You’ll see some startups trying to solve big problems in networking, business software and security next week during our Battlefield competition at Disrupt SF — industries which at first glance may seem boring or overly complex but are extremely important to the world.
You’ll also see Battlefield companies working in more unusual areas, like government and agriculture, where there’s huge potential but many challenges to creating a business.
And you might find other startups simply fun and entertaining, because that’s what their products are designed to do.
From first-time founders to long-time veterans, from bootstrapped products to well-backed ones, the Battlefield this year is the most exciting and diverse yet. Or so we think, after our editorial staff spent the last few months picking them out from our hundreds of applicants.
Now we’ll see what our panel of finals judges say about these companies.
Marissa Mayer is taking a break from reinventing Yahoo and reprising her role at the event, along with David Lee, Chris Dixon, and Roelof Botha. As an accomplished Sequoia Capital partner, Botha is an invaluable board member for Square, Tumblr, Unity, Evernote and more. Dixon, the entrepreneur turned investor and tech pundit, is joining us once again to add a bit of homespun advice. We also have the privilege of SV Angel head David Lee’s early-stage wisdom.
And the man himself, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, will be on board dishing out startup advice in addition to conducting his iconic interviews.
We’re also excited to have a new finals judge at SF this year. Keith Rabois will be joining us to offer his experience gained from his long career in tech — most recently at payments company Square and now in his partner role at Khosla Ventures.
The final 6 companies out of the 30 will present to these judges on Wednesday afternoon, after the previous days’ judges and our editorial staff reviews the presentations on Monday and Tuesday. Then we’ll collectively figure out and announce the winners.
General admission tickets that grant access to the three-day event and nightly parties are still available. And for the first time, tickets to just the nightly parties are also available. As always, if you are interested in becoming a sponsor, opportunities can be found here. Students can also come and be a part of Disrupt SF, for $300 here.
These companies have been working non-stop to make the most of their short time on the Disrupt stage. Only one can come away with the Disrupt Cup and a $50,000 cash prize.
Here’s a bit more about who you’ll see on stage during the finals.
J. Michael Arrington (born March 13, 1970 in Huntington Beach, California) is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of TechCrunch, a blog covering startups and technology news.
Arrington attended Claremont McKenna College (BA Economics, 1992) and Stanford Law School (JD, 1995) and practiced as a corporate and securities lawyer at two law firms: O’Melveny & Myers and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. His clients included idealab, Netscape, Pixar, Apple and a number of startups, venture funds and investment banks. He also co-authored a book on initial public offerings.
In 1999, he left WSGR to join RealNames as VP of Business Development and General Counsel. In 2000, he cofounded Achex, an online payments company, that was later acquired by First Data Corp for $32 million. Achex is now the back end infrastructure to Western Union online.
Arrington worked in an operational role at a Carlyle backed startup in London, founded and ran two companies in Canada (Zip.ca and Pool.com), was COO to a Kleiner-backed company called Razorgator, and consulted to other companies, including Verisign.
In May 2008, Time Magazine named Michael Arrington as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.
Roelof Botha is a partner at Sequoia Capital, and works with a broad range of companies. Some democratize technology access (Square, Eventbrite, Unity, Nimbula); some create global user communities (YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram); and others disrupt markets through innovative business models (Evernote, Weebly, Xoom). Roelof also sits on the boards of Aliph, Mahalo, and TokBox. Roelof is a champion of consumer Web plays and considers himself as “just another consumer.”
Roelof led the initial financing of YouTube on behalf of Sequoia Capital in 2005.
Roelof served as the Chief Financial Officer of PayPal, where he led the company through its IPO in 2002, and the acquisition by eBay before joining Sequoia Capital in 2003.
Roelof loves to hear a founder recount what inspired them to strike out on their own and to gain an understanding of how the founder is uniquely solving a customer pain point.
David Lee is a Founder and Managing Partner of SV Angel, an angel fund with investments in companies such as Twitter, Foursquare, Flipboard, Dropbox and Airbnb.
Prior to SV Angel, David was at Baseline Ventures, a leading seed-stage venture firm. He was a founding member of Google’s New Business Development team and led business development at StumbleUpon prior to its sale to eBay. He also was a corporate attorney at leading technology law firms. David has an M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford, where he was a National Science Foundation graduate fellow; a J.D. from NYU; and a B.A. from Johns Hopkins.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.
Marissa Mayer is CEO of Yahoo.
Previously as a VP at Google, Marissa Mayer led the product management and engineering efforts of Google’s local, mobile, and contextual discovery products including Google Maps, Google Maps for Mobile, Local Search, Google Earth, Street View, Latitude and more. At 36 years old, she was also the youngest member of Google’s executive operating committee. During her 12 years at Google, Marissa led product management and design efforts for Google web search, images, news, books, products, toolbar, and iGoogle. She started at Google in 1999 as Google’s 20th employee and first woman engineer.
Marissa’s contributions and leadership have been recognized by numerous publications including the New York Times, Newsweek and BusinessWeek. Fortune magazine has listed her for the past 3 years on their annual Most Powerful Women’s list, and she was the youngest ever to appear on the list. In 2010 Marissa was honored by the New York Women in Communications, Inc. with a Matrix Award. She also been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and Woman of the Year by Glamour Magazine. Marissa serves on the board of various non-profits, including the Smithsonian National Design Museum, the New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Prior to joining Google, Mayer worked at the UBS research lab (Ubilab) in Zurich, Switzerland, and at SRI International in Menlo Park, California.
Marissa received her B.S. in Symbolic Systems and her M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University. For both degrees, she specialized in artificial intelligence.
Keith Rabois is a member of the Khosla Ventures investing team, joining in March 2013.
Most recently, Rabois was Chief Operating Officer at Square where he oversaw the company’s business operations including marketing, communications, business development, distribution, human resources and risk management. Keith specializes in transforming early-stage startups into successful businesses and has deep expertise in the financial services industry and government affairs.
An accomplished executive, entrepreneur and angel investor, Keith has held leadership roles at PayPal, LinkedIn, Slide and began his career practicing law at Sullivan & Cromwell. Keith was an early investor in several high-profile Internet companies including YouTube and currently serves on the board of directors of Yelp and Xoom.
Keith holds a JD from Harvard Law School and an undergraduate degree in political science from Stanford University.
Chris Dixon is a Partner at and co-founder of Founder Collective. He is also a contributing writer for TechCrunch.
He previously was the CEO and Co-founder of SiteAdvisor, which was acquired by McAfee, and Hunch, which was acquired by eBay. In addition to his work with Founder’s Collective, Chris is a personal investor in early-stage technology companies, including Skype, TrialPay, DocVerse, Invite Media, Gerson Lehrman Group, ScanScout, OMGPOP, BillShrink, Oddcast, Panjiva, Knewton, and a handful of other startups that are still in stealth mode