Announcing: TechCrunch Disrupt, May 24-26 in New York

New York, the city that never sleeps, may finally meet its match. TechCrunch is coming, and we’re bringing three days of non-stop conference and startup-competition energy, May 24-26.

We call it TechCrunch Disrupt because we want to debate what’s really changing in media and technology right now, what’s causing disruption and what we need to do about it to survive and thrive in real time.

Each morning, we’ll explore media and technology disruption themes through hosted panel discussions, keynotes, roundtable conversations and select product demonstrations. We’ll bring the experts, thought leaders, top entrepreneurs and business leaders and others together to talk about what’s next. And why. With lots of audience participation.

Each afternoon, we take our morning debate into the field. New startups and products will be unveiled and will compete for recognition and a top prize in the Startup Battlefield.

This is a tournament-style launch platform where startups demo their products and impress the audience and panel of experts over multiple rounds of competition. Everyone gets stage time to show their stuff, and plenty of direct feedback. But then they’ll jump into head to head competition with the other startups.

Experts and seasoned veterans will be brought in to mentor and judge startups on product, business models, team, design and usability and more. And the final round will put startups in the hot seat where some of the most successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business executives will grill them in front of the audience and see how they perform. It’ll be a little bit like pitching a top VC, except it will be done live on stage in front of thousands. Audience voting as well as expert feedback will factor into final competition scores.

One startup will emerge the overall winner and take home a $50,000 cash prize. But all of the startups get an incredible launch event for their product, and priceless feedback from people who can really help. And, best of all, it’s free for startups to launch at TechCrunch Disrupt. Save those dollars for your product.

Applications open today (March 1) and will be reviewed on a rolling basis through midnight pst, Friday, March 26. There are no fees to apply or compete in the Startup Battlefield, and startups from around the world are welcome to submit for consideration. In fact, we go out of our way to help non-U.S. startups get the support they need during the application process to maximize their chances.

Where can you fit a battlefield in New York City, you ask? We found 100,000 square feet of space in the Soho-West Village neighborhood. We promise you haven’t been to a conference venue like this before. It’s actually an ex-Merrill Lynch office that’s available on short-term lease. It’s a perfect metaphor for disruption. And it gives us almost unlimited room for creativity, exhibits, lounges and demos. In typical TechCrunch style, save room for the after parties each night too.

Tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt are on sale now. Best rates are available through March 31.

Better to disrupt than be disrupted. Hope to see you there. More details will be coming on the Disrupt Blog.