Get your Disrupt Berlin 2018 passes before 24 October and save big

Great news, startup fans. You still have time to save up to €500 on your pass to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2018. Our premier tech conference focusing on the European startup scene takes place on 29-30 November, but the deadline for scoring passes at the best possible price arrives next week on 24 October.

What budget-minded early-startup founder, investor, marketer or job seeker wouldn’t want to reap that kind of savings? Be good to your bottom line. Buy your ticket now, and then pat yourself on the back for kicking procrastination to the curb.

Disrupt Berlin, a truly international event, draws participants — top international tech founders, innovators, influencers and investors — from more than 50 countries, including European Union members, Turkey, Russia, Egypt, India, China and South Korea. Whether you’re looking for global exposure for your startup or you’re scouting the world for your next big investment, Disrupt Berlin is where you need to be.

If you’re wondering about the professional benefits of attending Disrupt, take a gander at what these three attendees said about their experience.

“TechCrunch Disrupt is unique in how it brings everyone — all the industry touch points — together under one roof. You can meet investors and bigger players in your industry to see if there’s an opportunity to work together. It’s incredibly valuable.” — Sage Wohns, co-founder and CEO, Agolo.

“I was very pleasantly surprised at the number of early-stage startups in attendance. I spent probably 75 percent of my time having one-on-one meetings with startup founders.” — Michael Kocan, co-founder and managing partner, Trend Discovery.

“The exposure we received at TechCrunch Disrupt completely changed our trajectory and made it easier to raise funds and jump to the next stage.” — David Hall, co-founder and president, Park & Diamond.

Two action-packed days await you in Berlin. We have an incredible lineup of speakers — tech luminaries, business moguls, headline-making founders and leading investors — ready to share their experiences, expertise and perspectives on a range of hot-button topics.

The adrenaline trip that is Startup Battlefield never fails to disappoint. Be there to cheer on 15 of Europe’s top early-stage startups as they launch their dream to the world and compete for $50,000. You might just witness tech history in the making.

Take a deep dive into Startup Alley, where more than 400 early-stage startups — including companies that earned the coveted TC Top Pick designation — will exhibit their very latest technology. This is prime networking territory and an opportunity to meet your future founder, investor or technologist. A source of innovation and inspiration, Startup Alley is a must-see experience.

Of course, you’ll always find world-class networking going down in casual style at the infamous (OK, it might not be infamous, but it is wicked fun) TechCrunch After Party.

Disrupt Berlin 2018 takes place on 29-30 November. You can save up to €500, but only if you buy your pass before 24 October. Be good to your bottom line.

Did you score tickets to Startup Battlefield Africa 2018?

In just about two months, the TechCrunch crew will head to Lagos, Nigeria to host the day-long, action-packed Startup Battlefield Africa 2018. Come join us and watch the founders of Africa’s best early-stage tech startups compete for the glory, cash and investor love that only Startup Battlefield provides.

We have a limited number of spectator tickets available for the December 11 event, so don’t waste time — buy your ticket here today.

We’re not kidding when we call this an action-packed day. While the Battlefield pitch competition is the crown jewel, we’re also creating a slate of outstanding speakers who will hold forth on vital topics affecting the region.

Topics like venture capital investing, something that Kola Aina, CEO and founder of Lagos-based Ventures Platform, will be on hand to discuss. And if blockchain is your bag, you won’t want to miss hearing IIyinoluwa Aboyeji’s take on that subject. He’s the founder and CEO of Flutterwave, a Lagos-based payment solution startup designed to transfer funds between Africa and abroad.

If you haven’t heard, we recently announced that Omobola Johnson, a senior partner at TLcom Capital, and Lexi Novitske, the principal investment officer for Singularity Investments, will take part in a panel discussion. Keep an eye on TechCrunch, because we’ll be announcing even more speakers in the coming weeks.

Okay, let’s talk about the main event. Startup Battlefield consists of three preliminary rounds with up to five startups in each round. Each startup team gets six minutes to pitch and present a live demo to a panel of judges consisting of top tech founders and VCs. Those judges then have six minutes to question each team thoroughly.

No more than five teams move to the finals for another round of pitches and more probing inquisition. Only one startup will emerge victoriously and claim the title: Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 champion.

The winning founders receive US$25,000 in no-equity cash, plus a trip for two to compete in Startup Battlefield in San Francisco at TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 (assuming the company still qualifies to compete at the time).

Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 takes place on December 11 in Lagos, Nigeria. Don’t miss your chance to watch Africa’s most talented startup founders launch their dream on a global stage, learn about the exciting tech trends emerging across the continent and enjoy world-class networking while you’re at it. Buy your spectator tickets here.

CrunchMatch connects attendees at Disrupt Berlin 2018

On 29-30 November, thousands of early-stage startups across Europe and beyond will attend Disrupt Berlin 2018 and spend two program-packed days exhibiting and exploring the very latest in tech innovations. In a crowd that size, it helps to have a tool to find and connect with the right people.

That’s why we’re making our CrunchMatch platform available to all Disrupt Berlin attendees. Last year, our free business match-making service connected investors and founders to discuss potential funding opportunities based on similar goals and interests. Now CrunchMatch can help everyone network more efficiently.

We’re talking founders and investors looking to connect, developers in search of employment, founders hunting for collaborators or startups recruiting tech talent — the list goes on. CrunchMatch can save you valuable time and help you make valuable connections.

Luke Heron, CEO of TestCard, has first-hand experience with the power of CrunchMatch, which he used to secure meetings with multiple VCs at Disrupt Berlin 2017. Those connections, and the relationships he built, paid off.

In a recent email, Heron told us that TestCard “just closed $1.7 million in funding (which is thanks to you and your team, bless you!) You guys are fantastic — the lifeblood of the startup scene.”

And several founders who attended Disrupt San Francisco this past September used CrunchMatch and walked away from their meetings with term sheets.

Representing the investment point of view, here’s what Michael Kocan, managing partner at Trend Discovery, said about his CrunchMatch experience.

“It makes vetting deals extremely efficient. I scheduled more than 35 meetings with startups using CrunchMatch, and we made a significant investment in one, who came to our attention through Startup Battlefield.”

Ready to simplify your networking at Disrupt Berlin? Here’s what you need to know. When we open CruntchMatch, all registered attendees will receive an email explaining how to access the platform and fill out their profiles. Your profile spells out your role and the type of connections you want to make. CrunchMatch kicks into gear and makes suggested connections and then — subject to your approval — the platform handles all the scheduling details.

Disrupt Berlin 2018 takes place 29-30 November. Still need a ticket? Buy your pass right here. We can’t wait to see you in Berlin! And be sure to use the CrunchMatch advantage — it’s the most efficient way to find your people and fuel your dream.

We’re talking AR with Snap’s camera platform head at TC Sessions: AR/VR

For a lot of consumers, Pokémon GO wasn’t their first exposure to augmented reality — it was the dog-selfie lens inside Snapchat.

In the past few years, consumer use hasn’t evolved too heavily when it comes to what people are actually using AR for, even though technical capabilities have taken some giant leaps. Snap was an early leader, but now the industry is much more crowded with Apple, Google, Facebook and others all staffing up extensive teams focused on smartphone-based AR capabilities.

At our one-day TC Sessions: AR/VR event in LA on October 18, we’ll be chatting with Eitan Pilipski, the VP of Snap’s Camera Platform, a role that would seem to be pretty central to the long-term vision of a company that has long referred to itself as “a camera company.”

Snap has been throwing some updates to their developer tools as of late, especially for their Lens Studio product, which gives developers access to tools to create AR masks and experiences. There’s a lot of room to grow, and it will be interesting to see how much depth Snap can pull from these short experiences and whether it sees “lenses” evolving to bring users more straightforward utility in the near term.

The company hasn’t had the easiest bout as a public company lately, but it’s clear that it sees computer vision and augmented reality as key parts of the larger vision it hopes to achieve. At our LA event we’ll look to dive deeper into how they’re approaching these technologies and what it can bring consumers beyond a little added enjoyment.

As a special offer to TechCrunch readers, save 35 percent on $149 General Admission tickets when you use this link or code TCFAN. Student tickets are just $45 and can be booked here.

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield MENA 2018 takes place tomorrow

Last call, startup fans! Tomorrow we kick off the first TechCrunch Startup Battlefield MENA in Beirut, Lebanon. We sifted through more than 400 applications to find the 15 very best early-stage startups the Middle East and North Africa has to offer, and we want you in the audience to witness tech history in the making.

As if watching a Startup Battlefield competition isn’t exciting enough, we’ve worked a stellar list of speakers and dynamic workshops into the day-long mix. Interested in investing? Some of MENA’s leading investment firms will be in the house, including Outlierz Ventures, BeryTech Fund and Leap Ventures — to name just a few. See the full list of investment firms here.

If infrastructure and connectivity is more your thing, you’ll enjoy hearing Ogero Telecom’s Imad Kreidieh and Facebook’s Ari Kesisoglu discuss the impact of changes in the region’s telco industry.

You’ll gain perspective when Omar Gabr (Instabug), Nour Al Hassan (Tarjama), Mai Medhat (Eventtus) and Ameer Sherif (Wuzzuf) talk about the massive changes in MENA’s tech landscape over the last decade. And they’ll take a look at what challenges and opportunities lie ahead. Read the complete agenda here.

Now, about the main event. The 15 teams compete in three preliminary rounds — five startups per round. They have six minutes to pitch and present a live demo to our panel of judges — expert technologists and VC investors in their respective fields. An intensive Q&A follows each pitch.

Five teams move into the final round — to pitch a new panel of judges and endure another stress-inducing Q&A. From the five comes one champion. The first TechCrunch Startup Battlefield MENA champion.

To the winning founders go the spoils, including a $25,000 no-equity cash prize 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).

This full, action-packed event offers excitement, enlightenment and a tremendous opportunity to network with the most influential movers and shakers in the Middle East and North Africa.

If you have a ticket, you’re one of the lucky ones as we’re all sold out! Videos of the event will be posted approximately 2-3 business days after the conclusion of the event on techcrunch.com.

5 takeaways on the state of AI from Disrupt SF

The promise of artificial intelligence is immense, but the roadmap to achieving those goals still remains unclear. Onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, some of AI’s leading minds shared their thoughts on current competition in the market, how to ensure algorithms don’t perpetuate racism and the future of human-machine interaction.

Here are five takeaways on the state of AI from Disrupt SF 2018:

1. U.S. companies will face many obstacles if they look to China for AI expansion

Sinnovation CEO Kai-Fu Lee (Photo: TechCrunch/Devin Coldewey)

The meteoric rise in China’s focus on AI has been well-documented and has become impossible to ignore these days. With mega companies like Alibaba and Tencent pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into home-grown businesses, American companies are finding less and less room to navigate and expand in China. AI investor and Sinnovation CEO Kai-Fu Lee described China as living in a “parallel universe” to the U.S. when it comes to AI development.

“We should think of it as electricity,” explained Lee, who led Google’s entrance into China. “Thomas Edison and the AI deep learning inventors — who were American — they invented this stuff and then they generously shared it. Now, China, as the largest marketplace with the largest amount of data, is really using AI to find every way to add value to traditional businesses, to internet, to all kinds of spaces.”

“The Chinese entrepreneurial ecosystem is huge, so today the most valuable AI companies in computer vision, speech recognition, drones are all Chinese companies.”

2. Bias in AI is a new face on an old problem

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 07: (L-R) UC Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg, Google AI research scientist Timnit Gebru, UCOT founder and CEO Chris Ategeka and moderator Devin Coldewey speak onstage during Day 3 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 7, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

AI promises to increase human productivity and efficiency by taking the grunt work out of many processes. But the data used to train many AI systems often falls victim to the same biases of humans and, if unchecked, can further marginalize communities caught up in systemic issues like income disparity and racism.

“People in lower socio-economic statuses are under more surveillance and go through algorithms more,” said Google AI’s Timnit Gebru. “So if they apply for a job that’s lower status they are likely to go through automated tools. We’re right now in a stage where these algorithms are being used in different places and we’re not event checking if they’re breaking existing laws like the Equal Opportunity Act.”

A potential solution to prevent the spread of toxic algorithms was outlined by UC Berkeley’s Ken Goldberg who cited the concept of ensemble theory, which involves multiple algorithms with various classifiers working together to produce a single result.

We’re right now in a stage where these algorithms are being used in different places and we’re not even checking if they’re breaking existing laws.

But how do we know if the solution to inadequate tech is more tech? Goldberg says this is where having individuals from multiple backgrounds, both in and outside the world of AI, is vital to developing just algorithms. “It’s very relevant to think about both machine intelligence and human intelligence,” explained Goldberg. “Having people with different viewpoints is extremely valuable and I think that’s starting to be recognized by people in business… it’s not because of PR, it’s actually because it will give you better decisions if you get people with different cognitive, diverse viewpoints.”

3. The future of autonomous travel will rely on humans and machines working together

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (Photo: TechCrunch/Devin Coldewey)

Transportation companies often paint a flowery picture of the near future where mobility will become so automated that human intervention will be detrimental to the process.

That’s not the case, according to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. In an era that’s racing to put humans on the sidelines, Khosrowshahi says humans and machines working hand-in-hand is the real thing.

“People and computers actually work better than each of them work on a standalone basis and we are having the capability of bringing in autonomous technology, third-party technology, Lime, our own product all together to create a hybrid,” said Khosrowshahi.

Khosrowshahi ultimately envisions the future of Uber being made up of engineers monitoring routes that present the least amount of danger for riders and selecting optimal autonomous routes for passengers. The combination of these two systems will be vital in the maturation of autonomous travel, while also keeping passengers safe in the process.

4. There’s no agreed definition of what makes an algorithm “fair”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 07: Human Rights Data Analysis Group lead statistician Kristian Lum speaks onstage during Day 3 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 7, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Last July, ProPublica released a report highlighting how machine learning can falsely develop its own biases. The investigation examined an AI system used in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that falsely flagged black defendants as future criminals at a rate twice that of white defendants. These landmark findings set off a wave of conversation on the ingredients needed to build fair algorithms.

One year later AI experts still don’t have the recipe fully developed, but many agree a contextual approach that combines mathematics and an understanding of human subjects in an algorithm is the best path forward.

“Unfortunately there is not a universally agreed upon definition of what fairness looks like,” said Kristian Lum, lead statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group. “How you slice and dice the data can determine whether you ultimately decide the algorithm is unfair.”

Lum goes on to explain that research in the past few years has revolved around exploring the mathematical definition of fairness, but this approach is often incompatible to the moral outlook on AI.

“What makes an algorithm fair is highly contextually dependent, and it’s going to depend so much on the training data that’s going into it,” said Lum. “You’re going to have to understand a lot about the problem, you’re going to have to understand a lot about the data, and even when that happens there will still be disagreements on the mathematical definitions of fairness.”

5. AI and Zero Trust are a “marriage made in heaven” and will be key in the evolution of cybersecurity

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 06: (l-R) Duo VP of Security Mike Hanley, Okta executive director of Cybersecurity Marc Rogers and moderator Mike Butcher speak onstage during Day 2 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 6, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

If previous elections have taught us anything it’s that security systems are in dire need of improvement to protect personal data, financial assets and the foundation of democracy itself. Facebook’s ex-chief security officer Alex Stamos shared a grim outlook on the current state of politics and cybersecurity at Disrupt SF, stating the security infrastructure for the upcoming Midterm elections isn’t much better than it was in 2016.

So how effective will AI be in improving these systems? Marc Rodgers of Okta and Mike Hanley of Duo Security believe the combination of AI and a security model called Zero Trust, which cuts off all users from accessing a system until they can prove themselves, are the key to developing security systems that actively fight off breaches without the assistance of humans.

“AI and Zero Trust are a marriage made in heaven because the whole idea behind Zero Trust is you design policies that sit inside your network,” said Rodgers. “AI is great at doing human decisions much faster than a human ever can and I have great hope that as Zero Trust evolves, we’re going to see AI baked into the new Zero Trust platforms.”

By handing much of the heavy lifting to machines, cybersecurity professionals will also have the opportunity to solve another pressing issue: being able to staff qualified security experts to manage these systems.

“There’s also a substantial labor shortage of qualified security professionals that can actually do the work needed to be done,” said Hanley. “That creates a tremendous opportunity for security vendors to figure out what are those jobs that need to be done, and there are many unsolved challenges in that space. Policy engines are one of the more interesting ones.”

Last day to buy early-bird tickets for TC Sessions: AR/VR 2018

Holy smokes, TC Sessions: AR/VR 2018 is less than a month away, and it’s going to be an epic, day-long event. But listen up tech fans, the following reality is neither augmented nor virtual: our $99 early-bird ticket price — a 50 percent savings — ends today. If you want to join us in Los Angeles on October 18 at the lowest possible price, buy your ticket here today.

We’re also offering a special discount to students. You can buy your $45 ticket right here.

Looking to save even more money? Simply tweet your attendance through our ticketing platform, and you’ll save an extra 25 percent — for early-bird tickets — and 15 percent for student tickets.

What can you expect at TC Sessions: AR/VR 2018? An excellent question! We partnered with UCLA’s Anderson Venture Accelerator for a program-packed day featuring some of the world’s brightest minds in AR/VR. You’ll have ample opportunity for hands-on demos, deep-dive conversations, in-depth workshops — and time to network with influential, ground-breaking leaders in all realities augmented and virtual.

Here’s just a quick sampling of our speakers: Parham Aarabi, founder and CEO of ModiFace; Adam Arrigo, co-founder and CEO of TheWaveVR; and Cyan Banister, a partner at Founders Fund.

We have great presentations on tap, too. Hear Ashley Crowder (VNTANA), Shawn Frayne (Looking Glass Factory) and Brett Jones (Lightform) talk about using holograms to replace expensive headsets.

AR and VR — it’s not all fun and games. Derek Belch (STRIVR), Clorama Dorvilias (DebiasVR) and Morgan Mercer (Vantage Point) will talk about ways business can use the technologies to train employees.

Greg Castle (Anorak Ventures) and Peter Rojas (Betaworks) will discuss how early-stage investors have changed their approach to funding new talent and suggest ways founders can grab their attention.

That’s just a taste of what industry leaders, content creators and game changers will present. Take a gander at the full agenda.

Join us October 18 in Los Angeles at TechCrunch Sessions: AR/VR for an incredible gathering of the augmented and virtual reality community. Our early-bird pricing ends today, so get real and buy your ticket today.

Get your tickets to TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018

 

We absolutely love the thrill that comes from watching innovative tech startups launch their products to the world. It’s even more exciting when they’re competing head-to-head, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen at TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 on December 11 in Lagos, Nigeria.

TechCrunch editors have selected the cream of Sub-Saharan Africa’s crop — the very best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs — to face off in our premier startup-pitch competition. Want to watch it all go down? Spectator tickets cost ₦ 3600 + VAT, and you can buy your tickets right here.

The tech startup scene across the African continent continues to evolve rapidly. More than 300 tech hubs build, support and connect startups, mentors and innovators, and VC investment in African startups and accelerators doubled between 2015-2017. It’s exciting growth, and we can’t wait to see this new Startup Battlefield cohort take the stage and show the world what they can do.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Startup Battlefield format, here’s what you can expect. Up to five startups compete in one of three preliminary rounds. Each team has only six minutes to pitch and present a live product demo to a panel of expert judges — consisting of entrepreneurs, technologists and VCs. Following each pitch, the judges put each team through an intense six-minute Q&A.

Five startups will move on to the final round, where they will pitch again — this time to a fresh set of judges — and answer any questions the judges throw at them. All the judges will confer and select one competitor to become the Startup Battlefield champion and earn the title of Sub-Saharan Africa’s best startup.

In addition to serious bragging rights, the winning founders receive US$25,000 in no-equity cash, plus a trip for two to compete in Startup Battlefield in San Francisco at TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 (assuming the company still qualifies to compete at the time).

The competition takes place in front of a large, enthusiastic audience (this is where you come in). It’s nerve-wracking for them, thrilling for you. Even better, it’s a great opportunity for networking and meeting other like-minded entrepreneurs, investors and potential collaborators and customers.

Who knows? It might even inspire you to throw your hat in the ring and compete in the next Startup Battlefield. Or you might just find the perfect investment opportunity. You’ll never know if you don’t go.

Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 takes place on December 11 in Lagos, Nigeria. Don’t miss your chance to attend and experience every heart-pounding moment live and in person. Buy your spectator tickets here.

Last day to apply for TC Top Picks at Disrupt Berlin 2018

This is the day that one of the great early-stage startup opportunities comes to a grinding halt, friends. Today, September 28, is the last day you can apply to be a TC Top Pick at Disrupt Berlin 2018. It’s your last shot to exhibit in Startup Alley for free. Your final chance for incredible access to the kind of influential investors, tech founders and advisors that can change your business trajectory.

Disrupt Berlin 2018 takes place on November 29-30, and if you’re selected as a TC Top Pick by our discerning editors, you’ll receive a FREE Startup Alley Exhibitor Package. Startup Alley is our exhibition floor where hundreds of early-stage startups showcase their latest tech products, platforms, services and talent.

Thousands of attendees stream through the Alley, including tech journalists from hundreds of media outlets, investors searching for the next big thing, developers and entrepreneurs — a veritable who’s who of the startup world. You want to be there, and this is your last chance to get there for free.

Here’s what you get with a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package.

A one-day exhibit space, three Disrupt Berlin Founder passes, CrunchMatch (our free investor-to-startup matching platform), full use of the Startup Alley Exhibitor lounge and access to the Disrupt press list. TC Top Picks also receive a three-minute interview on the Showcase Stage with a TechCrunch editor, and we promote those video interviews across our social media platforms. That kind of media exposure can pay dividends long after Disrupt ends.

Vlad Larin, a co-founder of Zeroqode, was on the receiving end of a TechCrunch video interview at Disrupt Berlin 2017. Here’s his take.

“The Showcase Stage interview was a wonderful experience. The publicity we received brought a lot of people back to our website. We had a huge spike in traffic, and we’re still feeling the positive business effects of that interview.”

If you want to be considered for a TC Top Pick designation, your early-stage startup must fall into one of the following tech categories:

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

TechCrunch editors will review and vet each qualified application thoroughly, and they’ll choose up to five startups to represent each category.

There you have it. Plenty of great reasons to apply to be a TC Pop Pick at Disrupt Berlin 2018. And only a few remaining hours to get the job done. The deadline is today, September 28. Don’t waste this opportunity. Get moving right now!

One week left to buy spectator tickets to Startup Battlefield MENA 2018

It’s just one short week until we bring our premier startup competition to the Middle East and North Africa for the first time, and we are stoked! TechCrunch Startup Battlefield MENA 2018 takes place October 3 in Beirut, Lebanon. We’ve chosen 15 of the region’s best early-stage startups to compete head-to-head and — in the process — launch their companies to the world.

We have an exciting day lined up, and the only thing missing at this point is you. Don’t miss your chance to witness the future of technology unfold before your eyes. Spectator passes cost $29 (including VAT), and you can score your tickets right here.

This day-long conference features the thrill-ride that is Startup Battlefield, and it also includes presentations from top tech leaders, movers and shakers to discuss the advances, challenges and opportunities in the region — more on that in a moment, so keep reading.

Never had the pleasure of watching Startup Battlefield? We’ll break it down for you. The 15 participating teams compete in three preliminary rounds — five startups per round. They have just six minutes to present a live product demo and pitch to the judges — a panel composed of distinguished technologists, entrepreneurs and investors. The judges follow each pitch with a probing, six-minute­ Q&A.

Just five teams will make it into the final round where they will pitch again to a new set of judges, who follow up with another round of tough questions for each team. Finally, the judges will choose one stand-out startup to lay claim to the Startup Battlefield MENA 2018 crown, a US$25,000 no-equity cash prize and a trip for two to Disrupt San Francisco in 2019 — where they get to compete in that Startup Battlefield (assuming the company still qualifies to compete at the time).

Now that’s a lot of action packed into one day, but fasten your seat belts folks, because we also have a great roster of speakers and presentations on tap. You’ll hear from the likes of  Imad Kreidieh of Ogero Telecom and Facebook’s Ari Kesisoglu as they sit down for a fireside chat.

Don’t miss Omar Gabr of Instabug, Tarjama’s Nour Al Hassan and Ameer Sherif of Wuzzuf as they discuss the huge changes in the Middle East and North Africa’s tech ecosystem over the past 10 years and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

And that, startup fans, is merely a taste of the informative presentations taking place at Startup Battlefield MENA 2018. You can check out the full agenda right here.

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield MENA 2018 takes place in the Beirut Digital District in Lebanon on October 3 — just one week away. If you’re a startup founder, fan, entrepreneur or investor, you do not want to miss this action-packed day of competition, education and networking opportunities. Buy your ticket today.