Submit your application to TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018

If there’s one thing we learned hosting last year’s Startup Battlefield in Kenya, it’s that the tech startup scene across Africa is both impressive and growing rapidly. More than 300 tech hubs connect and mentor entrepreneurs across the continent — making it an exciting time and place to be a startup.

And we can’t wait to see even more of Sub-Saharan Africa’s best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs compete in TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria on December 11. If you haven’t applied yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Submit your application right here and launch your early-stage startup to the world.

We’re searching for the best of the best, and our expert TechCrunch editors will review every eligible application and select up to 15 companies to compete — keep reading for important specifics on who may apply. Among other criteria, the editors will look closely at a startup’s potential to produce an exit or IPO.

Those highly experienced editors will also provide team founders with free and extensive pitch coaching. You might be nervous when the time comes to walk onstage to pitch your company, but trust us — you’ll be ready.

Up to five startups will compete in one of three preliminary rounds, where they’ll have six minutes to pitch and present their demo to a panel of judges composed of entrepreneurs, technologists and VCs (recruited by our editors), all experts in their categories. Following each pitch, the judges have six minutes to ask the tough questions. The judges then choose five startups to pitch again — to a different set of judges.

One of those five startups will be named the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 champion and take home the grand prize: US$25,000 in no-equity cash, plus a trip for two to compete in Startup Battlefield in San Francisco at our flagship event, TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 (assuming the company still qualifies to compete at the time).

All participating teams reap the benefits that come with broad exposure to a live audience filled with media, influential technologists, entrepreneurs and investors — it can be a life-changing experience.

Here’s what you need to know about eligibility. Startups should:

  • Be early-stage companies in “launch” stage
  • Be headquartered in one of our eligible countries*
  • Have a fully working product/beta that’s reasonably close to, or in, production
  • Have received limited press or publicity to date
  • Have no known intellectual property conflicts
  • Apply by September 3, 2018, at 5 p.m. PST

Want even more details? Read our TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 FAQ.

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 takes place in Lagos, Nigeria on December 11. Don’t miss your opportunity to launch your startup to the world. Apply right here today. We can’t wait to see what you’ve created!

*Residents in the following countries may apply:

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the foregoing language, the “Applicable Countries” does not include any country to or on which the United States has embargoed goods or imposed targeted sanctions.

24 hours left to apply to Startup Battlefield Latin America

The clock is ticking: only 24 hours left to submit your application to compete in the first TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Latin America on November 8, 2018, in São Paulo, Brazil. Is your startup one of Latin America’s best? If so, don’t waste another minute. Apply right here, right now before the 24-hour clock runs out. Don’t miss your chance to launch your early-stage startup on a global stage. Apply no later than August 13, 2018, at 5 p.m. PST.

The winning founders receive a $25,000 non-equity cash prize and a trip for two to the next TechCrunch Disrupt. While there, they can exhibit free of charge in the Startup Alley.

All Startup Battlefield competitors — win or lose — reap the benefits of broad exposure to the media outlets and investors sitting in the audience. Plus, we video all the Startup Battlefield sessions and post them on TechCrunch.com. That exposure lives on long after the competition ends.

All competing teams also become part of our Startup Battlefield alumni community. Since 2007, more than 750 companies have competed in Startup Battlefield. Those companies — including Mint, Dropbox, Yammer, Fitbit, Getaround and Cloudflare — have collectively raised more than $8 billion in funding and produced more than 100 exits.

Here’s how the competition works. TechCrunch editors will evaluate every eligible application and select 15 founders to compete in the Battlefield, which takes place at São Paulo’s Tomie Ohtake Institute. Founders receive intensive — and free — pitch coaching from TechCrunch editors and will be primed and ready to go come game day.

During three preliminary rounds, five startups per round will each have six minutes to pitch and present their demo before a panel of top investors and seasoned entrepreneurs. The judges have six minutes following each pitch for a thorough Q&A. Only five teams advance to the finals for another round of pitching and more probing questions. And only one team will emerge as the first Startup Battlefield Latin America champion.

Here’s what you need to know about eligibility. Founders must meet these requirements:

  • Have an early-stage company in “launch” stage
  • Be headquartered in one of these countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela; (Central America) Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama; (Caribbean — including dependencies and constituent entities) Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico
  • Have a fully working product/beta reasonably close to, or in, production
  • Have received limited press or publicity to date
  • Have no known intellectual property conflicts
  • Apply by August 13, 2018, at 5 p.m. PST

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Latin America takes place on November 8, 2018, in São Paulo, Brazil. You have everything to gain by applying, but time is running out: You only have 24 hours left to apply by the deadline of August 13, 2018, at 5 p.m. PST. Show us what you’ve got: Apply here right now.

Students and mentors: Apply for the all-new TC Include program at Disrupt SF with #BUILTBYGIRLS

We’re going all out for this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt SF (September 5-7), which means more fantastic content, more of the most influential startup and tech leaders and tons of networking. As such, we are expanding our TC Include program at Disrupt SF and partnering with #BUILTBYGIRLS to host an engaging day full of interactive programming for even more students who are interested in tech and entrepreneurship. In the past we’ve worked with organizations like BUILD.orgNetwork for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)the Academy for Software EngineeringNYC Foundation for Computer Science Education, The Young Women’s Leadership Schools of the Bronx & AstoriaRed Hook InitiativeMission BitThe Urban Assembly Maker Academy and The Girls’ Network to bring small groups of students to Disrupt.

This year we are inviting up to 200 young women ages 15-22 to participate in our day-long TC Include program at Disrupt SF on Friday, September 7. Just like in past programs, students will get to have a Q&A session with a Disrupt SF speaker, go on a tour of Startup Alley with a TechCrunch staffer and have some free time to check out all of the great talks, workshops and other content that will be happening throughout Moscone West.

On top of that, #BUILTBYGIRLS is giving students an exclusive opportunity to meet and interact with several established leaders in tech through a small-scale version of WAVE, 1:1 matching platform. #BUILTBYGIRLS WAVE connects high school and college girls interested in pursuing tech careers with expert professionals working for top tech companies across the country. Advisors meet these girls monthly, sharing their career journey and expertise to give young women the exposure, skills and network they need to land their dream job.

At Disrupt, students will get a mini version of WAVE, meeting 1:1 with Silicon Valley’s top tech talent, receiving direct access to professionals who will help build upon their knowledge of the limitless opportunities for a career in tech.

To be eligible to participate as a student, you must be between ages 15-22. Anyone aged 15-17 will also be required to provide a signed permission form from your legal guardian prior to participating in the event. You do not need to be a young woman to participate in the TC Include program at Disrupt SF, but please note that the #BUILTBYGIRLS WAVE portion will only be available for young women and gender non-binary students to participate. Apply to participate as a student today.

If you are interested in possibly participating as a WAVE Advisor, you can apply here.

We hope to see you at Disrupt SF. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at [email protected]

Apply now to be a TC Top Pick at Disrupt Berlin 2018

Disrupt Berlin 2018, which takes place November 29-30, practically oozes with opportunity. And there’s no better way to take advantage of all that opportunity than to exhibit your early-stage startup in Startup Alley. It’s where hundreds of Europe’s most innovative pre-Series A companies showcase to the world their tech products, platforms and services.

Oh, wait, there is a better way. You can apply to be a TechCrunch Top Pick. If you earn that rarified designation, you score a FREE Startup Alley Exhibitor Package. That lets you place your company in front of thousands of influential technologists, investors and potential collaborators and customers. Yup, free is always better. The application window closes on September 28. Don’t miss out — apply here today.

Our TechCrunch editors are mighty particular about choosing Top Picks. We’re looking for founders of exceptional startups, and we’ll vet each application carefully. This year, we’ll choose up to five startups to represent each of the following tech categories:

  • AI/Machine Learning
  • Blockchain
  • CRM/Enterprise
  • E-commerce
  • Education
  • Fintech
  • Healthtech/Biotech
  • Hardware, Robotics, IoT
  • Mobility
  • Gaming

Each TechCrunch Top Pick designee wins one Startup Alley Exhibitor Package, which includes a one-day exhibit space, three Disrupt Berlin Founder Passes, access to CrunchMatch (our free investor-to-startup matching platform), full use of the Startup Alley Exhibitor lounge, access to the Disrupt press list and a chance to be selected as one of the Startup Battlefield Wildcard Companies (and compete in our $50,000 startup-pitch competition).

You’ll also receive serious media attention, including a three-minute interview on the Showcase Stage with a TechCrunch editor, which we promote across our social media platforms. That kind of media exposure is the gift that keeps on giving — long after the conference ends.

Luke Heron, the CEO of TestCard.com, came to this conclusion about his experience in Startup Alley at Disrupt Berlin 2017. “If you’re a startup founder or an entrepreneur, exhibiting at Disrupt is a no-brainer.”

Now, imagine being able to exhibit there for free. Disrupt Berlin 2018 takes place November 29-30, and your deadline to apply to be a TC Top Pick is September 28. Come on — we can’t wait to see you in Berlin!

Only 24 hours left to apply for Startup Battlefield MENA 2018

Time is running out for the best entrepreneurial tech minds and makers across the Middle East and North Africa to compete in TechCrunch Startup Battlefield MENA 2018, which takes place in Beirut, Lebanon on October 3 at the Beirut Digital District. Applications to our premier startup-pitch competition close in just 24 hours. We’ve been traveling around the Middle East and North Africa meeting incredible entrepreneurs in the regional ecosystem and are excited to shine a light on the brilliant innovation happening there.

If you think your pre-Series A startup has what it takes to be named “the Middle East and North Africa’s Most Promising Startup,” don’t waste another minute. Apply right here, right now before the 24-hour clock runs out.

Why should you apply? Well, for starters, the winning team receives US$25,000 in no-equity cash and a trip for two to compete in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2019 (assuming the company still qualifies to compete at the time).

Then there’s the priceless exposure that comes from placing your startup smack dab in front of influential technologists, VCs and media. The life-changing potential is very real.

Plus, all participating founders — not just the ultimate winners — become part of the Startup Battlefield alumni network. This community consists of almost 750 companies that have collectively raised more than $8 billion in funding and produced more than 100 exits. Names like Mint, Dropbox, Yammer, TripIt, Getaround and Cloudflare. That’s some prime networking territory.

Here’s how the competition works. Our TechCrunch editors — who have a knack for identifying high-potential startups — will review all eligible applications, then select 15 pre-Series A startups to compete (more on eligibility in a minute). The founders of each Battlefield team receive free, expert pitch coaching from TechCrunch editors, so they’ll be prepared to step onstage and face a panel of four judges — consisting of top entrepreneurs, technologists and investors with relevant experience in each tech category.

Startup Battlefield MENA 2018 begins with three preliminary rounds — five startups per round will each have six minutes to pitch and present their live demo. The judges have six minutes following each pitch to ask rigorous questions. Thanks to all that free pitch coaching, you’ll be ready to answer them.

The judges choose five startups to go to the semi-finals for a second round of pitching to a different set of judges. The judges will confer and choose one winner to be the first Startup Battlefield MENA champion. Let the celebration begin!

Let’s talk eligibility. Here are the basic requirements that founders must meet:

  • Have an early-stage company in “launch” stage
  • Be headquartered in one of these eligible countries: Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Yemen
  • Have a fully working product/beta reasonably close to, or in, production
  • Have received limited press or publicity to date
  • Have no known intellectual property conflicts
  • Apply by August 6, 2018, at 9 p.m. PST

If you’re detail-oriented, read our Startup Battlefield MENA FAQ.

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield MENA 2018 takes place in Beirut, Lebanon on October 3. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. But you have only 24 hours left to apply. Time runs out on August 6 at 9 p.m. PSTApply here today.

Volunteer at Disrupt SF 2018 for free admission

Forking over your cold, hard cash isn’t the only way you can score a ticket to Disrupt San Francisco 2018 on September 5-7. We’re looking for volunteers willing to trade their time to help us produce our biggest, most ambitious Disrupt conference ever. And what do you get in return? One complimentary Innovator Pass that gives you access to all three days of Disrupt. Interested? Apply here to volunteer today.

This is a chance to attend the show without spending a dime while getting an up-close-and-personal look at what it takes to produce one of the most iconic startup events of the year. Whether you aspire to be a startup founder, marketer or event coordinator, this is a great way to see how it all gets done.

We’ll put you to work at a variety of tasks, which might include stuffing VIP goodie bags, assisting with registration, scanning tickets, directing attendees, placing signage or helping with pre-marketing efforts — any number of things to help make Disrupt SF 2018 an outstanding experience for everyone.

Here’s what you need to know (a.k.a., the fine print):

  • The deadline for volunteer applications is August 15.
  • You must attend a mandatory in-person orientation on Tuesday, September 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Moscone Center West.
  • You must be available to work up to 16 hours during the entire conference starting from September 4 (the day before the conference starts) to September 7. You’ll find volunteer shift availability in the application. We might select you for some pre-event opportunities, which would count toward your hours.
  • You must provide your own housing and transportation.
  • Due to the high volume of applications, we will notify only the selected applicants.

There you have it. Work exchange is an awesome way to attend Disrupt SF 2018 without spending money, to see what goes into producing an event this size, and to experience three program-packed days of tech-startup goodness. The deadline for volunteer applications is August 15. Apply right here. We appreciate the assist!

Fanatics exec chairman Michael Rubin to speak at Disrupt SF 2018

Even as the wealth of Jeff Bezos balloons and Amazon eats everyone’s online retail lunch, there are still a few other e-commerce entrepreneurs faring rather well.

In 2011, eBay purchased GSI Commerce for $2.4 billion, at the same time divesting wholly from the sports merchandise business in Fanatics and significantly from the sites ShopRunner and Rue La La, which together were set up under a new holding company named Kynetic that was put under the control of GSI CEO Michael Rubin.

Seven years later, Rubin is worth an estimated $3 billion from his online shopping empire that has dialed in on key niches thanks to high-profile partnerships rather than a spiderweb network of other retailers, a strategy the company is hoping will protect it from Amazon’s growing land grab.

Today, Fanatics helps leagues and teams sell their official sports merchandise directly to consumers.

The sports merchandising space relies heavily on partnerships with major organizations, and the MLB and NFL have both directly invested in Fanatics as a direct avenue for getting jerseys onto fans. In addition to selling gear, Fanatics is manufacturing much of it itself. The company acquired Majestic sportswear early last year, which has been behind much of the MLB’s merchandise for years, as it strikes to build out these operations.

How big of a business is all of this? Well, the company was valued at $4.5 billion one year ago, raising $1 billion from Softbank which, after betting big on Alibaba, is placing Fanatics as one of its strongest Vision Fund bets to be the next commerce hit.

Rubin will be joining us onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt to discuss his path as an entrepreneur and what’s next for his commerce empire. He will join other commerce-focused speakers, including executives from Glossier, Warby Parker and Adidas.

The full agenda is here. You can purchase tickets here.

Last day for Disrupt SF Virtual Hackathon submissions

If you’re still working on your submission to the first Virtual Hackathon at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2018 on September 5-7, then you’d best start praying to the caffeine gods and chug another Red Bull. The deadline you need to hit rolls in tonight, August 2 at midnight PST — no second chances on this one, folks. Give your coded creation a final round of tweaks and tests and then submit your hack right here.

Previous TechCrunch Hackathons lasted 24 hours, took place on-site, showcased incredible talent and generated some amazing winners, including:

  • Quick Insurance — the easiest way to purchase an insurance product for all your valuable stuff (Disrupt Berlin 2017)
  • Alexa Shop Assist — lets you ask Alexa where to find products in a store (Disrupt SF 2017)
  • reVIVE — a VR solution that provides both a diagnostic and treatment mechanism for ADHD (Disrupt NY 2017)

In this, our first, Virtual Hackathon, literally thousands of talented developers, programmers, hackers and tech makers from around the world have been hard at work since June to show how they’d creatively produce and apply technology to solve various challenges. We cannot wait to see what comes from their efforts.

Here’s how the judging works. We’ve recruited a top-notch panel of experts to review all eligible submitted hacks and rate them on a scale of 1-5. The 100 top-scoring teams each receive up to five Innovator Passes to TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018.

Out of that group, the top 30 teams will enter the semi-finals and get to demo their hack at Disrupt SF next month. The judges then select the best 10 teams, and they will present and demo their product on The Next Stage. One team will be crowned the first TC Disrupt Virtual Hackathon champion and take home the $10,000 grand prize.

In a classic, “but wait, there’s more” moment, our sponsors have created some incredible challenge hacks, and they’ve put plenty of cash and prizes on the table. We’re talking contests sponsored by Sony Pictures, United Airlines, BYTON, TomTom, Viond, HERE Mobility and Amazon. Check out the full listing.

The first Virtual Hackathon goes down at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2018 on September 5-7. And if you want a shot at winning anything, you have only a few more hours — tonight, August 2 at midnight PST — to submit your hack. It’s time to get ‘er done!

Just 24 hours until prices go up for Disrupt SF 2018 passes

A lot can happen in 24 hours. Just ask Jack Bauer, the hard-charging protagonist from the TV drama series 24. Seriously, he had to save the world every dang episode. All you have to do is buy your pass to Disrupt San Francisco 2018 before the prices go up in — you guessed it — 24 hours.

We want you to join us on September 5-7 at Moscone Center West, and we want you to get the best deal possible. You have until midnight PST on August 1 before the price hike hits. Depending on the pass you buy, you could save up to $1,200. Jack Bauer would take action, and so should you. Buy your ticket right now.

What can you expect at Disrupt SF 2018? Plenty, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But sometimes it helps to hear what your peers found most beneficial. For example, Vlad Larin, one of the founders of Zeroqode, shared his Disrupt experience with us.

“TechCrunch Disrupt was a massively positive experience,” said Larin. “It gave us the chance to show our technology to the world and have meaningful conversations with investors, accelerators, incubators, solo founders and developers.”

If you’re more interested in a VC’s point of view, here’s what early-stage investor Michael Kocan of New York-based Trend Discovery had to say.

“Attending Disrupt San Francisco helped me plug into that community and take the pulse of what’s going on,” he said. “It’s probably the best place for us to meet the most early-stage founders quickly, so that’s the biggest benefit for us.”

There’s plenty of programming to keep you happy as you search for opportunity. Don’t miss an incredible roster of speakers talking about the most pressing tech and investment issues of the day. And take a peek at the conference agenda while you’re at it.

Check out our first Virtual Hackathon — from thousands of submitted hacks, we’ll have the top 30 contenders showing their stuff at Disrupt SF.

You’ll find more than 1,200 startups and exhibitors in Startup Alley — along with the startups that earned a TechCrunch Top Pick designation. We have Top Picks in each of these categories: AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Biotech, Fintech, Gaming, Healthtech, Privacy/Security, Space, Mobility, Retail or Robotics.

And, of course, you don’t want to miss Startup Battlefield, the crown jewel of TechCrunch Disrupt. This year, we doubled the prize money to $100,000. The competition’s going to be intense!

Disrupt San Francisco 2018 takes place on September 5-7. You have only 24 hours left before the prices increase. If you leap into action now, you won’t save the world, but you will save some money. Buy your pass today.

Early-bird prices for Disrupt SF 2018 end in just four days

We extended our deadline for early-bird passes to Disrupt San Francisco 2018, which takes place on September 5-7, but your chance to save up to $1,200 is rapidly slipping away. In four days — that’s August 1 at midnight PST — the early bird heads north, and so do the ticket prices. Don’t miss out on the best pricing — buy your tickets today.

Disrupt San Francisco always packs tremendous value into three short days. What can you expect? You’ll always find world-class speakers at Disrupt, and this year that includes Clark Valberg, CEO of InVision, a company on its way to becoming the Salesforce of the design world. We’re also thrilled to have Brian Brackeen, CEO and founder of Kairos, an innovator in facial recognition. The Wall Street Journal named his company one of the top 25 startups in the country. And that’s just a taste. Check out the full agenda here.

Incomparable networking opportunities await the more than 10,000 attendees, and CrunchMatch — our free business match-making service that connects early-stage startup founders and investors who share similar business interests and profiles — cuts through the clutter, reduces unproductive conversations and saves a lot of shoe leather in the process.

Don’t miss more networking opportunities in Startup Alley. Our exhibition floor is the very heart of Disrupt SF, and it will feature more than 1,200 amazing early-stage startups and exhibitors showcasing a startling range of technological innovation, with a particular emphasis on these buzzing categories: AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Biotech/Healthtech, Fintech, Gaming, Privacy/Security, Space, Mobility, Retail or Robotics/IoT.

We decided to do something special with our traditional Hackathon this year, and by that we mean we took it global. The Virtual Hackathon includes literally thousands of the world’s best tech-heads, coders, designers and programmers working feverishly to create incredible products. The best hack wins $10,000 and, thanks to our generous sponsors, we also have a bunch of very cool hack contests that offer thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.

Of course, no Disrupt is complete without the wild ride that we call Startup Battlefield. Our premier startup-pitch competition is the star of the show, and this year we doubled the stakes. An audience of thousands will watch as the best early-stage startups compete for $100,000 in non-equity cash and a potentially life-altering experience. This Startup Battlefield will be epic.

Opportunity, excitement, camaraderie and fun. It all goes down at Disrupt San Francisco 2018 on September 5-7. Don’t miss your chance to experience it at the lowest possible price. Depending on which type of pass you choose, you can save up to $1,200. Early-bird prices disappear in just four days on August 1 at midnight PST. Buy your tickets today.