Welcome to sunny New York City, where people wear jackets to parties and time is of the essence! As you can probably guess, our whole team is here for the Disrupt NY conference at the Manhattan Center. We’re really excited about this year’s lineup, which includes Marissa Mayer, Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe, Sophia Amoruso and Mike Judge among others.
Just like in the HBO show “Silicon Valley,” 25 startups have rehearsed and re-rehearsed in order to launch spectacularly onstage. The brightest star will take home the famous Disrupt Cup, a $50,000 check and a lifetime of memories.
Only four startups will make it to the final round, where the true honor is getting to present in front of our illustrious, industry-legend Battlefield judges. This year, they include John Borthwick (Betaworks), Roelof Botha (Sequoia Capital), Chris Dixon (Andreessen Horowitz), Marissa Mayer (Yahoo), Brian Pokorny (SV Angel) and Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures).
CEO and co-founder of betaworks
John Borthwick is CEO and co-founder of betaworks, a company that builds and invests in essential products driven by data and the social world.
Prior to launching betaworks, John was CEO of Fotolog, and prior to that he was SVP of Technology and Alliances at Time Warner. He arrived at Time Warner — AOL — in early 1997 when they acquired WP Studio, which he started back in 1994. WP Studio was a producer of three sites: Total New York (one of the first local city guides, now gone), äda ‘web, and spanker (a pre blog, daily journal of the occasionally twisted mind of Carter Adamson).
John also sits on the board and/or acts as an adviser to Rhizome, WNYC (public radio), and HRW (Human Rights Watch). John holds an MBA from Wharton (1994) and an undergraduate degree BA in Economics from Wesleyan University (1987).
Partner, Sequoia Capital
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 Jawbone and Mahalo. 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.
General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
Chris Dixon is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. 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.
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.
Managing Partner, SV Angel
Brian Pokorny is a Managing Partner of SV Angel. Prior to this, he was at Airbnb, where he joined via an acquisition of DailyBooth/Batch.
DailyBooth was a venture-backed startup that Brian led for 3 years as their CEO.
Before this, Brian was a partner at SV Angel with David Lee and Ron Conway upon the launch of the firm.
Prior to SV Angel he was a founding team member and partner at Baseline Ventures, a leading seed-stage investment firm. Before joining Baseline, Brian spent 3.5 years at Google within various positions in the Content Partnerships team and Direct Sales Organization. Before this, he had various roles within sales operations and finance at Juniper Networks, TIBCO Software, and Applied Materials.
Brian graduated with a degree in Operations and Management Information Systems from Santa Clara University.
Brian is an angel investor in Twitter, Square, OMGPOP (Acquired by Zynga), Tweetdeck (acquired by Twitter), DailyBooth (acquired by Airbnb), Milo (Acquired by eBay), Posterous (acquired by Twitter), Chomp (acquired by Apple), Milk (Acquired by Google), Bump (acquired by Yahoo), WiFast, Couple, Elepath, MessageMe, and has advisory positions with Ooyala, Stitcher, and Rupture (acquired by EA)
Managing Partner, Union Square Ventures
Fred Wilson is a founder and Managing Partner of Union Square Ventures. Fred began his career in venture capital in 1987 and he has focused exclusively on information technology investments for the past 16 years. From 1987 to 1996, Fred was first an Associate and then a General Partner at Euclid Partners, an early stage venture capital firm located in New York City.
In 1996, Fred co-founded Flatiron Partners. Fred was the Managing Partner of Flatiron Partners and was responsible for securing $150 million of initial capital commitments from Chase Capital Partners (now JP Morgan Partners) and SOFTBANK. He built the investment team, which grew to 10 investment professionals, and managed the creation of a $570 million portfolio.
Fred has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Fred has been a guest lecturer at The Stern School of Business at NYU and is active on a number of community and nonprofit boards.