings (all made within the DADA platform via the provided drawing tools) which is available for purchase with Ether via the MetaMask wallet. Each digital artwork available for purchase is tokenized, with each token representing ownership over a copy of the drawing. DADA’s goal is to allow artists to have full control over their work and earn a universal basic income from their work.”

Hollywood producer plans to incentivise content viewers with tokens

With so much controversy swirling around the advertising-driven business models typified by Facebook and Google, and the increasing rigours of regulations like GDPR, it’s no wonder the Blockchain world is starting to whet its appetite at the prospect of paying users for attention with crypto assets.

Now a company involved in the production of Hollywood blockbusters featuring the likes of James Franco, Selena Gomez, Alec Baldwin, Heidi Klum and Al Pacino is backing a new startup to reward viewers in this manner.

Hollywood producer, Andrea Iervolino (best known for backing the James Franco film “In Dubious Battle” based on the novel by the Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck) has decided to enter the fray by launching a new blockchain platform called TaTaTu. The startup’s aim is to bring a social, crypto economy to the entertainment industry.

Iervolino says the platform ill allows users to get rewarded for the content they watch and share with others through the use of crypto tokens. Of course, whether it can actually pull that off remains to be seen. Many other startups are trying to play in this space. But where Iervolino might just have an edge is in his Hollywood connections.

The idea is that the TaTaTu token can also be used by advertisers to run their ads on the platform. Organisations will also be able to earn tokens by uploading content to the platform. The more content an organisation brings to the platform, the more revenue they earn. TaTaTu aims to show ads to viewers and will even share advertising revenues with them in return for their attention.

But it doesn’t stop there. Users are supposed to invite their friends via their social media to join TaTaTu, and then watch and create videos that can be shared with friends, chat with other members, and share the content they like. TaTaTu will give its users the possibility to be rewarded for their social entertainment activity. TaTaTu plans to not only movies and videos, but also music, sports, and games. So this is quite a grand vision which, frankly, will be tricky to pull off outside of perhaps just sticking to one vertical like movies. This is like trying to do YouTube and Netflix at the same time, on a blockchain. Good luck with that.

But Iervolino is putting his money where his mouth is. The AMBI Media Group, a consortium of vertically integrated film development, production, finance and distribution companies (which counts End of Watch, Apocalypto, and The Merchant of Venice among its title) and which he co-runs with Monaco-based businesswoman Lady Monika Bacardi, is said to have put in $100M via a token pre-sale.

Building the platform will be CTO Jonathan Pullinger who started working in the Bitcoin space in late 2012, developing crypto mining software and building mining rigs. Since then he has worked on several Blockchain projects, including Ethereum smart contracts (ERC-20 tokens and other solidity based solutions), Hyperledger, Fabric, the Waves Platform and lightning nodes.

Our first round of judges for the TC Startup Battlefield Europe at VivaTech

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield is headed to VivaTech in Paris on May 24th to find and feature the best early-stage startup across Europe! In partnership with VivaTech, Startup Battlefield Europe will feature startups from across continental Europe working on the cutting-edge technologies blooming this Spring. VivaTech is the perfect spot to host our Startup Battlefield Europe competition as founders, business leaders, investors, academics, students, and media from Europe and around the world will descend on Paris to preview the future.

So, we are bringing some fantastic investors and founders along to judge the startups. Here’s our first round of judges to be announced, and there’s more to come!

Sia Houchangnia, Seedcamp
Sia is a Partner at Seedcamp, the European seed fund that has invested in over 250 groundbreaking startups including the likes of fintech unicorn Transferwise, Revolut, UiPath and wefox. Sia sources world-class founders for Seedcamp to invest from across the continent and supports portfolio companies as they go from pre-seed to Series A and beyond. Sia has a pan-European background, growing up in Switzerland before then studying in Spain and the UK. He holds a MSc in International Management from ESADE Business School. Before joining Seedcamp, he gained experience crunching numbers and analysing data in large financial services companies such as EY and UBS Asset Management. Sia has invested in hundreds of companies at pre-seed and seed stages across Seedcamp’s diverse portfolio and has a particular interest in Fintech, blockchain and more generally businesses that smartly leverage data to shake up large, old-fashioned industries. In 2018, Forbes included Sia in its “30 Under 30 Europe” list in the category finance.

Mounia Rkha, ISAI
Mounia started her career in the VC industry in 2008 with Ventech. She moved in 2011 to Morocco to co-found and manage Mydeal, one of the first group buying sites in Maghreb. Back to Paris, she joined Schibsted Growth, the corporate venture fund of the Schibsted Group (owner of the successful classifieds site LeBonCoin). She joined ISAI in june 2015 to manage the Seed Club activity. Mounia is also a co-founder of StartHer, an organization that aims at promoting entrepreneurship by women.

Jean de La Rochebrochard, Kima Ventures
In charge of Kima Ventures, the venture capital arm of Xavier Niel (founder of Free, 42, Station F). Investing in about 100 new startups every year, managing a portfolio of 600+ companies to date. Board Member at Zenly, Sourced, Ibanfirst, Forest Admin, Payfit and Side.

Rouven Dresselhaus, Cavalry Ventures
Rouven Dresselhaus is Founding and Managing Partner of Cavalry Ventures. He has a deep understanding of the digital economy and simultaneously, Rouven possesses strong ties to the old economy as he grew up closely connected to his family’s business, Dresselhaus GmbH & Co KG, one of the largest providers of screws and fastening parts in Europe. Other than taking the Founders Pledge, he is an avid supporter of and donor for YUNUS Social Business to generate sustainable social impact. Further, Rouven is a regular speaker on several important events and conferences such as Heureka, Wolves Summit, NGIN Mobility, IdeaLab!, EBSpreneurship Forum and the Familienunternehmer-Kongress. He is also a mentor at a number of different accelerator programs like Techstars, Techstars, next logistics accelerator and the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator. Prior to Cavalry, Rouven invested privately in more than 35 startups worldwide.

Alice Zagury, The Family
Alice Zagury is co-founder and CEO of TheFamily, a company dedicated to supporting and promoting the startup ecosystem in France. Passionate about art and a graduate from business school, she did art gallery internships before meeting tech entrepreneurs. She understands that the creators of technological solutions are the ones who will be able to impact and change the world. Alice Zagury is passionate about the tech world and created the Le Camping incubator. In 2013, she founded The Family with Oussama Ammar and Nicolas Colin. To date, The Family has supported more than 350 startups, whose total value exceeds one billion euros.