After three days and some truly incredible pitches from each of our 30 Battlefield competitors, the time has finally come to crown a Disrupt Battlefield champion. Competition among this year’s pack of six finalists — Dryft, Fates Forever, Layer, Soil IQ, Regalii, and Cota by Ossia — was as stiff as ever, but even with a batch as strong as this, only one startup can take home the Disrupt Cup.
Each of the companies took to the stage earlier this week in a bid to prove their worthiness, and to top it all off this year’s batch of six had to present once more in front of our final panel of judges that includes Michael Arrington of CrunchFund (and TechCrunch founder), Roelof Botha of Sequoia Capital, Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz, David Lee of SV Angel, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!, and Keith Rabois of Khosla Ventures. Needless to say, this process isn’t exactly for the faint of heart.
The judges spent a considerable amount of time deliberating backstage, and they’ve just now come to a decision. Without any further ado, meet your TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 Battlefield winner.
The winner: Layer
Layer, founded by Tomaž Štolfa and Ron Palmeri, is a communications platform that can be added to any mobile app by adding fewer than 10 lines of code into the mix. Once that Layer code snippet has been carefully plopped into place, users will be able to send text, voice, and video messages, and share files across different applications.
The grand Layer vision involves support for web apps, too, but for now the team is going to focus on releasing an SDK for iOS and Android developers to tinker with. And what of their scheme to keep developers around and dependent on Layer? Early adopters will be able to deploy Layer for free, but will have to pay some modest cloud infrastructure fees once they really start picking up steam.
You can read more of our Layer coverage here.
Disclosure: One of Layer’s seed investors is CrunchFund, an early-stage VC fund cofounded by Michael Arrington, who also founded TechCrunch.
And the runner-up: Dryft
Dryft, created by Swype co-founder Randy Marsden and Rob Chaplinsky, is a replacement software keyboard for Android tablets that essentially adapts to the user’s hands. Unlike a traditional on-screen tablet keyboard, the Dryft keyboard appears when the user actually sets their fingers down on the screen. Once their fingers are in place, Dryft keeps track of each individual finger and carefully displays those letter keys in relation to those finger locations. By tracking inputs on the tablet’s touchscreen and checking for corresponding taps using the accelerometer, Dryft is also able to reduce the number of typing errors.
You can read more of our Dryft coverage here.