The champagne bottles are empty. The startups are packing up. TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 is a wrap, and it was a hell of a show.
Enigma won the Startup Battlefield, taking home $50,000 and the Disrupt Cup. Ryan Lawler’s Urban Transportation panel was somehow more rowdy than Josh Constine’s talk with Rap Genius. Ashton Kutcher showed up and proved yet again his value as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. There was even a special screening of Alex Winter’s upcoming film about the rise and fall of Napster, “Downloaded”.
It just wasn’t the door-busting attendance that proved this was the best Disrupt yet. The show featured the best startups, the best speakers, all at the beautiful Manhattan Center in New York City. I know we say this after each Disrupt — this is, after all, the eighth Disrupt show — but this really was the best show yet.
They say New York is the city that never sleeps — a point of trivia proven true by the thousands of Disrupt attendees, volunteers and staff over the last five days.
Saturday, April 27
The show unofficially started with the Hackathon on Saturday, April 27. We had record attendance. Over a thousand hackers filled the lower floors of the Manhattan center, occupying every usable inch of the facility to pound out their applications over the following 24 hours. Nerf guns, energy gum and a midnight dodge ball session kept the attendees going. Rambler eventually bested 164 other projects to win the top prize.
Monday, April 29
Disrupt NY 2013 started with a fireside chat with Chris Dixon and Eric Eldon where the Andreessen Horowitz partner explained his take on Bitcoin startups and how 3D printing could transform manufacturing.
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington took the stage next with Benchmark’s Bill Gurley to talk New York City startups. Gurley also revealed that he sees Uber growing faster than eBay did. A rather shocking claim seeing how eBay was worth $5 billion just two years after Benchmark’s $6.7 million investment in 1997.
The first day of Disrupt NY 2013 wasn’t entirely heavenly rays of sunshine. Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and founder of investment firm The Social+Capital Partnership, explained that the tech world should be “utterly ashamed,” because “we are at an absolute minimum in terms of things that are being started.” Yep, Palihapitiya calls it as he sees it.
When Dennis Crowley took the stage, he explained to TechCrunch’s Colleen Taylor that Foursquare’s API is currently underutilized. Location apps will get smarter, he promised. Oh, and Foursquare is still growing — at least that’s what Crowley said.
Jim Bankoff’s Vox Media is stepping up its ad game with the launch of Vox Creative. With this, Bankoff stated that the company will be profitable in 2013.
Betaworks’ John Borthwick took the stage with TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis and talked about the acquisition of Instapaper and, although briefly, Digg’s upcoming RSS reader — a product that was apparently in the works well before Google killed Reader.
Big things are coming down the pike with Gilt Chairman Kevin Ryan and 10gen Founder Dwight Merriman who announced on stage that they were looking to launch one or two startups in the coming months.
Flipboard is huge. With 56M users, CEO Mike McCue explained to TechCrunch’s Eric Eldon that they aim to make the mobile app the home of brand advertising for mobile publishers.
Tuesday, April 28
The day kicked off with a talk between noted New York venture capitalist Fred Wilson and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who recently became a VC himself. The two talked Bitcoins and traded VC stories with Wilson giving tips for pitching a venture capitalist. “Leave your backstory at home,” Wilson pleaded. Arrington quickly nodded and agreed.
Mike Abbott then took the stage with Mailbox CEO and co-founder Gentry Underwood. The two talked about the surprising pains in scaling Underwood’s hot iOS email application. It took engineers 24 hours a day for several weeks to keep up with the initial demand. And then Dropbox scooped up the company.
Google’s Seth Sternberg, Director of Product Management for Google +, and Ardan Arac, Product Manager at Google, used the Disrupt stage to announce new Google + features. Simply put, Google +’s visibility is now supersized in Google Search.
eBay chief John Donahoe explained to Bloomberg’s chief content editor Norm Pearlstine about how the company screens its acquisitions and how he keeps founders from leaving after the acquisition — a trick that many companies fail to execute after buying a startup.
Troy Carter is disrupting the music industry from within. And today he spoke with TechCrunch’s Josh Constine about his secrets regarding managing Lady Gaga’s online presence (she doesn’t use Facebook personally), where celebrities go overboard online, and why he thinks terrestrial radio will be the home of the next big disruption.
When should an entrepreneur raise money, who should they raise from… and, well, should they even raise? These were some of the questions discussed on a panel with TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis, which included participation from Mike Abbott of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Aaref Hilaly of Sequoia Capital, AngelList’s Naval Ravikant, and BoxGroup’s David Tisch.
Display Advertising Products at Google, Neal Mohan, Facebook Ad Products Director Gokul Rajaram and Twitter Senior Director of Product Revenue Kevin Weil took the stage to talk about the state of digital advertising — and they each had a unique take on the subject.
In a chat with TechCrunch’s Leena Rao, representatives from PayPal, Stripe and Gumroad gave thoughts on the currency that has VCs emptying their bank accounts to invest afresh — Bitcoins, a very popular topic at Disrupt NY 2013.
The afternoon kicked off with a talk between serial-investor Ron Conway, filmmaker/actor Alex Winter and CrunchFund’s MG Siegler to talk about the documentary “Downloaded” about the rise and fall of Napster. Conway said even in 2013, Internet sharing has yet to be solved and that is one of the most disappointing parts of the whole affair.
TechCrunch COO Ned Desmond and CrunchBase’s Matt Kaufman used the TechCrunch Disrupt stage to launch a big expansion of CrunchBase, TechCrunch’s own robust free wiki-style directory of people, technology companies and investors. The new feature, the CrunchBase Venture Program, is to appeal to venture firms that want to improve CrunchBase’s data set.
Wednesday, May 1
The last day of Disrupt started with a rather unruly talk with TechCrunch’s Josh Constine and the boisterous founders of Rap Genius, the collaborative annotation startup the founders proclaimed on stage will be bigger than Facebook. The site is also looking to get into breaking news with News Genius.
But Rap Genius wasn’t the loud point of the morning. That happened when SideCar’s co-founder, Hailo’s CEO/founder, took the stage with the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Deputy commissioner of Policy and Programs Ashwini Chhabra. TechCrunch’s Ryan Lawler proceeded to manage the rowdy bunch as tempers flared. The talk peaked when it was finally revealed that the City of New York had just came down on two SideCar drivers giving free rides in a sting operation.
Ken and Ben Lerer spoke with Caroline McCarthy about the duo’s take on everything from venture investing, to starting a media companie, to StopTheNRA.com, which the two plan on launching in the coming weeks.
Ashton Kutcher took the Disrupt stage for the third time in as many years. Since first speaking at Disrupt NY 2011, he’s made large strides in Silicon Valley, with his VC firm now fundraising at a $100M valuation.
Disrupt isn’t all about web startups proven equally but Hardware Alley’s marketplace of hardware company and TechCrunch’s talk with Limor Fried of Adafruit. The NYC-based startup is attempting to make learning about coding and building fun. Plush electronic components are just part of the company’s secret sauce. Fried also explained to John why the company keeps all of its manufacturing within North America — it’s not always cheaper in the long run to outsource to China, she explained.
The afternoon season resumed with a talk between TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and noted Silicon Valley investors, Ron Conway, David Lee, and Brian Pokorny. The four VCs, when including Arrington, discussed in length Chamath Palipitiya’s comments on Monday that startup quality is at an “all time low.” They disagree. “Innovation is not dead,” David Lee concluded.
Dave Gilboa, co-founder at Warby Parker, one of the e-commerce startups that has “made it” so to speak, shared some stories from the startup’s early days on an afternoon panel, where he was joined by Everlane’s Michael Preysman, Nasty Gal’s Deborah Benton, Wanelo’s Deena Varshavkaya. The panel was moderated by TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis. Oh and about those rumors concerning the hot NYC startup and Google Glass? “No comment” was official comment.
As one of the top NYC startups, Tumblr Founder David Karp had a lot to say about his city. He was joined with Sequoia partner Roelof Botha and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington. Simply put, he vastly prefers walking down a New York City street than one in Silicon Valley.
Thirty startups took the Disrupt Battlefield stage. Seven were eventually chosen as finalists: Enigma, Floored, Glide, Handle, HealthyOut, SupplyShift And Zenefits.
After an intense afternoon of judging, Enigma won $50,000, the Disrupt Cup and the title as of the winner of Disrupt NY 2013. Congratulations, Enigma.
New York City turned out in droves for Disrupt NY this year. Over 1,800 people attended and 180 companies exhibited in Startup Alley and Hardware Alley. And 1,100 coders and designers hacked together 164 projects in just 24 hours. It was truly a fantastic Disrupt.
We’re tired, New York City.
But we’re not resting for long. TechCrunch is about to hit the road for a massive meetup and pitch-off in Austin, Texas on May 30. More events will be held throughout the summer until Disrupt SF hits in September and Disrupt Europe: Berlin 2013.
See you soon.