After three days and incredible pitches from our 26 Battlefield companies (plus two Audience Choice winners), it’s now time to name the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 Battlefield champion. This year’s finalists included Alfred, Partpic, PatternEQ, Shipstr, Stack And Vinli – all amazing startups. But there can only be one winner who walks away with the Disrupt Cup – and $50,000 in prize money.
Today at Pier 48 in San Francisco, the Battlefield finalists again took the stage to present their startup to this year’s panel of Finals judges who made the ultimate decision as to which of these promising companies would be the overall winner. Our panel of esteemed judges included Roelof Botha (Sequoia Capital), David Lee (SV Angel), John Lilly (Greylock Partners), Marissa Mayer (Yahoo), Keith Rabois (Khosla Ventures) and Kevin Rose (North, Google Ventures).
After a considerable time debating backstage – actually, they went outside and locked the door behind them – the judges have made their choice.
The judges report it was a tough decision, but it ultimately came down to the following two companies. The hard part, said one judge in passing, was not picking the top two, but picking which of the two should win.
So without any further ado, meet your TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 Battlefield winner.
The Winner: Alfred Club
Boston-based Alfred, founded by Jessica Beck and Marcela Sapone, is the first service layer on the shared economy that manages your routine across multiple on-demand and local services (like Handybook, Instacart, and the local dry cleaner). Members build a subscription to make their routine automatic, letting Alfred coordinate services in their home.
Alfred will especially be useful to regular users of the growing number of on-demand services, which make your everyday tasks easier – by getting them done for you.
When you first sign up for the service, you’ll be assigned an “Alfred.” The app shows you this person’s picture and some general information, as well as the verification for the person’s background checks. You’ll then choose a specific day for this person to deliver your goods each week, and you’ll compile a grocery list to get them started.
After that, the app works on its own in the background. You don’t really have to open the app again after you’ve signed up unless you need to make adjustments to your weekly grocery list.
Afterward, your “Alfred” will head over weekly to drop off your clean laundry, put it in the closet, drop off your household supplies, and replace supplies as needed – like putting new paper towels on a towel holder, for example. He or she will also put your groceries away and make sure the house is spotless. The idea is not only to cut into the 30 average hours per week that people spend on household chores and related tasks, but also to make using the variety of apps and services in the shared economy even easier.
You can read more about Alfred here. [Disclosure: CrunchFund, the fund started by TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington, is an investor in Alfred. Arrington was not involved in the judging process.]
And The Runner-Up: Shipstr
Shipstr streamlines the complex, opaque, unreliable, time-consuming and expensive international shipping industry through a cloud-based aggregation platform.
Shipstr works by aggregating information from different service providers onto one platform. The startup goes directly to third-party services, including trucking companies, customs brokers, warehouses and ocean carriers, and gets information on their pricing and fees. This allows businesses to make their own shipping arrangements without the aid of a freight broker, get instant price quotes, and track their shipments more quickly.
For companies in the U.S., Shipstr is able to rely on APIs for information. In China, many companies don’t have standardized APIs, but they do store pricing information in the form of Excel spreadsheets. Shipstr allows those companies to upload their spreadsheets directly to its platform.
You can read more about Shipstr here.