We’re delighted today to announce the first round of speakers for the first-ever TechCrunch Disrupt Europe conference, to be held in Berlin this October. Disrupt Europe will feature an outstanding slate of global startups, influential speakers, guests and more. The conference lands in Europe just as TechCrunch has seen double-digit growth in unique global visitors over the previous year. While other speakers will be announced shortly, the first speakers at Disrupt Europe we’re announcing are:
Marc Samwer, Co-founder – Rocket Internet Marc Samwer holds a Master’s Degree in Law from the University of Cologne where he graduated among the top of his class. After his studies, Marc worked in marketing for Visto Corporation in Mountain View, U.S.A., a Silicon-Valley start-up for communication services.
In January 1999, he and his two brothers founded Alando.de which became the market leader of internet auctions in Germany. After the successful sale of Alando.de to eBay Inc., Marc was Managing Director of eBay, responsible for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Together with his brothers, he turned eBay Germany into the most profitable international site of eBay worldwide.
In 2000, Marc and his brothers founded Jamba! AG which became the market leader for wireless content such as music, pictures, games and videos for mobile phones in Europe and the US. In 2004 Verisign Inc. acquired Jamba! AG. In 2006 News Corp. acquired 51% of Jamba. In 2003, Marc received the distinguished Eisenhower Fellowship Award.
Sonali De Rycker, Partner, Accel Partners
Sonali has been active in the European venture business for 14 years focusing on investments in the consumer internet and digital media sectors. Sonali is responsible for investments in KupiVIP, Wonga, Seatwave, Spotify, and Top10. Sonali is also an independent director on the board of IAC. Prior to Accel, Sonali was a Partner at Atlas Venture in London where she invested primarily in internet and software as a service businesses. While at Atlas Venture she led investments in Moo, Globoforce, Skinstore (acquired by Drugstore.com) and Seatwave. She was also a board member at Magicalia (acquired by Exponent Private Equity) and Moreover (acquired by Verisign). Sonali started her career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in New York City where she was actively involved in M&A and financings for a number of clients including many high-growth technology businesses. While at Goldman Sachs, Sonali co-founded the Business Development Group, a new business unit within the investment banking division successfully set up to exclusively source and execute on acquisitions of smaller, fast-growing businesses for the Fortune 50.
Marco Boerries, CEO and Founder of NumberFour
A German entrepreneur with a passion for making ideas work, Boerries founded his first company Star Division, as a 16-year-old in 1985. The company created the popular office suite StarOffice and later OpenOffice.org. Marco sold Star Division to Sun Microsystems in 1999 and stayed on as Vice President of Desktop & Webtop Software until 2001. In parallel to Star Division he started his second company Star Finanz as a joint-venture with the Deutsche Sparkassen Organisation in 1996, to re-invent online banking with StarMoney – that became the leading product in Germany. Marco sold his share in StarFinanz to his joint venture partners in 2001. After leaving Sun Microsystems and selling Star Finanz, Marco started his third company Verdisoft in the summer of 2001 based in Palo Alto, California and Hamburg, Germany. At Verdisoft Marco and his team developed the Connected Life platform for connected devices like computers, smart phones and connected TV’s. Marco sold Verdisoft to Yahoo in early 2005 and stayed on to lead the ConnectedLife division until early 2009 – driving Yahoo’s Broadband, Mobile and TV efforts, globally. Returning back to Germany in 2009 Marco started his fourth company NumberFour in Berlin to re-imagine the way small businesses are run, and later established offices in Hamburg, Germany and Palo Alto, California. Together with his team he is working hard to develop and design a business platform to fulfill NumberFour’s Mission “Helping 200 Million+ Run Their Business”.
I’m sure you’ll agree that these represent some of Europe’s leading personalities in technology today.
In addition to onstage panel sessions and fireside chats, Disrupt will also welcome Startup Battlefield and Startup Alley to the Arena Berlin venue.
Startup Battlefield competitors pitch their companies live and onstage to innovators, investors and influencers in the tech community. TechCrunch identifies emerging companies to demo and compete for a prize of €40,000 ($50,000) and the coveted Disrupt Cup, won previously by Mint.com, Yammer, Fitbit, and Dropbox. Companies can apply to enter Startup Battlefield now, and the deadline has been extended to July 31.
The Startup Battlefield will select 30 brand new startups to launch on stage in front of a panel of top VCs and other founders, coverage on TechCrunch and the winner gets the €40,000 prize. We review applications on a rolling basis, so it’s to your advantage to submit as soon as you can. Due to strong demand, it’s unlikely that we will review applications more than once, so please don’t submit a draft application before you are ready. All submissions are confidential unless otherwise permitted by applicants on the application form. PowerPoint slides and video demos are optional but highly encouraged. We reserve the right not to review applications without video demos based on application volume.
Startup Alley offers another way for early-stage companies to gain exposure with a setup that encourages both exhibiting and networking, and provides high visibility. Roughly 100 startups comprise Startup Alley with around 50 new companies demoing on Monday and 50 demoing on Tuesday. Startup Alley companies will have the opportunity to sign up for one on one conversations with the editorial staff of TechCrunch, also known as Office Hours.
Additional speakers and agenda details will be announced between now and the show – find all the latest information on the Disrupt Europe website.
Extra Early Bird tickets are available for a limited time. Click here to purchase before they sell out.
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Media enquiries by can be directed to John Nolan on john.nolan @ teamaol.com